Sweet Egg Braid

If you want to impress people, make this bread. It’s not only beautiful to look at, but is literally mouth-watering. It’s my mom’s specialty that she makes for every holiday meal, and it’s the bread that I took to my now- in-law’s the first time I joined their family for Thanksgiving. For years, my younger cousin would ask for two loaves of this bread as his Christmas present from our family. No joke – it’s that good.

Time: 2 hours (mostly bake time)

Type: Side

Ingredients:

  • 6 – 6 ½ cups bread flour
  • ¾ cups sugar
  • 2 envelopes (2 Tbsp) rapid-rise yeast
  • 1 ½ tsp salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • ½ cup + 1 Tsbp water
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 3 large eggs

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees 15 minutes before baking.
  2. In a large bowl, combine 2 cups flour, sugar, undissolved yeast and salt.
  3. Heat milk, water and butter until very warm. Gradually add to dry ingredients.
  4. Beat 2 minutes at medium speed of electric mixer, scraping bowl occasionally.
  5. Separate 1 egg (i.e., separate yolk and egg white); set egg white aside to use for glaze.
  6. Add remaining 2 whole eggs, egg yolk and ½ cup flour to batter. Beat 2 minutes at high speed or by hand until mixed.
  7. Stir in enough of remaining flour (approx. 3 more cups) to make a soft dough. Mix in the last ½ cup and use hands to mix, so that you can test the stickiness.
  8. Once the dough is soft but doesn’t stick to the hands, lay out on surface to knead. Knead for 5-8 minutes and let rest, covered, for 10 minutes.
  9. Divide the dough into 6 equal pieces; roll each into 20-inch ropes. Braid 3 ropes together; pinch ends to seal. Repeat with remaining ropes.
  10. Place braids on greased baking sheets. Cover loosely with plastic wrap; let rise in warm, draft-free place until doubled in size, about 40 minutes.
  11. Prepare egg glaze by adding 1 Tbsp water to the egg white. Brush on the dough with a pastry brush.
  12. Bake 23-25 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.

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