Marion Pellicano Ambrose
To me, the picture of Easter is little girls in frilly pastel dresses and shiny new shoes, and of course, cute little hats to match. It’s cute downy chicks, fluffy baby bunnies, and fragrant budding tulips, daffodils and sweet smelling hyacinths. Easter brings to mind straw baskets filled with green artificial grass, colored eggs and best of all, lots and lots of chocolate! For Christians around the world it’s the season of hope and new life, because of the Resurrection of Jesus.
People celebrate this special holiday in a variety of ways. One common tradition of many cultures is making Easter Bread. After the strict fasting of Lent, slightly sweet, rich breads filled with eggs, butter, sugar and flour are just the thing to serve! Eggs symbolize rebirth, fertility, spring and the Resurrection and are found in abundance in these breads.
The following recipe includes placing raw eggs in the dough (color them first) and makes a beautiful centerpiece for your Easter table!
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, divided
- 1/4 cup white sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
- 2/3 cup milk
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 eggs
- 5 whole eggs, dyed if desired
- 2 tablespoons butter, melted
Directions: Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
In a large bowl, combine 1 cup flour, sugar, salt and yeast; stir well. Combine milk and butter in a small saucepan; heat until milk is warm and butter is softened but not melted.
Gradually add the milk and butter to the flour mixture; stirring constantly. Add two eggs and 1/2 cup flour; beat well. Add the remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring well after each addition. When the dough has pulled together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes.
Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat with oil. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 1 hour.
Punch down the dough and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide the dough into two equal size rounds; cover and let rest for 10 minutes. Roll each round into a long log about 36 inches long and 1 1/2 inches thick. Using the two long pieces of dough, form a loosely braided ring, leaving spaces for the five colored eggs. Seal the ends of the ring together and slide the eggs between the braids of dough.
Place loaf on a buttered baking sheet and cover loosely with a damp towel. Place loaf in a warm place and let rise until doubled in bulk, about 45 minutes. Brush risen loaf with melted butter.
Bake in preheated oven for 50 to 55 minutes, or until golden.
Enjoy and have a happy and blessed Easter!