Easter was always the time when my great-grandmother used to spend lots of time making her famous Easter bread. She had a giant mixing bowl in the largest size made and would crack lots of eggs, kneading that yellow sweet dough relentlessly getting it smooth and elastic until it suited her.
Those round holiday breads never lasted long despite how many extra she made. The only problem is if they did manage to survive without being eaten, then they got stale quickly since they contained no preservatives.
Although I loved the taste of my grandmother's Easter bread, I am not fond of extra work if it can be avoided. Now that the dear woman has passed, I still wanted to preserve this holiday tradition. Therefore, I began an extensive experimentation on similar sweet bread dough recipes that could compare to her own except with less effort.
To those doubters, I am happy to say that this recipe for raised sweet bread does remind me of those incredible rounds we enjoyed for Easter. Honestly, if you want a simple one that is delicious and stays fresher than my great-grandmother's recipe then I do hope you will try this for your own celebration.
I like to finish growing this in a 10-inch (12 cup tube) pan. By doing so, this makes a beautiful presentation on your holiday table.
My Favorite Easter Bread
4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1/3 cup of sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons of salt
2 tablespoons of active dry yeast (2 packets)
1 cup of milk
1/4 cup of water
1/2 cup of canola oil
3 eggs, beaten
Combine 1-1/3 cups of flour, sugar, salt, and yeast in a large mixing bowl.
Heat your milk, water, and oil until very warm.
Slowly add this heated liquid to your mixing bowl with those measured dry ingredients while beating with your electric mixer. Scrape the sides and beat for about two minutes until well blended.
Beat in the eggs, one at a time and the rest of the flour. This will be stickier dough than a typical yeast dough on the order of a batter bread. Cover and let this rise in a warm spot until doubled about one hour or one hour and a half.
Take out your 10-inch (12-cup) tube pan, grease it well, and then transfer your dough with your wooden spoon into it. Cover and let this rise for about 30 minutes more so it can grow a bit longer.
Bake at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes so it gets a golden brown. You can stab it with a long thin knife to make sure nothing sticks to it. However, this can cause it to break so be careful. Another hint is if you tap bread the sound that you hear should be hollow.
Let it cool in the pan for about five minutes and then remove and cool it on your wire rack.