My Grandmother passed down a tradition in our family of making Swedish Braid Bread, a delicious sweet bread flavored with mildly spicy cardamom and braided into a glistening golden loaf of goodness. It's a tradition I like to continue to this day, and I've recently learned how to combine this Swedish tradition with the Italian tradition of tucking eggs into the bread for a really special treat.
Two things to note: 1) You can follow this tutorial to braid any kind of bread recipe, and 2) there are various ways you can shape and size the loaves of braided bread.
Swedish Braid Bread
2 1/2 cups milk
1 1/2 cups melted butter
1 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
2 tsp ground cardamom
2 pkgs dry active yeast
8-9 cups all purpose flour
Cover the dough in the mixing bowl with a clean towel and let rise until doubled, about an hour. Punch down the dough, then remove from bowl. On a floured counter, knead dough lightly until smooth and shiny. Divide dough in half and use each half to form a braided loaf as follows:
Knead the dough with your hands until smooth.
Divide the dough into three equal pieces.
Roll each piece with your hands into a rope shape about 14" long.
Pinch the three ends of the rope-shaped dough together.
Form a braid by overlapping one of the side pieces across the middle piece and then the other side piece across the new middle piece.
Continue in this fashion until you reach the end. Pinch and tuck both ends under the loaf.
Note: You can make rope bread instead of braid bread by using two thicker ropes of dough and twisting them together.
Place the loaves on parchment-lined baking sheets. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let them rise for about an hour or until almost double in size. Bake at 375° F. for about 25-30 minutes until the crust is a golden brown.
Brush the tops with melted butter.
|"Morfar" and "Mormor"|
My Swedish Great-Grandparents
Hans and Augusta Olson
Easter Egg Braid Bread
To turn your Swedish Braid Bread into Easter Egg Bread, you can tuck uncooked eggs into the braided loaves before letting them rise.
Here's what you need to know:
Don't cook the eggs before baking. They will cook in the oven as the bread bakes.
If you want, you can dye the eggs to add beautiful color to your loaves. Be careful not to break the uncooked eggs as you dye them, and be sure they are dry before tucking them into the loaves or the color could seep into the bread.
I always prefer to use fresh eggs from my backyard chickens. Variations of white and shades of brown eggs would look nice. Imagine how pretty the loaves would be with pastel-colored eggs in shades of blue, pink and green from Ameraucana or Easter Egger chicks.
I searched and found many variations of the Easter Egg Braid Bread. (I linked the photos where possible.) Instead of two braided loaves, you could make one long braid and shape the loaf into a ring.
You could place several eggs into the center of the ring instead of tucking them into the braid.
You could use hard-boiled eggs and press them into the baked ring instead of baking them with the bread in the oven. With sweet breads, you could drizzle glazed icing on the cooled loaves.
You could make smaller individual loaves of rope bread.
I love all of these beautiful creations and imagine an Easter brunch where guests can pull apart the bread and peel the cooked eggs for an eggs-tra special dining experience!
If you would like to print out this recipe, click on the print button below. When the window opens, you can click on a box at the top to remove images.
|Chicken eggs from top: Olive Egger, Ameraucana, |
Black Copper Marans, Naked Neck, Easter Egger, Black Copper Marans,
Olive Egger, Ancona White, Salmon Faverolle, Easter Egger.