Homemade Easter Bread A Nostalgic Family Recipe
makes 3 reasonable loaves or 2 large ones
- Two cups of milk, heated until it's scalded and then allowed to cool to a lukewarm temperature
- 2 cups sugar (suggest bakers grade ultrafine grind sugar)
- 2 envelopes of yeast
- 12 cups flour
- ½ tsp Baking powder
- One cup of sweet, unsalted butter that is sweet and kept at room temperature
- 7 eggs, incorporated individually, one by one, while mixing
- Black and gold raisins, about a cup total.
- In a very large bowl, mix the flour and the baking powder.
- Scald the milk and let it cool. Skim it, if a ‘skin’ forms. When it reaches about 110°F, take about 1/3 cup and put it in a bowl with a little sugar. Add the dried yeast to this milk and stir lightly. It should begin to foam in about 5 minutes (if it doesn’t there is a problem either too hot on the milk or old yeast).
- In a medium bowl, mix the sugar and the softened butter until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time and mix. When all eggs are in and mixed, add the cooled milk and the yeast mixture into this and stir thoroughly.
- Combine the sugar mixture with the flour and gently mix them together. When stirred well, turn it out and knead it for about 10 minutes. Incorporate the raisins during the kneading process. When it is silky looking, it is ready for the raising step.
- Shape the dough into a nice round mass. Transfer the dough into a well-buttered very large bowl. Cover this with a damp towel. Place it in a warm place to rise for three to four hours until doubled. Ideal situation: If your oven has a “proof” setting, use it. Otherwise, on top of a refrigerator works. The ideal temperature range is 115 to 125 degrees Fahrenheit to raise the dough. What Grandma used to do was put it in her gas oven, which had a pilot light.
- When doubled, punch it down and separate into the loaves. Place them into buttered cooking vessels. Raise the loaves again until doubled (about 1½ hours).
- Heat the oven to 350°F. Bake the loaves for 30 minutes each (35 minutes for large loaves). Cover during baking with aluminum foil if needed.