Easter (Springtime) Bread
Springtime is such a wonderful experience. The scent of spring flowers and the new blossoms on the trees give way to sunny days and a happier mood. Springtime is also the perfect time to bake delicious Easter (Springtime) Bread. This light, soft bread is not only beautiful to look at, but it boasts a sweet lemon and orange flavor that tastes like spring sunshine. A great treat to serve guests on Easter Sunday or just serve with a fruity herbal tea!
1 ¼ cups milk
1/3 cup unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
2 ¼ tsp. rapid rise instant yeast (1 package)
1/8 tsp. Kosher salt
½ cup granulated sugar
2 tsp. lemon extract
2 tsp. orange extract
1 Tbsp. McCormick’s Valencian Orange Zest
2 large eggs, slightly beaten
4 cups All-Purpose Flour or T45 French Flour divided (plus more for kneading process)
1 large egg, beaten + 1 tsp. water
Colored sugar sprinkles
1)In a small saucepan, add milk and butter. Heat to 120 to 130°F (49 to 54ºC), stirring until the butter melts. Do not allow the milk to go above 130°F (54ºC).
2)In a large mixing bowl, combine yeast, salt, and sugar. Add the eggs and whisk together. Add the warmed milk and butter mixture then slowly add 2 cups of flour.
3)Attach a dough hook to a stand mixer and combine on medium speed until smooth, about 2 minutes. Scrape the sides with a spatula as needed to incorporate the flour.
4)Slowly add the remaining 2 cups of flour to the mixer on medium-low speed and scrape the sides as needed.
5)Add the lemon and orange extracts and orange zest. Mix thoroughly to distribute the extract and zest flavor throughout the dough.
6)Knead the dough in the mixer until the dough is stiff and slightly sticky, about 12 minutes.
7)Place the dough on a lightly floured board and hand knead for about 3 to 4 minutes, adding a little more flour to prevent sticking. Do not use more than ¼ cup of flour.
8)Shape dough into a ball or boule, cover with a dish towel, and allow the dough to rest for 10 minutes.
9)Divide into eight (8) pieces. Roll each piece to form a one-inch wide rope, about 14-inches long.
10)Taking two (2) pieces, braid the rope, pinching the ends together and then loop into a circle. Make sure the ends are securely joined together.
11)Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet (2 per sheet), providing enough room to rise.
12)Loosely cover the baking sheet with plastic wrap and a dish towel and allow the dough to rise in a warm area that is draft free until it doubles in size, about 1 hour.
13)Preheat the oven to 350°F (177ºC). Set the rack in the middle position.
14)Whisk together the large egg and 1 teaspoon water. Brush each braided bread with the egg wash.
15)If desired, top the bread generously with various colors of sugar sprinkles.
16)Bake one tray at a time until golden brown, approximately 15-18 minutes.
17)Immediately transfer the baked bread to a cooling rack.