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.
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.
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.
- Cream Cheese Swirl Pumpkin Bread
- Zucchini Bread
- Dinner Rolls
- Homemade Croissants
- Rosemary Focaccia Bread
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°F.
- 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.