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Perruso's Italian Easter Bread

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“Another Perruso Family Classic given to me by my Stepmother. Very pretty on the table at Easter or given as a gift.”
READY IN:
2hrs
YIELD:
1 round loaf
UNITS:
US

Ingredients Nutrition

Directions

  1. Soften yeast in 1/2 cup warm water for around 5-8 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile blend 1&1/2 cups of flour with remaining warm water in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Mix well.
  4. Add yeast mixture.
  5. Mix until fairly smooth.
  6. Cover bowl with a dish towel and let sit in a warm area until dough mixture has risen, about 1 hour.
  7. After about 30 minutes, in a medium sized bowl, mix shortening with lemon juice and grated lemon peel.
  8. Mix together sugar and salt, then add half to shortening, creaming until fluffy.
  9. Add remaining sugar-salt mixture stirring well.
  10. Beat two eggs and one egg white until piled softly.
  11. Add beaten eggs, in thirds, to shortening/sugar mixture and mix well.
  12. Add 2&1/2 cups of flour to yeast mixture and mix until smooth.
  13. Continue to add flour, a little at a time, mixing until dough holds together in a kneadable ball.
  14. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and continue to work in flour, kneading 8-10 minutes.
  15. The amount of flour needed will vary, depending on humidity.
  16. Grease a large bowl with vegetable oil.
  17. Put in dough, turning to coat.
  18. Cover with a dish towel and allow to rise in a warm place until doubled, around 1&1/2 hours.
  19. Punch down risen dough and divide into two balls.
  20. Let stand covered for 10 minutes.
  21. Roll each ball into a long roll about 30 inches.
  22. Then "braid or twist" rolls together, making a wreath and pinch ends together.
  23. Place on a cookie sheet or baking pan.
  24. Gently, and at even intervals, bury the colored eggs by separating strands.
  25. Cover with a dish towel and let stand for 30 minutes.
  26. Bake in a preheated 350°F oven for 10 minutes.
  27. Brush with an egg beaten with milk.
  28. Continue baking for 40 to 45 minutes.
  29. Bread should be golden brown when done, and the eggs will be baked, but just like hard boiled eggs.
  30. Serve with butter.

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