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Braided Easter Bread Recipe

Today I’m happy to share a really interesting recipe with you. It’s a braided Easter bread recipe. One of those lovely sweet breads that looks as good as it tastes. Those are always great, right? This is a bread I’ve wanted to make for years and since this month’s #TwelveLoaves is a Holiday Bread recipe, I figured why not!


First a bit about the history of this recipe. It originates from an old bread book that I inherited from my maternal grandmother. It’s the book that I learned to make bread from, which is awesome. I’ve seen pictures of this Easter bread for YEARS and have always been intrigued. That picture is just so pretty and that bread always looked so tasty. I’ve finally taken the plunge and made that bread. And I’m happy I did.


Next, let me tell you a little more about #TwelveLoaves. It’s the brainchild of Lora over at Cake Duchess. Each month a new bread theme is explored. The goal is to have everyone baking a bit more. I know that’s certainly worked for me! Check out what I’ve baked since participating in #TwelveLoaves. This is my favorite cook-along club.

Twelve Loaves logo

Now, let’s get to talking about the recipe. This recipe starts with dyeing uncooked eggs. I haven’t dyed Easter eggs in like 20 years, so this was a fun exercise for me. As you can see below on the left, the dyes are very dark. I honestly wasn’t sure the eggs would actually come out as pretty as they did on the right. But I was really happy with the colors. I used food coloring for dyeing since that’s what I had on hand but feel free to use an Easter egg dye kit if you prefer.


Overall this bread recipe is fairly standard in terms of ingredients and processes. My favorite part about this bread though is that I did work the zest of two lemons into it so it’s got a mild, lemony flavor. Which pairs well with the subtle sweetness of the bread.

While this bread is tasty, my favorite part of it is how it looks. I love the dyed Easter eggs and nonpareil candies that decorate the top. I always used to love to get the nonpareil chocolate chip candies at the movies when I was a kid. These little candies take me way back and make me nostalgic. Ah, to be young!


Finally, let’s talk a little about rolling out this dough and getting it from a soft, satiny dough ball to the braided, final form. Below are the six steps that the dough is taken through to get it to the oven. Let’s walk through those steps one by one.


  1. After the dough finishes its first two proofing stages, it’s finally ready to work with the dough to get it ready for the final proof. Yes, there are three proofing cycles here. The bread never really rose exceptionally but the final product was light and tasty.
  2. Next step is to divide the bread ball into two. We’re braiding here so you must start with two bread spheres to accomplish that. Make sure they’re the same size.
  3. Carefully roll out each ball into a long strand, about 20 inches in length. Make sure the strands are of equal thickness and width. Otherwise, the eggs won’t cook evenly, and that’s messy.
  4. Braiding is pretty easy overall. Just form five loops and widen them as I did above. Each will need to fit an Easter egg.
  5. Carefully place an egg in each hole. Remember, the eggs aren’t boiled so if they crack, it’ll be a mess. Now the dough is ready for the final proof.
  6. Once the dough has risen yet again, it’s time to prep it for the oven. A quick egg wash is applied. Careful not to get it on the eggs. As you can see, I wasn’t as careful as I should have been, and it did affect the final quality of how my loaf looked. Be sure to paint the egg wash all over the bread, down to the bottom of the loaf. Sprinkle liberally with nonpareil candies and then we’re ready to bake!


And there you have it – a lovely classic Easter loaf. They look beautiful on any table. And they’re fun to eat too – I like that you get a slice of sweet bread accompanied by a boiled egg. It’s a tasty combo! I added a little salt to my egg to have a sweet/salty combination breakfast. My favorite type!

Ready to start baking? Great – let’s get to the recipe!

Yield: 5 servings

Braided Easter Bread Recipe

This braided Easter egg bread recipe is a true classic. Tender, sweet, lemony bread surrounds five beautifully decorated Easter eggs. Truly, a piece of nostalgia.


5 large white eggs in shell, uncooked
Food coloring or Easter egg dye
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup shortening
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Grated peel of two lemons, divided
1 package active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water (110 to 115 ºF)
1 egg, at room temperature and slightly beaten
2 1/3 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 egg, beaten
Colored nonpareil candies


  1. Wash the uncooked eggs. Tint shells according to directions on food coloring or egg dye package. Once done, set aside until ready to use. Keep out of the refrigerator so they can get to room temperature. This will help the bread cook quicker and more evenly.
  2. Heat the milk just below a simmer. Add sugar, shortening, kosher salt and the grated peel from one lemon. Cool to lukewarm.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, sprinkle the yeast on the warm water. Stir and allow to bloom for three minutes.
  4. Once the yeast is bloomed, add the following to the mixer: 1 1/3 cups of flour, the slightly beaten egg, and the cooled milk mixture. Beat with the paddle attachment until combined and smooth.
  5. Switch to the dough hook in the mixer and continue add the rest of the flour.
  6. Mix on medium to work the dough, about 8 minutes.
  7. Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl. Turn dough over to grease the top. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and allow to rise for one hour in a draft-free location until dough is doubled in size.
  8. Gently punch down the dough and re-cover the bowl with the plastic wrap. Allow dough to rise for 30 more minutes, until almost doubled again.
  9. To create the ring - divide dough into two parts. Roll out to 20 inch pieces. Loosely braid the pieces on a lined baking sheet, leaving space for the eggs. Be sure to make only five loops in the dough. Insert the eggs into the spaces in each ring.
  10. Cover and let rise again until doubled, about 30 minutes.
  11. While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 375 ºF.
  12. Once the dough has finished rising, brush the it evenly with the beaten egg, carefully avoiding the dyed eggs. Sprinkle the dough with the nonpareil candies.
  13. Bake in the pre-heated oven for 40-45 minutes, until golden brown. Serve warm.

Only one hour of the prep time is active (30 minutes for egg dyeing and 30 minutes working on the bread). Two hours of the prep time is inactive time.

Recipe adapted from "Homemade Bread" by Nell Beaubien Nichols.

Prep:3 hours

Cook:45 minutes

Total:3 hours, 45 minutes

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