This festive bread, which is traditionally made in Greek or Italian households, is sure to be a hit at your Easter brunch celebration. (Plus, it can play double duty as centerpiece). It’s similar to a brioche or challah bread, but with a twist: orange zest and rum-soaked dried fruit are stuffed into each strand of dough. Kids can help braid the bread, as well as brush on the egg wash—which gives the bread its deeply golden crust. If braiding isn’t your strong suit, don’t sweat: you can always flip the loaf over after you’ve connected the two ends for a tidy finish. The dyed eggs add a fun pop of color, but can be removed before slicing into the bread. We suggest serving it warm from the oven.
2½ cups all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled, plus more for work surface
¼ cup granulated sugar
2¼ teaspoons instant yeast (one ¼ oz envelope)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 large egg yolk
3 large eggs, divided
½ cup whole milk
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
zest of 1 orange (about 1 tablespoon, packed)
⅓ cup dried apricots, finely chopped
⅓ cup raisins or golden raisins
½ cup dark rum
3 hard-boiled eggs, dyed
Sat fat 4.5g
How to Make It
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, yeast, and salt.
Add the egg yolk and two eggs to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough attachment. Whisk gently to combine.
In a small saucepan set over low heat, warm the milk and butter until the butter is just melted. Remove from heat, let cool slightly. Add to the eggs and whisk to combine.
With the mixer on low, gradually add the flour mixture. Knead until a smooth ball forms and pulls away from the sides of the bowl, about 5 minutes. If the dough is too sticky to handle, add more flour one tablespoon at a time.
Transfer dough to a lightly-oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and set in a warm, draft-free place to rest until doubled in size, 1 ½ to 2 hours.
Meanwhile, combine the apricots and raisins in a small bowl and add the rum. Soak fruit until ready to use.
Drain the fruit and set it aside. Lightly flour a work surface, then separate the dough into three equal pieces. Sprinkle the first piece with flour, then roll into a 12" x 4" rectangle. Sprinkle 1/3 of the orange zest down the left side of the rectangle and spoon 1/3 of the fruit over top. Roll the rectangle lengthwise into a log, tucking the fruit mixture under as you go. Pinch the ends shut. Repeat process with the remaining two pieces.
Using the palms of your hands, gently roll each length of dough into a 24” rope. Pinch one end of the ropes together, braid the strands tightly, then bring the ends together to form a ring. Pinch the ends to seal. Transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet.
In a small bowl, whisk the remaining egg until lightly beaten. Brush half of the beaten egg all over the braided dough, cover with plastic wrap, and set aside to rise until puffed but not doubled in size, about 50 minutes.
Heat oven to 350°F. Remove the plastic wrap, brush the remainder of the egg over the dough, and nestle the dyed eggs into the loaf. Bake until deeply golden brown, 28-33 minutes.
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