Made with eggs and a touch of saffron, this is a special egg bread that can be served for Christmas dinner. The recipe is easy to follow and make. The resulting bread is a light, white bread that is full of rich texture and flavor.
Yield: 2 braided loaves
Prep Time: 2 hours, 15 minutes
Cook Time: 55 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours, 10 minutes
- 2 cups water, room temperature
- 1 Tbsp (2 pkg. or 1/2 oz.) active dry yeast
- 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 1/4 cup shortening
- 1 Tbsp sugar
- 1-1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp saffron
- 9 cups bread flour, about
- In large bowl, mix water and yeast. Add eggs, shortening, sugar, salt, and saffron. Stir. Add 5 cups of flour and mix well. Slowly add in remaining flour, enough flour to make a dough that follows the spoon around the bowl. Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface and knead for 5 minutes, adding more flour as needed until the dough is soft and smooth to the touch. Place dough in medium greased bowl. Turn dough over in bowl so that the top is also lightly greased. Cover with clean cloth and let rise in warm, draft-free place for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
- Punch down dough. Turn dough out onto lightly floured board and knead for 4 minutes or until the bubbles are out of the bread. Divide dough into six equal pieces. Roll each of the 6 pieces of dough between your hands, making 6 ropes, about 12 inches long. Line 3 strips side-by-side on floured board and pinch the top ends together. Braid strips and pinch bottom ends together. Set braided loaf on greased baking sheet and repeat with remaining 3 strips. Cover and let rise in warm, draft-free place for 45 minutes or until doubled in size.
- Bake loaf at 375 degrees F for 55 minutes or until the breads are golden brown. Remove loaves from sheet and let cool on rack.
Bread Baking Tips:
- It is not hard to learn how to braid bread dough.
- Use bottled water instead of tap water to make your breads. Water softeners and chlorinated public water can sometimes kill the yeast needed to make your bread dough rise.
- Egg substitute can be used in place of the egg.
- Spraying loaves with water while they bake will produce a crispy crust.
- Brush loaves with egg white before baking to produce a shiny crust.
- Brush loaves with milk before baking to produce a dark, shiny crust.
- Brush loaves with butter immediately after baking to produce a soft crust.
- To keep bread soft, store in a plastic bag.
- Store flour properly to keep it from spoiling.
- Bread flour has a higher amount of gluten than all-purpose flour. This means that bread made with bread flour will rise higher than bread made with all-purpose flour. You can make your own bread flour by adding 1-1/2 teaspoons gluten to each cup of all-purpose flour you use in your bread recipe.
- Keep yeast stored in an airtight container and in the refrigerator. Heat, moisture, and air kills the yeast and prevents bread dough from rising.