Braided Easter bread is a very soft, somewhat sweet bread with a hint of vanilla. It will fill your house with wonderful aromas while it bakes. Because there are only two – 1 hour rise times, this bread can easily be made in one day over the course of a few hours.
Braided Easter Bread is gorgeous and so delicious. Don’t let braiding dough intimidate you, it is very simple and easy to do. If you know how to braid hair then you will have no problem making this. If not, I’ve also included a step-by-step guide along with pictures.
How to Make Braided Bread
- Active dry yeast: 1 standard packet (2 and ¼ tsp.)
- Warm milk: Heat the milk in the microwave for about 15-30 seconds. It should be lukewarm, not hot. If the milk is too hot it will kill the yeast.
- Butter: Softened and cut into even-sized pieces.
- Large eggs
- Vanilla extract
- Flour: Start with 4 cups of flour and add 2 tablespoons more at a time until the dough is sticky but not so sticky that it sticks to your hands. You may need up to ½ cup of extra flour.
Make the Dough:
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, add the warm milk, yeast, and sugar. Whisk to combine and let it sit for a few minutes to dissolve the yeast. It should dissolve and bubble slightly if the yeast is alive.
- Add in the salt, softened butter, eggs, and vanilla and beat until somewhat smooth. It’s okay if there are some lumps of butter remaining.
- Add in 4 cups of flour and mix until somewhat incorporated before turning the mixer to high. Starting at a low speed to incorporate the flour prevents it from exploding out of the bowl.
- Add an additional 2 tablespoons of flour until the dough is not too sticky that it sticks to your hands.
- Form the dough into a ball and transfer to a large bowl that has been greased with butter. The dough will be thick, dense, slightly sticky, and pale yellow in color.
Cover the bowl with a damp kitchen towel and let it rise until doubled in size. This will take about 1 hour.
Braid the Dough:
Once the dough has doubled in size, punch it down and divide it into 3 equal pieces. Use your hands to roll each piece into a long skinny rope. Crimp them together at one end and place on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper.
Braid the dough by putting one rope over the middle rope, then the other over that rope.
Continue this process and crimp together at the other end.
Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise again for 1 hour.
Brush the top of the bread with beaten egg yolk.
Now it’s time to bake the bread! This part’s easy.
Preheat your oven to 400°. Bake for 15 minutes until golden brown with a firm exterior.
Brush the top with melted butter and serve warm with butter or jam. Leftovers last covered at room temperature for 1 week.
More great bread recipes to make:
Braided Easter Bread
- 2 and ¼ tsp. active dry yeast 1 standard packet
- ½ cup warm milk
- 1 tbsp. sugar
- ¼ cup butter softened and cut into cubes
- 4 large eggs
- 1 tbsp. vanilla extract
- 4 - 4 and ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 egg to brush the top of the dough before baking
- Warm the milk in the microwave for 15-30 seconds. It should be lukewarm and not too hot.
- Add the yeast and sugar to the warm milk and let sit for a few minutes.
- Add the milk and sugar with the dissolved yeast to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment.
- Add the softened butter, eggs, salt, and vanilla extract. Whisk until mostly smooth. Don't worry if there are some clumps of butter still.
- Add in 4 cups of flour and turn the mixer on low. Turn to high and add flour, 2 tablespoons at a time as needed. I added an additional ½ cup. The dough should be sticky but not so sticky that it sticks to your fingers.
- Form the dough into a ball and transfer to a large bowl that has been greased with butter. Cover with a damp kitchen towel and let rise until doubled in size. About 1 hour.
- Once the dough has doubled in size, punch it down and divide it into 3 equal pieces. Use your hands to roll each piece into a long skinny rope. Crimp them together at one end and place on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper.
- Braid the dough like you would braid hair. Alternate crossing each end over the center rope and placing in the middle. See the post above for a visual step-by-step guide.
- Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise again for 1 hour.
- Preheat oven to 400°
- Brush the top of the dough with beaten egg yolk.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes, until golden brown and firm on the outside.
- Brush the top with melted butter and serve warm with butter or jam. Leftovers last covered at room temperature for 1 week.