Pretty Dishes

Egg Bread
July 30, 2010, 1:39 pm
Filed under: Recipes

Another memorable childhood “treat” was my mom’s homemade egg bread, taken from her red, plaid, 1981 Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook. She didn’t make it all the time—maybe two loaves every six months or so—so we really looked forward to it and would feast for a few days until there was nothing left. The bread was the perfect companion for her raspberry jam, and that was the first (and usually the only) thing we’d smother on it—hot out of the oven, if possible. When I proposed the jam-making day to my mom, I also mentioned it might be nice to make some egg bread to enjoy with it. So we did.

This bread is nothing glamorous, especially on its own. It’s simple and homey, without adornment. And for that reason it is an excellent medium for showcasing a spread or jam or flavored butter, oil, etc. The bread doesn’t steal the spotlight, it just provides a nicely dense base. It is especially good warm.

Egg Bread

6 3/4 to 7 1/4 all-purpose flour
Two 1/4-ounce envelopes active dry yeast
2 cups milk
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
2 teaspoons salt
3 eggs
2 tablespoons vegetable shortening

In a large bowl, combine 3 cups of the flour and the yeast.

In a medium saucepan over low heat, warm the milk, sugar, butter, and salt, stirring constantly, until the butter is almost melted, about 3 minutes.

Stir the milk mixture into the flour mixture. Add the eggs, and beat with a mixer on low speed for 30 seconds, then increase to high speed and beat for 3 more minutes.

Stir in as much of the remaining flour (1 cup at a time) into the dough using a wooden spoon until incorporated. You should be able to stir in about 3 cups by hand.

Wipe 1 tablespoon of the vegetable shortening on a counter or cutting board and spread with your hands. Sprinkle some flour over and turn out the dough. Knead the remaining 3/4 cup of flour (or more) into the dough until it is moderately stiff but still flexible, about 6 minutes. Shape into a large ball.

Grease a large bowl with the remaining shortening, then coat the dough by turning it inside the bowl so all sides are greased. Cover with a tea towel and let the dough rise until double in size, about 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Remove the towel and punch the dough 3 or 4 times to let out the air. Separate the dough into two smaller balls. Place the dough balls on a floured surface and cover for 1o minutes while you grease a large baking sheet.

Break each dough ball into 3 equal pieces, then roll the pieces into thick strands. Lay 3 strands together and braid from the center out, then smash the ends and curl under. Repeat with the other strands. Brush with melted butter or egg wash as desired.

Place the braided loaves on the prepared baking sheet. Place on the center rack of the oven and bake for 25 to 35 minutes, or until nearly double in size. Turn the sheet around halfway through baking. Check the loaves after 10 minutes—if they are browning too quickly, cover with aluminum foil and turn off the oven for the final 5 minutes of baking.


1 Comment so far
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If you like I can teach you the 6-strand braid!
It will really take you to a new level.

Comment by Robin

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