I love to bake bread and I’m pretty good at it. Over the years, I’ve learned how to put it together so that I have a beautiful loaf the first time. For some reason, I looked at this complicated recipe and decided I should follow it to the letter. Mistake. The resulting loaf was like a rock. It didn’t rise, and, when toasted, couldn’t even absorb butter spread on it because it was so dense.
I just tossed it in the garbage. I mean literally tossed it and I thought that I might have broken the floor. LOL! I actually moved the garbage can to see if the floor was cracked. It wasn’t and neither was the garbage can but it sure sounded like it could have been.
While the first loaf was baking, I knew it was going to be a disaster so I started making another one. Doing it my way. The new loaf, is big and beautiful and I’m going to guess that the texture is much less like a rock than the first loaf.
Here’s the recipe, changed to reflect how I put it together.
Greek Easter Bread
This sweet, spiced loaf is not only beautiful and delicious, but it is also large enough to feed your whole holiday crowd. Use leftovers to make French toast.
Yield: 20 servings (serving size: 1 slice)
¼ tsp ground allspice
½ tsp ground cinnamon
1 1/2 cups warm water (100° to 110°)
2 tsp dry yeast
5 cups bread flour
1/2 cup sugar
3 tablespoons butter
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon water
1 large egg yolk
Combine the flour, allspice, cinnamon, yeast and sugar in the bowl of a mixer. Heat the water and add to flour along with butter and eggs. Mix for 8 minutes – until dough is smooth and elastic.
Place dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray, turning to coat top. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, 1 hour or until doubled in size. (Gently press 2 fingers into dough. If indentation remains, dough has risen enough.)
Divide dough into 3 equal portions, shaping each portion into a 14-inch-long rope. Place ropes lengthwise on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray (do not stretch); pinch ends together at one end to seal. Braid ropes; pinch loose ends to seal. Lightly coat dough with cooking spray. Cover and let rise 45 minutes or until doubled in size.
Preheat oven to 350°.
Combine 1 tablespoon water and egg yolk, stirring with a whisk. Brush half of yolk mixture over loaf. Let stand for 5 minutes. Repeat procedure with the remaining yolk mixture. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until loaf sounds hollow when tapped. Cool on a wire rack for 20 minutes.
Gorgeous, impressive and yummy!