Saturday, March 30, 2013

baking and blogging: Easter cinnamon sweet bread

Easter sweet bread, sweet bread recipe

Growing up, Easter meant that my uncle (the baker) would bring over sweet bread, one of my favorite parts of the day. His were intricately braided versions with dyed eggs placed around the bread, and it would take us days to finish. Sweet, sugary, and full of carbs? Sign me up.

You'll need the following ingredients:
2 eggs
1/3 cup butter, warmed
1 1/4 cup milk, warmed (30 seconds in the microwave)
pack of dry yeast
4 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Mix together the eggs, butter, milk, vanilla, cinnamon, and yeast in a bowl. Add in the flour, stirring as you go. You should have a sticky dough when you're done. I used my KitchenAid mixer to do the combining. Knead the dough for a few minutes, and then cover and let it sit for an hour to rise.

Make 12" strands of dough by rolling it between your hands. Then braid, twist, or roll the strands together to make three breads. For this I made 2 breads with 3 strands each and then one bread with 4 strands.

Once your breads are formed, place them on wax paper on a cookie sheet and cover with a damp cloth. Let them sit for an hour to rise.

Beat an egg in a bowl and brush it onto the breads. (This will give them a nice golden brown look.) Preheat the oven to 350, remove the wax paper from the cookie sheet, and bake the breads for about 20 minutes, or until slightly browned.

While they're baking, put 2-3 teaspoons of sugar into a small container and add 2 drops of food coloring. Put the cover onto the container and shake until you have dyed sugar.

Once the breads are out of the oven, mix together confectioners sugar and water and glaze, then top with the colored sugar. They look cute with a dyed Easter egg nested in the middle. If you'd like to serve them as the bread with your meal, make smaller breads and skip the sugar glaze. Individual breads would be cute for a dinner party!

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