First, the eggs must be raw eggs that have been colored in non-toxic food coloring or better yet, dye them using a natural vegetable dye like red cabbage or onion skins. Prepare the dough according to the directions all the way through the first rise on Holy Saturday night. Then, shape the dough into small braided rounds inserting the colored egg in the center. Place the dough nests into the refrigerator overnight. That will stall the second rise. When you are ready to bake on Easter morning, let the dough have a short second rise in a warm oven (maybe 30 minutes). Finish by baking according to recipe directions. I made a light drizzle frosting and decorated them with colorful sprinkles. The egg will cook along with the bread and can be eaten as well. Some of the food coloring will bleed onto the bread which is why you want to make sure you use a non-toxic coloring substance.
Many different cultures have some version of Easter bread with or without the decorative eggs in it. A quick search yielded many different varieties. I chose Karen's recipe because it was familiar to me and one I knew my family would like. Feel free to search for your own variety and let us know if you try it!
Saint Lucia's Braided Bread used for Easter Nest Bread
- 1 1/2 cups milk
- 2 1/4-ounce packages active dry yeast
- 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
- 6 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces
- 2 large eggs
- 1/4 cup orange juice
- 1 tablespoon finely grated orange rind
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 5 1/2 to 6 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar
- 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 tablespoons orange juice
Warm the milk in a small saucepan, then pour 1/2 cup of it into a large bowl.
Add the yeast and 1 tablespoon of the sugar and let it set for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, melt the butter in the remaining milk.
Add the butter and milk mixture to the yeast mixture. Whisk in the eggs, juice, 1/4 cup of sugar, orange rind, and salt.
Stir in the flour, 1 cup at a time, until the dough can be gathered into a ball. Knead the dough on a floured surface for 10 minutes, adding more flour until the dough is smooth and elastic and does not stick to your hands.
Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl, turning it once to coat it. Loosely cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it rise until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hours.
Punch down the dough and divide it into equal parts. Roll each part into a rope and braid the ropes together making a round.
Transfer the rounds to a greased baking sheet, pinch together the ends to form a circle, and then place in the fridge overnight.
Remove in the morning and let it rise until it has again about 30-45 minutes in a warm oven. I like to let my oven light warm it for me. Remove pans and heat the oven to 375°. Bake the bread for 25 minutes or until golden brown, then let it cool on a wire rack for about 30 minutes.
For the glaze, stir together the confectioner's sugar and orange juice in a medium bowl until smooth.
Drizzle the glaze mix over the bread. One batch made 4 nests which fed 6 people with leftovers. Pin It