Recipe summary

Hands-on time:
25 mins. to 35 mins.
Baking time:
35 mins. to 35 mins.
Total time:
3 hrs to 4 hrs 50 mins.
Yield:
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.
Volume Ounces Grams

Starter

Dough

  • 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

Glaze

  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar, sifted
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons orange juice or milk
  • sprinkles or nonpareils, for decorating

Directions

  1. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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 375F.
  6. 6) Bake the wreath for 15 minutes, then reduce the oven heat to 350F 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 190F.
  7. 7) Remove the wreath from the oven, and transfer it to a rack to cool.
  8. 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. 9) Drizzle the glaze onto the cooled braid, then decorate with sprinkles, if desired.
  10. Yield: one 10" round loaf.