These Easter Egg Braids and Egg Nests are going to look beautiful on your Easter table! Don’t let the braids intimidate you. They are easy and fun to make, and the egg nests would be a festive treat at each place setting around your table. Lucky for you, this recipe makes enough for on one braided bread and 6-8 nests, so you can try both!
Braided Easter Egg Bread
1 cup whole milk
2 ½ tsp. quick rise yeast
1 tsp. granulated sugar
½ cup unsalted butter, softened
5-6 cups all-purpose flour
3 large eggs
½ cup granulated sugar
pinch of kosher salt
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 tsp. lemon juice
zest of 1 lemon
¼ cup unsalted butter, melted
6-7 uncooked eggs, dyed to preferred Easter colors
1 cup powdered sugar
2-3 Tbs. milk
rainbow pastel nonpareils
In a microwave-safe bowl, heat milk in microwave for 45-50 seconds on full power just until warm; stir in yeast and 1 tsp. granulated sugar; set aside.
In bowl of electric mixer, combine softened butter and 2 cups of the flour on medium speed. One at a time, beat in all 3 eggs. Slowly add reserved yeast mixture, granulated sugar, and salt, beating until combined; add vanilla, lemon juice, and zest.
Using the dough hook, add remainder of the flour, ½ cup at a time, until the dough is stiff and not longer sticky, but still slightly tacky to the touch. Knead dough in mixer until smooth.
Place dough into a well-oiled bowl and cover with a lightweight towel; let dough rise in a warm place until doubled in size, approximately 1 – 1 ½ hours. (If dough has been refrigerated at this point, it may take 2 – 2 ½ hours for dough to rise until doubled in size.)
Punch dough down, then divide into half then divide each half into 3 equal portions. Using lightly floured hands and work surface, roll each portion of the dough into a 16”-long-rope with tapered ends. (If dough wants to pull back at this point, simply cover dough and let rest for 10 minutes to allow dough to relax a bit.)
Arrange 3 ropes side-by-side onto a greased sheet of parchment paper placed onto a baking sheet; pinch top ends together, then braid dough ropes pinching bottom ends together, creating a braid about 12” long. Nestle dyed eggs into braid, spacing evenly throughout the braid; repeat with remaining 3 dough braids to create 2nd braid. Cover each braid with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until slightly puffed, approx. 45-50 minutes.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Carefully brush each braid with a bit of melted butter, taking care not to touch dyed eggs. Bake braids, uncovered, on center racks of oven, for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown on the top and bottom. Let braids rest on baking sheets for 5 minutes, then slide on parchment paper over to cooling racks. Meanwhile, create glaze by combining all ingredients in a small bowl until smooth, adding milk until glaze reaches desired consistency. Using a pastry brush, gently brush glaze onto each braid, then sprinkle with rainbow nonpareils. Store braids in airtight containers for up to 3 days.
Individual Egg Nests
To create small egg nests instead of the large braids, divide dough into 12-15 equal portions, rolling each portion into a long rope. Gently twist each rope, forming a circle and pinching ends together, placing each rope onto greased parchment paper placed onto baking sheets. Let nests rise a bit in a warm place; then gently nestle a dyed egg into the center of each one; brush each bread nest with a bit of melted butter. Bake nests, uncovered, on center racks in preheated 350 degree F. oven for 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown; let cool on cooling racks. Brush nests with melted butter instead of glaze for a beautiful, simplistic look. (I often create one braid with half of the dough and then 6-8 nests with the remaining half so I can have some of each. J)
Now You’re Cookin’,
For more recipes and thoughts from my farm fresh kitchen, subscribe to Farm Bureau’s KANSAS LIVING MAGAZINE!