Easter is almost here! On Easter morning there is nothing like having a homemade sweet bread with eggs. This bread is soft and sweet. The addition of orange zest adds a citrus flavor. There is a surprise on top, I won’t tell you now, you will see what it is at the end of the recipe. Let’s get making some sweet dough….
Sweet dough Sponge
- 1 Cup of scalded milk
- 3 (1/4 0z) packages of dry yeast
- 1 (1/4 oz) package of rapid rise yeast
- 1 1/2 heavy Cup Flour
Let the milk cool down, until it is warm. Check the temperature of the milk by dabbing a dot of milk to your wrist, just like testing for a baby bottle. When it is not too hot feeling on your skin, the milk is the proper temp.
Mix all the ingredients together thoroughly. Cover and left rise until double, in a warm place. This will take 1 hour. My kitchen is always cold, so I put my oven on 350 degrees, just to warm up the stovetop. I shut off the oven and place the bowl on the stovetop. I think the dough gets a better rise that way. This process of using a portion of the flour, milk and yeast is called making a sponge. Afer our sponge has doubled in size let’s add the rest of this recipe.
Cream together, using the paddle attachment:
- 1/2 pound (8 0z) room temperature Butter
- 1/2 heavy Cup Sugar
- 1 tsp Salt
- Zest of 1 Orange
Mix until well incorporated and fluffy.
- 3 Eggs
Then add in the eggs, scrape down the bowl, and pinch off pieces of the sponge, a little at a time, and mix it into the butter mixture. This will take about 3 minutes.
- 1 1/2 heavy Cup Flour
On low speed, add in the remaining flour.
This dough will be very soft, generously flour your work table. Knead the dough for 5 minutes. Add extra flour to the table as needed so the dough doesn’t stick.
To knead, push down on dough, then turn and fold over. Turn again, push, fold over, repeat. Since this dough is so soft, it is a pleasure to knead.
Let the dough rest, covered for 10 minutes. While the dough is resting, zest another orange and mix with 1/2 Cup Sugar. This is for the topping.
Divide the dough into 2 even pieces. Flour your work table lightly, it will make it easier to roll into a ball. Less flour and the dough will slightly stick to the table, so when we are rolling it into a ball with our hand the dough will have something to grip onto. If you put too much flour, the ball of dough will slide around making it harder to achieve a nice round.
Use the palm of your hand for shaping, with your fingertips turned under the dough to get a nice round. Wow, my hands look so manly! Yikes, sorry for the close-up!
Place the dough round onto a greased cookie sheet and flatten into a 7″ diameter circle. You can do this with your hands or with a rolling pin. Here is the surprise, that I was talking about: Wash and dry 3 raw eggs, in their shells and push into the dough.
Do the same with the other half of the dough. Sprinkle them with the orange sugar. Bake at 350 degree oven for 20 to 25 minutes. Check them after 20 minutes, if they are golden and spring back to the touch, they are done.
Let them cool down until warm, then replace the white eggs with………your pretty dyed Easter eggs!
What an Easter breakfast! Slice it between the eggs, so everyone gets an egg and portion of sweet bread. Use those plain white eggs for egg salad. The texture of the dough is soft when warm, then you get a slight citrus flavor from the orange zest. The orange sugar topping gives it that crunch and another zing of orange.
I remember having this breakfast when I was a child. I hope you make this an Easter tradition for your family. Happy Easter!