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Homemade Easter Bread

Ingredients

Directions

  1. Pour the cup of water into a small bowl. Add the 2 teaspoons of sugar and stir to dissolve. Sprinkle yeast into bowl. Cover with a plate and let stand for 10 minutes.
  2. Pour milk, sugar and salt into a medium saucepan on medium-high heat. Stir to dissolve the sugar and salt. Right before the milk boils, add the butter and stir until melted. Set aside until temperature comes down to lukewarm.
  3. Pour the lukewarm milk and yeast mixtures into a large bowl and stir together. Add 3 cups of flour and stir until everything is well blended. Add eggs and orange zest and stir until incorporated.
  4. Begin adding the remaining 3 cups of flour slowly, sprinkling it bit by bit into the dough and working it in with your hand. Pull the dough up and away from the bowl to incorporate the flour. Continue sprinkling all of the flour until the dough comes together.
  5. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead gently for about 4 minutes. Wash bowl and return it to counter. Transfer the dough back to the bowl. Rub a bit of butter between the palms of your hands and then rub it over the top and sides of the dough as well as along the inside of the bowl. Cover with a clean dish towel and place in a warm location until the dough doubles in size, about 1½ hours.
  6. Prepare your workspace: Butter and flour the inside of a medium-sized, straight-sided soup pot. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Prepare egg wash by whisking egg white together with 1 tablespoon of water and set aside with a pastry brush.
  7. Turn dough out onto floured surface. Knead gently for a few moments, then divide in two.
  8. To form kolach: Take one half of the prepared dough and cut into four even-sized pieces. Form each portion into a round, slightly flattened disc. Place one disc into the centre of the pot and then add the remaining three to form the shape of a three-leaf clover. Brush with egg white mixture. Add three coloured eggs onto the dough, cover with a towel and let sit in a warm spot to rise for one hour.
  9. To form pundje and pletenice: Cut remaining half of dough into six even-sized pieces. Roll each piece into a long rope. For pundje, twist the rope into a bun shape. For pletenice, hold rope in the middle, allowing the ends to hang, and form a twist by wrapping one end around the other. Brush with egg wash and place a coloured egg in the centre of each pundje and in the loop end of each pletenice. Cover with a clean dish towel and let sit in a warm spot to rise for one hour.
  10. Preheat oven to 325°F with the rack in the lower-third position. Place kolach in oven to bake for 40 minutes. Once baked, allow to cool for about 20 minutes before turning it out of the pot and allowing it to cool completely on a wire rack. Place pundje and pletenice in to bake for 30 minutes, or until golden brown. Once baked, allow them to cool on baking sheet.
  11. Serve with butter.
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Homemade Easter Bread

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A rich tasting, softly sweetened egg bread scented with orange – a traditional family recipe.

  • clock icon
    3 hours MIN
  • 12 SERVINGS
Homemade Easter Bread

A traditional Serbian recipe for Homemade Easter Bread!

It’s often difficult to track the origins of my favourite family recipes. Legend has it, my grandmother was taught how to make this fabulous HOMEMADE EASTER BREAD from her grandmother.

I have a very early childhood memory of watching this bread being made. There I was sitting at our kitchen table watching my mom create something so special for the family. Although my mom’s no longer with us, I do feel her with me whenever I make it.

Though I’m posting this recipe as a HOMEMADE EASTER BREAD, don’t be surprised if you also see it referenced throughout the year. This celebratory bread is also served on Orthodox Christmas (January 7) and other feast days. The recipe really does have some legs! Head HERE to learn more about Easter Bread.

There are two variations on how to bake it for Easter. One is to form the dough into a KOLACH, a round bread studded with coloured, hard-boiled eggs. The second is to form the dough into small buns called PUNDJE and PLETENICE, each baked with its own Easter egg. There’s a distinction on how the buns are shaped for either ladies or gents – more on that in a bit.

It’s my pleasure to share this recipe with you, from my family to yours. Let’s make HOMEMADE EASTER BREAD!

Ingredients for Homemade Easter Bread

THE RECIPE

I’ve made a few minor tweaks to my mom’s recipe, but the one thing I never change is using the finest ingredients available. Make sure your eggs and milk are organic and fresh from the farm. Splurge and track down fresh-churned butter. Also a smart idea to check the freshness of your yeast and flour. Buy fresh if you need to – you will taste the difference.

Pulling the dough by hand

PULL BY HAND

Although I understand how simple it would be to make the recipe using either a stand mixer or a bread maker, nothing beats a dough pulled by hand. It has a luxurious shredded fibre when you tear into it. This dough also appears less processed, and yes, it does have a softer texture.

Eggs Coloured with Onion Skins

OLD-SCHOOL COLOURING

I used to dye Easter eggs using coloured food dyes until my Aunt Alexandra suggested I follow tradition and use onion skins. She gave me one of her famous stories that went something like, “Back in the old country when the two widowed grandmas had nothing but a couple of onions and one tooth between ‘em, this is how they did it!”. I now think this authentic homespun way of dying eggs to be so charming. Head HERE to learn how to dye eggs using onion skins.

Little buns with a dyed hard-boiled egg in the centre

BUN INTENDED

What can I say? I’m going to follow yet another tradition, albeit a somewhat sexist one, and shape the individual buns two different ways. The beautiful, simple twirled braid is for all the single ladies. The twisted braid with the dangly loop is for all single guys. I’m not kidding! You can’t make this stuff up! Growing up, it was a ton of fun – all the kids received their very own bun on their breakfast plates, while the adults received slices of the Easter bread cut from the larger KOLACH.

Large and small versions of the easter bread

BREAKFAST TREATS

Well, that’s the story of this traditional HOMEMADE EASTER BREAD. I know you’ll have great results and be amazed by the fantastic flavour. It really is heavenly.

A gathering of our closest friends and family should always be celebrated, so why not make this HOMEMADE EASTER BREAD and start your own family tradition?

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Homemade Easter Bread

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Homemade Easter Bread

Ingredients

  • 1 cup water, lukewarm
  • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 2 packages dry active yeast
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • ¾ of a cup of granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 8 tablespoons butter
  • 2 extra large eggs plus 1 yolk, room temperature, lightly beaten
  • zest of one navel orange
  • 6 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • egg wash: egg white plus 1 tablespoon of water, whisked together
  • butter and flour for pot
  • 9 hard boiled eggs, coloured

Directions

  1. Pour the cup of water into a small bowl. Add the 2 teaspoons of sugar and stir to dissolve. Sprinkle yeast into bowl. Cover with a plate and let stand for 10 minutes.
  2. Pour milk, sugar and salt into a medium saucepan on medium-high heat. Stir to dissolve the sugar and salt. Right before the milk boils, add the butter and stir until melted. Set aside until temperature comes down to lukewarm.
  3. Pour the lukewarm milk and yeast mixtures into a large bowl and stir together. Add 3 cups of flour and stir until everything is well blended. Add eggs and orange zest and stir until incorporated.
  4. Begin adding the remaining 3 cups of flour slowly, sprinkling it bit by bit into the dough and working it in with your hand. Pull the dough up and away from the bowl to incorporate the flour. Continue sprinkling all of the flour until the dough comes together.
  5. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead gently for about 4 minutes. Wash bowl and return it to counter. Transfer the dough back to the bowl. Rub a bit of butter between the palms of your hands and then rub it over the top and sides of the dough as well as along the inside of the bowl. Cover with a clean dish towel and place in a warm location until the dough doubles in size, about 1½ hours.
  6. Prepare your workspace: Butter and flour the inside of a medium-sized, straight-sided soup pot. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Prepare egg wash by whisking egg white together with 1 tablespoon of water and set aside with a pastry brush.
  7. Turn dough out onto floured surface. Knead gently for a few moments, then divide in two.
  8. To form kolach: Take one half of the prepared dough and cut into four even-sized pieces. Form each portion into a round, slightly flattened disc. Place one disc into the centre of the pot and then add the remaining three to form the shape of a three-leaf clover. Brush with egg white mixture. Add three coloured eggs onto the dough, cover with a towel and let sit in a warm spot to rise for one hour.
  9. To form pundje and pletenice: Cut remaining half of dough into six even-sized pieces. Roll each piece into a long rope. For pundje, twist the rope into a bun shape. For pletenice, hold rope in the middle, allowing the ends to hang, and form a twist by wrapping one end around the other. Brush with egg wash and place a coloured egg in the centre of each pundje and in the loop end of each pletenice. Cover with a clean dish towel and let sit in a warm spot to rise for one hour.
  10. Preheat oven to 325°F with the rack in the lower-third position. Place kolach in oven to bake for 40 minutes. Once baked, allow to cool for about 20 minutes before turning it out of the pot and allowing it to cool completely on a wire rack. Place pundje and pletenice in to bake for 30 minutes, or until golden brown. Once baked, allow them to cool on baking sheet.
  11. Serve with butter.

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