Recipe: Sugar-Glazed Easter Loaf
MAKES 4 LOAVES
1 tbsp active dry yeast
1/3 cup white sugar
2 cups warm water
3 cups all-purpose flour
½ cup vegetable oil
1 tbsp salt
1 cup white sugar
6 cups all-purpose flour, or as needed
1 tsp vegetable oil
2 tsp white sugar
1 tsp water
FOR THE EGG GLAZE
1 tsp vegetable oil
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp of water
FOR THE SUGAR GLAZE
¼ cup whole milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups icing sugar
Fresh or sugar flowers
Mini sugar Easter eggs
1 Mix the yeast, 1/3 cup sugar and warm water together in a large bowl.
2 Stir to dissolve the sugar, and let the mixture stand until a creamy layer forms on top, about five minutes.
3 Stir in 3 cups of flour to make a loose sponge.
4 In a separate bowl, beat 4 eggs, vegetable oil, salt, and a cup of sugar together, and stir the egg mixture into the yeast-flour mixture until well combined.
5 Continue mixing in flour, a cup at a time, up to nine total cups. Dough should be slightly sticky, but not so wet that it leaves dough stuck to your hands.
6 Turn the dough out onto a floured surface, and knead for five minutes.
7 Form the dough into a compact round shape, and place into an oiled bowl.
8 Turn the dough over several times in the bowl to oil the surface of the dough, cover the bowl with a cloth or clingfilm, and allow to rise in a warm area until doubled in size, about an hour.
9 Punch down the dough and knead for another five minutes, until smooth and elastic.
10 Grease two baking sheets, or line with parchment paper.
11 Make the egg glaze by whisking all the ingredients together in a small bowl. Refrigerate until needed.
12 Cut the dough into four pieces, and cut each piece into three smaller pieces for a three-strand braided loaf.
13 Working on a floured surface, roll the small dough pieces into ropes about the thickness of your thumb and about 30cm long. The ropes should be fatter in the middle and thinner at the ends.
14 Pinch 3 ropes together at the top and braid them. Starting with the strand to the right, move it to the left over the middle strand (that strand becomes the new middle strand.)
15 Take the strand farthest to the left, and move it over the new middle strand. Continue braiding, alternating sides each time, until the loaf is braided, and pinch the ends together and fold them underneath for a neat look.
16 Place the loaves onto the prepared baking sheets, and allow to rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 30 to 45 minutes. Brush a coating of egg glaze onto the tops of the bread, and reserve the remaining glaze.
17 Preheat the oven to 175C.
18 Bake for 20 minutes, the remove from the oven.
19 Brush another coating of egg glaze onto the bread.
20 Return to the oven, and bake until the tops are shiny and golden brown, about five to 10 more minutes.
21 Meanwhile make the sugar glaze by combining the milk and vanilla in a medium saucepan and heat over a low heat until warm.
22 Sift the icing sugar into the milk mixture.
23 Whisk slowly, until well combined.
24 Remove the glaze from the heat and set over a bowl of warm water.
25 Brush the glaze over the loaves and allow to rest for five minutes.
26 Decorate the loaf with flowers and sugar chocolate mini Easter eggs.