Sunday, April 1, 2012

Sweet Bread!!!

You know it's almost Easter when the Sweet Bread recipe comes out.  I'm actually quite early in baking my first batch this year.  I normally don't start baking Sweet Bread until at least Friday before Easter.  This year, I'm on top of things!  Every year for the past 2-3 years, we have sent a bread out to Florida to my Father in Law.  This year I was determined to get him some bread BEFORE Easter, rather than after.

I also decided that while I blogged about Sweet Bread last year, I would actually share the recipe with you this year!!!  Enjoy!!

The Recipe
1 cup milk (I always use 2%)
1 cup butter
2 cups sugar
2 packets yeast (either Active Dry or Instant - it really doesn't matter.  If you have bulk Yeast instead of packets, use 5 teaspoons here)
1 Tbsp sugar
1 cup luke-warm water
6 eggs
1 tsp salt
10 cups flour

The Method
  • Melt the milk, butter and 2 cups of sugar in a sauce pan and let cool completely (I usually cool it for a little while and then stick it in the fridge for about 10-15 minutes)
  • While cooling the milk/butter/sugar mixture, mix together the water, 1 Tbsp sugar and yeast.  Let sit and activate
  • Beat the eggs and add in the activated Yeast and cooled milk/butter/sugar mixture
  • Add in the flour and salt (I usually mix in 9 cups and the once mixed together, use the last cup (plus a little more, if needed) while kneading the dough)
  • Dump the dough mixture onto a floured surface and knead until smooth (about 5-10 minutes)
  • Transfer the kneaded dough into an oiled bowl and cover in oil.  Let rise to double in bulk (about 2-3 hours)
  • Dump the risen dough onto a flour surface and cut into sections (I usually cut into 3 uneven pieces, one for a small loaf pan, one for a large loaf pan, and one for a tube pan).  Braid each section and transfer to greased pans
  • Let the dough rise in the greased pans until they have doubled again (about 1 hour)
  • Bake at 275*F for about 1 hour or until a toothpick comes out clean.  10 minutes before removing from the oven, put an egg-wash on each loaf to brown the tops (I always put the timer on for 45 minutes, test and then go from there....)
Pictures of the whole process are below!  This is the most delicious Sweet Bread recipe you'll ever make!  It's really delicious.  Cutting and eating it while it's hot is so good, and toasting it and putting some butter on top is a great option, too!!!


From left to right:  milk/butter/sugar mixture, water/sugar/yeast mixture, flour/salt

The Yeast makes the dough rise!  The activated yeast (this is shown in a 4-cup measuring cup, fyi)
The kneaded dough, covered in oil in a bowl (this is a giant salad bowl, and after 2 1/2 hours of rising, the dough was expanded to the top lip of the bowl!)
A section of the dough, braided and ready to be put into one of the pans!
Braided, and ready to rise!  These rose for another hour before going into the oven
The final result!

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