Thursday, March 17, 2016

Easter Bread, Root Canals and Great New Books!

Today is a re-do of last year's Easter post on Grandma Eichas's sweet dough recipe because when you read this I will be having a root canal for a tooth that decided this was a good week to flare up.... So while I'm thrilled with the release of two amazing and wonderful books, and delighted with the upcoming Holy Week and Easter, and we always love to make the simplicity of Sweet Bread, decorated with jelly beans or colored, flaked coconut, to share around the table.

Or for breakfast.

Or a snack. :)

So here you go, a delightful homemade bread that makes everyone smile... and think of simpler times.


I blame Mandy.

She called and said, "When are you going to make Easter Bread? Because I need Easter Bread!"

I may have said something snarky like, "Great. Make some and bring it to me!"

To which she laughed.


So when I finished writing Sunday morning, and I'd gone to Palm Sunday Mass the evening before... I made the dough for Easter Bread. I don't put hard boiled eggs in mine because I don't like hard-boiled eggs. (stop gasping!!!) And if I had jelly beans, I'd have decorated with jelly beans, but I can't stop eating jelly beans when they're in the house.

And not those fancy weird-flavored jelly beans. Good old fashioned fruity... or spice, but never mixed.... jelly beans.  But enough of that, because you are going to love this recipe I took from "Taste of Home". 

Here it is, and it's not even hard. You really have no excuse, and the dough is amazing. Not that I know that personally, I heard it from a friend. :)

Also, I left out the cardamom, I didn't use hard-boiled eggs, although that's festive for Easter, and I didn't use any oil. I'm a butter gal. I did add one tablespoon of vanilla to the flour mix before adding the warm milk/butter to the dry ingredients.


1/2 cup sugar
2 packages yeast (I buy in bulk so I used two full tablespoons)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon salt
6 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups whole milk (I use whole milk, I don't know if it matters if you've got 2%)
6 Tablespoons butter, cubed
4 eggs (3 for recipe, one for glazing)

Mix sugar, yeast, vanilla, salt and 2 cups of the flour.

Heat milk and butter to about 120° - 140° in small kettle (I love that word!) on stove.

Slowly add butter/milk to dry mix while blending.


Add  three eggs and remainder of flour and knead (either by hand or with handy-dandy dough hook) until dough is smooth, and elastic.

This is great dough, and might need to be tested at this point. Wait. Did I say that out loud???

Put dough into buttered/greased bowl. Flip the dough so surface is greased. Cover and set in warm spot for rising.

When dough has doubled in size, punch down.

Heat oven to 375° cut dough into three equal pieces.

With hands, roll dough into 24" long ropes.

Set on greased cookie sheet.

Braid, bringing outside ropes to inside, alternating sides. (Just like braiding hair, here's a great pic!)

Form braid into circle, pinch together.

Allow to rise about 15 - 20 minutes. Brush with beaten egg.


Frost, if desired, using plain white frosting.

2 cups powdered sugar
Enough milk to make glaze consistency.

Drizzle 1/2 onto warm bread. Let sit. Drizzle more onto bread. Drizzle as much as you want onto bread. :)

Oh my stars, it did not take those vultures long to dive in! I left half unfrosted because Jon cut sweets out for Lent, but Mom's home-made bread doesn't count, and this recipe made a great bread-and-butter treat, too.

A family history note: I took this recipe idea from Taste of Home, but it's virtually identical to the recipe Grandma Eichas (Ol' Dave's maternal grandmother, a great woman who emigrated at age 11 and crossed the Atlantic with her 13 year-old brother. Dad was in America, Mom refused to get on the boat. She stayed in Germany, and the two kids sailed on their own to Ellis Island. A young couple on board kept an eye on them. Today you get in trouble if your kid walks to the park alone. Sigh...)

Grandma's words were like this in her quaint and lyrical German accent: "Some say I brought recipes from Germany." She gives me a look that says otherwise. "I was eleven, what recipes did I know? No, it was when I was married with a farm and a job and I had to make do with what we had. There were no eggs through much of the Depression. We had chickens, yes, but no money for laying mash. And to make the cheese for the kuchen (using the dough recipe above for the base) I took the milk, clabbered it on the counter (soured it into curds) and then I hung it out in a cheesecloth bag, squeezing the water out of it. When it dried (and we had to wave flies off it in summer) I would mix in some sugar, an egg or two if we had extra, and maybe cream if needed until it was the right texture. And then I'd fill the kuchen with the cheese."

Grandma's recipe, made on her own with hit-and-miss for a young hard-working housewife who raised 11 children to adulthood... From her heart to ours.

Here's the carrot cake Xavier helped me make for Brody and Elijah's birthday:

It's for you, Grammy!!!  Oh, Finn.... :)


  1. Well I only like hardboiled eggs cold, but you have to have hardboiled eggs. It's tradition!! Looks really good.

    Feel better. You are way too busy for a toothache. Ask the dentist for a free toothbrush.

    1. Hahahaha! I get free toothbrushes, but clearly I need to work harder at it! We've never nested the eggs in the bread, although I'm sure it's wonderful and I love the look, but I like the sweet little jelly bean surprises!

      I am home and not nearly as uncomfortable as I was since last Friday night.... This is much better!

  2. Thank you for this repeat recipe, Ruthy! We have an Easter brunch at church every year, and this will be great to take as part of the meal.

    And feel better soon, Ruthy dear. Dental work is no fun. :(

    1. I know, it is not fun, not even a little fun, and I just ate/chewed for the first time in days... I missed food so much!!!

  3. Ugh to root canals. My teeth are feeling sympathy least I hope that's what it is and not the need for me to go for my own root canal. Feel better, Ruthy!

    1. Kav, thank you! It is already much better, having the procedure done. Now just sore, but not crazy pain.

      I love that you guys love me!!! I love you, too!

  4. Looks (and sounds) wonderful. No boiled egg for me, either -- I'll start my own tradition of no boiled egg :-)

    Wishes that you feel better pronto, Ruthy!

    Nancy C

  5. You just made me so hungry!! I need to make this. And soda bread, too.

    I hope you're feeling better asap!

    1. I am getting there! And this bread is lightly sweet and soft and chewy, and having it frosted is great, but it's also delicious unfrosted and dipped in seasoned oil. Or warm from the oven and slathered in butter.

      And this is the reason we're all avoiding bread so much of the time because it is addicting!!!!

  6. I told Ruthy, I'm the resident Root Canal Queen because I've had so many. I love my endodontist though. He makes them totally painless. And the relief from the tooth pain is so amazing.

    The bread looks yummy and soft so perfect to eat when teeth are tender.

    1. Cate, this endodontist was like that. He was amazing and such a nice guy, he really cared about my comfort. I brought books to the staff and signed them, and that made them all smile... Matt and Colt have a new audience!

  7. I'm so sorry about the root canal, Ruthy! No matter how nice the endodontist is, there is nothing nice about a root canal.

    The Easter Bread looks and sounds wonderful. I made Irish Soda Bread today. These once-a-year treats are always fun to make, especially when everyone seems to be wow'ed by the effort.