Italian Braided Easter Bread

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This gorgeous bread is twisted into a wreath worthy of your Easter table. A beautiful, edible centerpiece.

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Ingredients

  • 2 1/4-3 1/4 C. flour
  • 1/4 C. sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 pkg. rapid-rise dry yeast
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2/3 C. warm milk
  • 2 Tbs. butter, melted
  • 1 Tbs. anise seed
  • 1/2 C. candied fruit (optional)
  • 1/4 C. chopped nuts (optional)
  • 5 raw colored eggs

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Directions

Combine 1 C. of the flour, sugar, salt, and yeast. Add dry mixture to the milk and melted butter mixture, along with the eggs. Beat with a mixer for 2 minutes. Stir in enough of the remaining flour and the anise seed plus any of the candied fruit or nuts to make a soft dough. Knead for 8-10 minutes. Add flour as necessary so dough is not sticky. Let rise for about 1-1 1/2 hour or until double in size.

Divide dough in half. Roll each piece into 24" rope. Overlap dough over itself (twist 2 pieces together) connecting the 4 end pieces to form a wreath. place on greased baking sheet. Place the five raw colored eggs into spaces between twists. Brush with melted butter. Let rise for 1 hour. Bake at 350 for 35-50 minutes.

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