Easter Crown Bread
Happy Healthy Holidays!
Very pretty and delicious Easter Crown bread with mixed candied fruit, blanched almonds and decorated with colored easter eggs.
3 cups all purpose flour, divided
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 package active dry yeast
1 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup warm milk
2 tablespoons softened butter or margarine
1/2 cup chopped mixed candied fruit
1/4 cup chopped blanched almonds
1/2 teaspoon aniseed
5 uncooked eggs
Non-toxic egg coloring
To decorate this pretty Easter crown, you will need 5 colored eggs but they must be UNCOOKED. Be sure to use non-toxic dyes as you color them.
In a large mixing bowl, combine 1 cup flour, sugar, yeast, and salt. Add the milk and butter and beat with an electric mixer for 2 minutes on medium. Add the eggs and 1/2 cup flour and beat on high for 2 minutes. Stir in the fruit, nuts, and aniseed, mixing well. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic (about 6 to 8 minutes). Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease the top. Cover with a damp cloth or plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size (about 1 hour).
Meanwhile, color 5 eggs (leave them uncooked) with non-toxic dyes. When dry, lightly rub them with vegetable oil. Punch down the risen dough. Divide in half. Roll each half into a 24-inch rope.
On a greased baking sheet, loosely twist the two ropes together. Form into a ring and pinch the ends together. Gently split the ropes and tuck the 5 colored uncooked eggs into the openings. Cover and let rise again until doubled (about 30 minutes).
Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 to 35 minutes or until a golden brown. Remove from the baking sheet and cool on a wire rack.
Recipe makes 1 loaf Easter Crown Bread.
Variation: Braided Easter Crown Bread
2 packages dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1-1/2 teaspoon salt
5 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon water
In a large mixing bowl, dissolve the yeast in the water. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a saucepan, add the milk, and heat until just warm. Pour the mixture into the bowl with the yeast. Add the sugar, eggs, and salt and stir well.
Mix in the flour, one cup at a time, until a soft dough is formed. Turn the dough onto a floured surface, adding flour if the dough is too sticky to handle. Knead until it becomes elastic. Place it in a lightly oiled bowl, cover, and set in a warm, draft-free area until doubled in size (about one hour). Punch down the dough. Divide it into three equal parts and roll each piece into a 20-inch-long strand. Lay the strands side by side and gently braid them.
Note: To avoid tearing the dough, braid from the middle out to an end; repeat with the other side.
Place the woven dough in a wreath shape on a greased cookie sheet, tucking the ends under. Soft-boil and dye six eggs, using non-toxic dyes. Sink the dyed eggs into the dough. Cover and let rise until double in size.
Beat one egg with 1-teaspoon water and brush the wash over the dough. Bake in a preheated 350-degree oven for 25 minutes, or until golden brown. Makes one large loaf.
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It is said that Mary Magdalene went to the court of the Roman Emperor with a red egg after Christ had risen from his grave. She gave him the red egg, the red color of which stood for the blood shed by the Christ for the redemption of the world. Mary Magdalene told him that Christ has risen, and preached Christianity to him. Thus, the egg came to represent the resurrection of the Christ.