Easter morning baking included a tweaked rendition of a traditional Italian bread. My friend Kirsten shared the recipe with me. I was pretty skeptical, and it was the first time I've ever baked something that I thought could very well be a complete disaster. Fortunately, I was completely wrong.
Here is Kirsten's recipe:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
1 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup warm milk (120 to 130 degrees F)
2 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened
1/2 cup chopped mixed candied fruit
1/4 cup chopped blanched almonds
1/2 teaspoon anise seeds
In a mixing bowl, combine 1 cup flour, sugar, yeast and salt. Add milk and butter; beat 2 minutes on medium. Add 2 eggs and 1/2 cup flour; beat 2 minutes on high. Stir in fruit, nuts and aniseed; mix well. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough. Turn onto a lightly floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl; turn once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour. If desired, dye remaining eggs (leave them uncooked); lightly rub with oil. Punch dough down. Divide in half; roll each piece into a 24-in. rope. Loosely twist ropes and tuck eggs into openings. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 30 minutes. Bake at 350 degrees F for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pan; cool on a wire rack.
Here's how I tweaked it: I added almost twice the sugar and lots of cinnamon, deleted the fruit, nuts, and aniseed. Also, per Kirsten's suggestion, I added a sugar glaze when the bread was finished baking. The result? Absolutely delicious, and what I'm pretty sure will be our Easter breakfast tradition.
For those of you who are curious, the eggs cooked perfectly. I didn't eat one Easter morning. I just couldn't wrap my mind around eating a warm hard cooked egg. But, I did eat one a day later and it was just like eating a hard boiled egg.
Next year I hope to use natural egg dyes, because the dye does seep into the bread. I also just want to continue my move away from exposing my kids to potentially harmful substances.
Are wondering about the name, Mystery Egg Bread? I just made it up. Much more fun. You can use it too.