If you haven’t tried it, sweet bread is a deliciously light treat that is perfect for springtime and has just the right touch of sweetness. Braided sweet bread is an Easter staple in many cultures, so it only seemed right that we share this yummy recipe with you but you can make it whenever you want!
Part of what makes this dish great, aside from it’s delicious flavor, is its beautiful presentation. You could make this as a standard loaf, but turning it into a braided ring makes it really special; plus, it’s fun to braid with something unexpected like dough. Regardless of whether you end up making this for Easter, if you’ve got a little time on your hands, we encourage you to make this you’ll be shocked by the amazing flavor and lightness that store-bought breads just never seem to achieve!
Braided Sweet Bread
- 2 1/2-3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup whole milk, warmed to 110-115º F
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened, cubed
- 1/2 cup sugar, divided
- 2 large eggs, room temperature; plus 1, lightly beaten
- 2 1/2 teaspoons (1 package) active dry yeast
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon salt
- powdered sugar, garnish
- sliced almonds, garnish
- Place warmed milk in a bowl and stir in 1 tablespoon sugar and active dry yeast. Stir and let sit 5 minutes, or until frothy.
- In a large bowl or mixer (fitted with dough hook attachment), beat together 2 eggs and remaining sugar and, once combined, beat in yeast mixture and butter, 1 cube at a time.
- Pour in vanilla extract and salt and mix to incorporate.
- Gradually add 2 1/2-3 cups flour and knead on medium speed for 5-7 minutes, or until smooth and elastic.
Note: add more flour if dough is too sticky; add 1-3 teaspoons water if dough is too dry.
- Form dough into a ball and transfer to a lightly oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Place in a warm, draft-free place and let rest for 1-2 hours, or until doubled in size.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and lightly grease it with oil or non-stick spray.
- Punch dough down and turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide dough into 3 or 4 equal parts.
- Roll each section out into a long, 16-18-inch rope. If using 3 ropes, pinch the top ends together and loosely braid them. If using four, pinch top ends together, then take the outside piece on the left side and carry it over the one next to it and under the third rope. Lay it down just inside the right rope.
- Repeat on the right side, carrying it over the inside left piece and under the third rope, and continue until fully braided.
- Form braid into a circle and tuck ends under. Cover and let rise another 45-60 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 375º F and position oven rack in the middle of oven. Transfer dough to baking sheet.
- Brush with lightly beaten egg and sprinkle sliced almonds over the top.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown and inner temperature reads 190º F.
- Remove from oven and let cool.
- Garnish with powdered sugar before serving.
Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit
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