My Nana’s Classic Easter Bread (AKA Sweet Bread)

This may be called Easter Bread, but I always remember my grandmother making this at most Holidays which is why we always refered to it as sweet bread. It was a staple on the dessert table during Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve Celebrations.

My grandmother didn’t have a written recipe, but I was determind to get one written down. One day, while I was in college. I paid her a visit and I asked her to make some of her delicious sweet bread. Ilet her do her thing, but before any ingredient went into the bowl I measured it. I am so fortunate to be able to have this recipe.

My Nana’s Classic Easter Bread (AKA Sweet Bread)

Ingredients
  

  • 300 ml of Whole Milk 1 ¼ Cup
  • 114 grams of Unsalted Butter 8 Tablespoons
  • 132 grams of Granulated Sugar ⅔ Cup
  • 660 grams of All Purpose Flour 5 ½ Cups
  • 2 ½ Teaspoons of Instant Yeast
  • 1 Teaspoon of Kosher Salt
  • 2 Whole Large Eggs
  • Non-pareils Sprinkles
  • 1 Whole Egg for egg wash

Instructions
 

  • In a 2 Quart Saucepan combine the butter, milk and sugar. Warm on low until the butter is melted and the sugar is dissolved. Let the temperature of the mixture cool to between 110° – 115° F before adding to the other ingredients.
  • Place the flour in the bowl of a stand mixer.  Add the yeast and the salt.
  • Add the butter/milk/sugar mixture and eggs, and mix on medium for 2 minutes until the ingredients are combined.
  • Switch to the dough hook and beat for 7-8 minutes or until the dough starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl and looks smooth and stretches without ripping.
  • Form the dough into a ball and place it in a bowl that has been coated with butter, cover and let rise until doubled, about 1 ½ – 2 hours.
  • Preheat oven to 350°F,

Shapping into 6 small loaves:

  • Remove the dough from the bowl and gently pat out into a rectangle. Divide the dough into 6 equal pieces.
  • Roll each piece into a rope about 12” long.
  • Twist the dough into a knot and place on a parchment lined baking sheet. You should be able to fit 3 on a half sheet pan.
  • Repeat with the remaining 5 pieces of dough.
  • Cover with plastic and a towel and let rise until almost doubled in size and looks puffy, about 45 minutes – 1 hour.

Shaping into 2 large braids:

  • Divide the dough in half.
  • Divide each piece into 3 equal pieces.
  • Roll each piece into a 14” rope,
  • Braid the 3 ropes.
  • Pinch the ends together and tuck underneath.
  • Place the braid on a parchment lined baking sheet.
  • Repeat with the other half of dough, or form into 3 loaves as directed above.
  • Cover with plastic and a towel and let rise until almost doubled in size and looks puffy, about 45 minutes – 1 hour.
  • In a small bowl beat an egg. Brush the egg over the entire surface of the dough and sprinkle with nonpareil multi colored sprinkles.
  • Bake for 25 minutes until golden brown and internal temperature reaches 190°F.
  • Remove from oven and place the loaves directly on a rack to cool completely.

Baking:

  • In a small bowl beat the remaining whole egg. Brush the egg over the entire surface of the loaves or the braids. Sprinkle with nonpareil multi colored sprinkles.
  • Bake the small loaves for about 25 minutes and the braids for 25-28 minutes until golden brown and internal temperature reaches 190°F.
  • Remove from oven and place the loaves directly on a rack to cool completely.
  • Enjoy!

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