Easter Egg Braid
12 uncooked, colored Easter eggs
1/2 C milk
1/2 C sugar
1 tsp salt
1/2 C Crisco
Grated peel of 2 lemons
2 pkgs (2½ tsp) dry active yeast
1/2 C warm water
2 eggs, at room temperature
4½ C flour
1 beaten egg
tiny colored candies
Scald milk; add sugar, salt, shortening and lemon peel. Cool to lukewarm. Sprinkle yeast in warm water and stir to dissolve. Add to milk mixture with 2 slightly beaten eggs and 2½ C flour beat until smooth. Stir in enough remaining flour, a little at a time to form dough that is easy to handle. Turn onto a lightly floured board and kneed until smooth and elastic,5-8 minutes. Place in a lightly greased bowl; turn dough over to grease the top. Cover and let rise in a warm place for about 1 hour. Punch down, cover and let rise again until almost doubled; about 30 minutes. Make two large braided rings or 12 individual rings as follows:
Large Rings: Divide dough into 4 parts. Form each part into a 36”rope. On a greased baking sheet, twist 2 of the ropes into a loosely braided ring. Leaving space for 6 eggs. Repeat with the other 2 ropes. Insert 6 eggs into the spaces of each ring.
Individual Rings: divide dough into 12 parts. Form each part into a ring around a tinted egg.
Cover and let rise until doubled.
Brush evenly with beaten egg, sprinkle with decorating candies.
Bake at 375 degrees; 15 minutes for an individual ring and 20 minutes for large rings, or until lightly browned, serve warm.
Note: Eggs will have the consistency of soft boiled eggs. If you prefer you can hard boil them before you color them.
Note: Easter Egg bread can be baked the day before. Refrigerate. At serving time, reheat in a 350 degree oven for 8 minutes.