… ahhh the long weekend – like sinking into a hot bath, I really want to take this one nice and slow. Make sure the temperature is perfectly just on the too-hot side and luxuriate in its extravagance knowing full well I should have taken a shower… the fact that I woke up at 6:45am this morning, bright eyed and bushy tailed and shuffled downstairs to make bread should be an indicator to you all that that bath is going tepid pretty damn quick. I guess it’s the age-old problem of desperately wanting to be able to flick a switch and fall into ‘relax’ mode when the truth is my body is still working on overload. Still, there are three more days and I should stop bitching and start eating…
it seems there are many traditions across the world for celebrating Easter with some form of sweet bread. From the humble Hot Cross Bun with its dough cross on top to the twisted and braided Italian Easter Bread complete with coloured eggs nestled in its rings, it seems that symbolism finds its way into food on the most holiest of festivals… this is my take on a sweet eggy fruit-bread for the festivities, it has the lightness of a brioche or panettone but has a more cakey quality from the eggs and sugar. It’s also perfectly pretty for the Easter table.
enough for one large plaited ring and 2 smaller rings – using the low-knead method
800g strong white bread flour
200g white seeded flour
2 teaspoons quick action yeast
2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons sugar
2 eggs – beaten
a handful of sultanas
a dash of mixed spice
for the glaze
golden syrup or honey
a teaspoon or two of coloured sprinkles
throw all the bread ingredients into a very large bowl, bring together with a rubber spatula, cover with a tea towel and set aside for ten minutes whilst you make a cup of tea
oil your work surface, remove the sticky dough from the bowl, oil the bowl and wipe it with your hand, then with your oily hand, knead the dough 8 times, place the dough back in the bowl, cover with a tea towel and set aside for 10 minutes
repeat twice more then cover the bowl with cling film and set aside for an hour or until the dough has doubled in size
preheat the oven to 200C and prep two baking trays with parchment paper
oil your work surface and knead the dough, punching it had and folding it over a few time, then divide in two, set one piece aside
divide one piece of dough into two and roll into sausage shapes, twist the two lengths of dough together and create a ring – set aside on a baking tray.
with the second piece of dough, divide into 4 and make two smaller rings and place on another baking tray
bake on 200C for 10 mins then reduce the heat to 180 for a further 20 mins then remove from the oven and lay on a wire rack to cool
gently warm a little golden syrup or honey, then brush onto the bread whilst the loaves are still warm… shower with multi-coloured sprinkles
eat and of course, enjoy and a happy Easter to one and all!