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My grandmother used to make Easter Egg breads, but she used to make small individual braided "baskets" with an egg nestled in the center under the handle. This recipe is very similar to hers, but makes one large loaf instead. This recipe is from the April 1983 issue of Good Housekeeping magazine. Prep time includes 3 hours rising time.
- In a large bowl, mix together 1 cup flour, sugar, salt and yeast.
- Heat butter and milk to 125°-130°F.
- With mixer on low, beat warm liquid into flour mixture until well blended.
- Increase speed to medium and continue beating for 2 minutes.
- Beat in 2 eggs, 1 egg white and 1/2 cup flour.
- Continue beating for 2 more minutes.
- By hand, stir in lemon peel and 1 to 1 1/4 cups flour.
- Place dough on a lightly floured board, and knead for about 5 minutes adding about 1/2 to 1 cup flour while kneading.
- Shape dough into a ball and place in a well greased (buttered) bowl, turn dough to grease the top.
- Cover and let rise in a warm draft free place until doubled (about 1 1/2 hours).
- Punch down dough, turn on to a lightly floured board, divide dough in half and allow it to rest for 15 minutes.
- Grease a large round pizza pan or cookie sheet.
- To shape the dough into ropes without stretching it, hold a dough half in both hands and gently"shake" it (don't pull it) into a rope.
- Place the ropes of dough side by side on the pan and turning the pan as you work, loosely twist the ropes into a ring forming 5"nests" for the colored eggs.
- Cover, and let rise again until doubled (about 1 1/2 hours).
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Carefully insert the raw colored eggs into the"nests" by gently spreading the dough apart to make space (its best not to let the raw eggs touch the pan, it causes them to crack).
- Beat the egg yolk with 1 teaspoon water and brush dough with egg wash.
- Bake bread about 30 minutes or until deep golden brown.
- Carefully slide bread off the pan on to a wire rack, and let cool.
- Note: The colored raw eggs end up being"hard cooked.