I have yet to see or taste an Easter bread that comes even close to being as amazing as my beautiful grandma's. This terribly taken photo (from an old cell phone) was taken a couple years ago when my grandma and I made some Easter bread together. We are so blessed to have all of our grandma's recipes in one book. She's an amazing cook!
My mom asked me to email her the recipe because she lent her cookbook out. I know grandma wouldn't mind me sharing the recipe with you all, because she always welcomed anyone into her kitchen who wanted to know, how things were done, the right way. I have always called her for help with cooking - and she knows what she's talking about!
So if you'd like to enjoy this tasty bread, and maybe take a stab at working with yeast and bread dough, here's the recipe!
1 pkg. active dry yeast (or 2 1/4 tsp)
1/4 cup warm water
1 cup scalded milk
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup butter
5 cups flour
4 eggs and 1 egg yolk
4 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp lemon extract or 2 tsp grated lemon peel (I'm pretty sure we DID NOT use this when we made it together)
2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp butter
1 tsp lemon extract (again, I really don't remember adding this)
1/4 cup boiling water
(Blend all ingredients with electric mixer until smooth.)
Stir yeast in warm water. Set aside for 10 minutes until foamy. Scald milk, sugar, butter and salt. Cool to lukewarm. Stir in 2 cups of flour. Add eggs, vanilla and lemon peel. Stir in yeast mixture. Add remaining flour to make a soft dough. Knead dough on a floured board until dough is smooth an elastic. (The dough hook on a stand mixer does this incredibly fast. By hand - I'd go almost 10 minutes.) Place in a greased bowl, turning one time to coat dough. Cover with plastic wrap and then a kitchen towel.
Let rise until doubled (about an hour to an hour and a half). Push dough down and let rise again. Divide dough in half. Divide each into 3 even balls. Roll each ball in strands 12" long. Place each strand on a greased baking sheet 1" apart. Braid loosely beginning in the MIDDLE, working toward each end. Tuck each end securely. Cover loaves, rise until double (another 30 minutes or so). Bake at 350 degrees approx. 30-35 minutes. Cover with glaze when warm.
Yield: 2 loaves
Note: If doubling the recipe, do not double the sugar. Double all other ingredients. Add on additional egg, plus 2 yolks.