3 1/2 cups
1 (2 1/4 teaspoon) packages
active dry yeast
whole lemon, zest for dough & reserve 2-3 teaspoons juice for icing
( 2 for dough, 5 for coloring)
5 -8 cups
1 1/2 cups
- In bowl of stand mixer fitted with dough hook attachment (can be done by hand), combine 2 cups of the flour and the yeast.
- In small saucepan on the stove, combine 2 Tablespoons of the butter, salt, sugar and milk. Heat on medium just until butter is nearly melted.
- Add hot mixture to flour and yeast. Begin mixing on low - medium speed. Add two of the eggs, one at a time mixing well inbetween. Add the lemon zest, reserving the whole lemon for the glaze.
- Begin adding small amounts of flour, approximately another 1-1/2 cups total or until the dough is only slightly sticky when poked with a finger, but can be formed into a ball without sticking to your hands.
- Form into a ball and place smooth side down in a greased bowl (I just spray the mixer bowl with non-stick cooking spray) and then turn the dough over so the smooth side is now on top. Cover with a damp kitchen towel and place in a warm area to rise until doubled, about 1 hour.
- While dough is rising, gently wash the outsides of the other 5 eggs. Fill 5 coffee mugs or deep bowls with a cup or so of water and one teaspoon each of vinegar. Add about 3 drops of food coloring to each cup or until it's the shade you like, then stir and gently lower one egg into each color. Let sit for 15-30 minutes or until the desired shade has been reached. Remove with slotted spoon (I use a pasta fork) to a dry paper towel and allow to dry.
- When dough is double in size, punch down in the center, turn out onto a lightly floured surface and divide into two balls. Cover with damp towel or foil and let rest for 10 minutes.
- Roll each ball into a long rope, approximately 26-30 inches long. Place side by side on a greased cookie sheet and very loosely twist them together and then form the whole thing into a circle, pinching the ends together.
- Gently make openings in the dough twists and insert one egg into each opening. (Try to keep the eggs from touching the cookie sheet so they don't get scorched during baking.) Cover with damp towel and allow to rise until doubled again. Approximately 45 mintues.
- At about 30 minutes of rising time, preheat the oven to 350°.
- When dough has doubled, melt the last two Tablespoons of butter and brush over loaf.
- Bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until loaf is nicely browned. You may want to cover loosely with foil the last 10-15 minutes to avoid over-browning.
- In small bowl stir together the confectioner's sugar, milk and about 2 teaspoons of fresh squeezed lemon juice. Beat till smooth, adding more juice or sugar until a thick but still liquid consistency is reached. Spread or pour glaze over loaf. Can serve immediately or cool and use as a centerpiece first.
- (The eggs will be hard-cooked after baking and are safe to eat.).