- Hands-on time:
- 25 mins. to 35 mins.
- Baking time:
- 35 mins. to 35 mins.
- Total time:
- 3 hrs to 4 hrs 50 mins.
- one 10" round loaf
This bread is a not-too-sweet, orange-scented rendition of Italian Easter bread. We've chosen to braid it, form it into a ring, and top it with colorful sprinkles; but feel free to embellish and decorate it however you'd like.
- 2 1/4 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
- 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
- 2 teaspoons SAF Gold instant yeast, for best rise; or regular instant yeast
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2 large eggs
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1/4 teaspoon Fiori di Sicilia or 2 teaspoons vanilla extract + 1/4 teaspoon orange oil
- 1/4 teaspoon ground anise seed, optional
- grated peel of 1 large orange
- 1 cup confectioners' sugar, sifted
- 2 to 3 tablespoons orange juice or milk
- sprinkles or nonpareils, for decorating
- 1) To make the bread: Mix together the starter ingredients, cover the bowl, and let rest at room temperature overnight, or for up to 15 hours.
- 2) Next day, combine the bubbly starter with all the remaining dough ingredients. Mix and knead, using a mixer or bread machine, until the dough is elastic and satiny. We don't recommend preparing this dough by hand, as it's quite sticky and challenging to bring together.
- 3) Grease a large bowl and let the dough rise for 1 to 2 hours, until it's noticeably puffy. If you've used SAF Gold instant yeast, the rising time will be shorter.
- 4) Turn the dough out onto a lightly greased surface, divide it into three pieces, and shape each piece into an 18"-long rope. Braid the ropes together, and connect the two ends to form a wreath.
- 5) Cover the wreath and allow it to rise until puffy, about 1 to 2 hours (again, SAF Gold will work faster). Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 375°F.
- 6) Bake the wreath for 15 minutes, then reduce the oven heat to 350°F and bake for an additional 20 minutes, tenting it for the final 10 minutes of baking. The finished loaf will be golden brown, and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center will register at least 190°F.
- 7) Remove the wreath from the oven, and transfer it to a rack to cool.
- 8) To make the glaze: Stir together the sugar and 2 tablespoons of the milk or orange juice. Add more liquid 1/4 teaspoon at a time, until the glaze is thin and pourable.
- 9) Drizzle the glaze onto the cooled braid, then decorate with sprinkles, if desired.
- Yield: one 10" round loaf.