If you haven’t already guessed, I love baking bread, and Easter has a large assortment of traditional breads to choose from. Please make sure to check back next week when the Daring Baker’s have a beautiful German Easter bread recipe for everyone. I had this bread already in mind before I knew about next weeks challenge so I figured the more the merrier and am posting this before Easter so it gives you a chance to make one this weekend.
Like all holiday breads, this one contains eggs. Eggs symbolized new life so it is only fitting for Easter (and Christmas and Rosh Hashanah). This one is baked in a round loaf, to symbolize the sun. The light lemony fragrance of this dough is so inviting. You can make one large, and very impressive, 10-inch loaf or two smaller ones, which is what I did. They are equally impressive, just smaller. We are a small family so it’s better to keep and small loaf for ourselves and share a loaf with friends. Why don’t you bake some today and share with your friends? Bake On!
Alpine Easter Bread
1/2 cup (4 oz/150 ml) whole milk
1/2 Cup (4 oz) unsalted butter
1 Tablespoon active dry yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 Cup (4 oz/150 ml) warm water (105-115f) or room temp water- it will just take longer to rise
4 Cups(17 ounces), or more, unbleached AP flour
2/3 Cup granulated sugar
2 tsp grated lemon zest (lemon)
3 eggs, room temperature
2 tsp vanilla extract, or the seeds of 1 vanilla bean
1/2 tsp lemon extract
For the Glaze
1 Cup (4 oz / 120 g) powdered sugar
1 Tablespoon melted butter
3 Tablespoons Amaretto (or milk)
In a small saucepan combine the milk and butter and heat until the butter has melted. Let it cool to about 105 F.
In a large bowl combine the warm water, 1 teaspoon sugar, and yeast. Whisk to dissolve the yeast and let stand for about 10 minutes, or until it is foamy.
Why is this necessary? Active dry yeast needs to proof in water before use. If you use instant dry yeast it can get added with all of the other ingredients.
Add 2 cups of the flour, sugar, lemon zest, salt ,the milk/butter mixture, eggs and extract (or vanilla seeds). Beat for a few minutes until creamy. Add the remaining flour 1/2 cup at a time on low-speed (or by hand!) until a nice soft dough is formed. Add additional flour if needed. Here in Calgary it is quite dry so I tend to require less flour. It should still be slightly tacky. Knead for 10 minutes.
Place the dough into a greased container, turn to coat the top, and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise until doubled in bulk, at least 2 hours (yes, 2 hours). Alternately you can let it sit at room temperature for 1 hour then place the container in the refrigerator overnight. This will help develop the flavor. The next day let it sit out at room temperature for 30 minutes before proceeding.
Turn the dough out onto a clean work surface and shape it into a smooth round loaf. Place it into a greased 10-inch springform pan or a 4-inch deep 10-inch cake pan or two 6-inch round springform pans. Loosely cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour.
30 minutes before baking, preheat your oven to 350 F.
While the bread is baking prepare the glaze. Simply stir the melted butter, powdered sugar, and liqueur together until it is smooth with no visible lumps. Set aside.
Bake the bread for 50-60 minutes if using a 10-inch pan, or 35-45 minutes if using a smaller pan. It should be a deep golden brown. Let the bread stand for 15 minutes before removing it from the pan. Place on a wire rack over a piece of parchment or wax paper (to catch the drips). Drizzle the warm loaf(s) with all of the glaze, letting it run down the sides. Stud the outer edge with whole almonds, if desired. Let cool completely. Enjoy!!
Recipe Source: Baking Bread Old and New traditions by Beth Hensperger