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Coloring eggs has never been an "Easter" festivity for us, but simply a part of spring time. We love the challenge of mixing dye, creating resist in decorative motifs, and, of course, eating the eggs! Several years ago I stumbled across a recipe for delicious Challah- and someone had used the festive colored eggs to garnish this braid for a beautiful table centerpiece.
This year I am not hosting our family's Resurrection Sunday meal or its activities, so this bread will not be present on our Sunday table. Instead I choose to share our beloved recipe with you. Bear in mind, this bread can be made anytime of year -without the eggs added to it. Melt in your mouth delicious- here is our version of Challah.
2 Tbsp yeast
3/4 cup warm water
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup butter
2 Tbsp honey
2 tsp. salt
4 1/2 to 5 cups bread flour or 1/2 whole wheat and 1/2 bread flour
2 whole eggs
1 egg (reserved for glaze)
**This recipe may also be used to make one large braid or two small braids. This dough can be made in a bread machine on the dough cycle and then shaped by hand, or in a Kitchen Aide style mixer.
Mix 3/4 cup warm water, 2 eggs and yeast in mixer bowl. Stir in 2 cups flour, beat well, and allow the mixture to bubble up for about 15 minutes or more. Meanwhile, heat milk, butter, honey, until the butter melts. Cool to lukewarm. Add these ingredients to the bubbly mixture, add the salt, and stir in enough of the remaining flour to make a soft dough. Knead until the dough is smooth, and elastic but not dry; about 7 -10 minutes. Shape the dough into a ball.
Place the dough ball into a greased bowl. Turn once to grease the top. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in warm place until doubled in bulk, about one hour. After the rise, divide into thirds. Roll each third into an 18-inch strand. Line up the three stands on a large, greased baking sheet. Braid loosely, beginning in center and working toward ends. Pinch ends together and tuck under in a circular shape.
Cover lightly (I use a flour sack towel) and let rise until double, about 30 minutes. Brush with beaten egg yolk.. Bake in a pre-heated 375 degree oven 35-45 minutes. In the last five minutes, gently tuck about five boiled, colored eggs. Cool on a wire rack.
Where ever and whatever your Resurrection Sunday celebrations may be, we wish you blessings and beautiful memories.