This sweet and savory Egg Braid is made with a luxurious and versatile dough in the tradition of festive braided breads. Easy to prepare yet elegant to serve!Jump to Recipe
I have always found bread making to be incredibly therapeutic. Sometimes the simple act of kneading some love into a dough and then baking and serving to those you care about is better than any kind of therapy. The Egg Braid I am featuring here has special meaning for me as it is a bread that my mom made weekly when I was growing up. She often baked loaves to sell at a farm stand in New Hampshire and it was the bread most often gifted to people she cared about. She would braid the dough and bake it in 2-pound loaf pans, but here I decided to make more of a free-form braid in the tradition of festive Scandinavian and European breads. I added Swedish pearl sugar and some blanched almonds, but the bread is perfectly delicious all on its own, too!
The Egg Braid dough is a basic yeast dough enriched with milk, butter and eggs to give it a rich flavor and texture that is both soft yet elastic. The first step is to bring the milk just to a simmer and melt the butter, sugar and salt into it.
Meanwhile, dissolve the active dry yeast into warm water and let stand for about 10 minutes until foamy.
Combine the yeast with the warm milk and butter in a stand mixer bowl or other bowl large enough to mix the dough by hand. Mix in the eggs and egg yolk until well-combined.
At this point, you can use a dough hook attachment on a stand mixer to bring the dough together or stir in the flour by hand a cup at a time as my mother used to do.
Transfer the dough to a lightly-floured surface and knead by hand until silky smooth.
The kneaded dough should feel “soft as a baby’s butt”, according to my mom 🙂
Place the dough in an oiled bowl, cover and let rise for 2 hours.
The risen dough should be doubled in size.
Punch the dough down and let rise for another 30 minutes.
After the second rise, divide the dough into 3 equal pieces for a large braid. You may also divide into 6 for 2 smaller braids but I will demonstrate the large version here. Use a kitchen scale for accuracy if you wish. Each third was roughly 15 ounces.
Shape the dough into smooth balls and allow them to rest for 5 minutes.
Roll each ball into a strand about 24-inches long (these will be slightly shorter if doing 2 braids).
Line the strands up and get ready to braid!
Cross strands over one another just like braiding hair. You can start from one end or in the middle.
Pinch the ends together and tuck under the braid, then transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet.
Cover the braid and let rise for 30 minutes while preheating the oven to 375 degrees. Before baking, make a glaze by whisking together the last egg with a bit of water and brush over the entire surface of the dough.
Add any desired garnish. I used a bit of Swedish pearl sugar and blanched almonds.
Bake the Egg Braid for about 25 minutes until golden brown and firm, but not too dark.
Cool the Egg Braid completely before slicing. This bread is delicious with butter and jam or used in sandwiches!
The interior is soft and fluffy, but firm enough to use for many different presentations.
Wrap the bread in plastic to store, but I can guarantee it won’t stay around for long! May this special Egg Braid bring the same joy to your day as it does to mine!
- 1 cup whole milk
- 2 ounces unsalted butter
- 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 package active dry yeast
- ¼ cup very warm water
- 2 eggs, plus 1 yolk
- 5 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 egg, whisked with 1 teaspoon water for glazing
- Swedish pearl sugar, blanched almonds, poppy or sesame seeds, optional for garnish
- In a small saucepan, bring the milk just to a simmer.
- Pour the milk over the butter, sugar and salt in a stand mixer or other large mixing bowl.
- Stir to melt the butter and dissolve the sugar and salt.
- Sprinkle the yeast over the warm water. Stir and let stand for about 10 minutes until foamy.
- Add the yeast mixture to the warm butter and milk mixture in the bowl. Mix in the eggs and yolk.
- If using a stand mixer, add all of the flour at once and use the dough hook attachment to bring the dough together. Alternatively, mix in the flour a cup at a time by hand.
- Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth. You should not need to add any more flour at this point. The dough will become very elastic and silky.
- Place the dough in a large oiled bowl. Cover with plastic or a damp tea towel and let rise for 2 hours in a warm spot.
- Punch the dough down and let rise for 30 more minutes.
- Punch down and divide the dough into 3 equal pieces for 1 large braided loaf or 6 pieces for 2 smaller loaves.
- Form each piece into smooth balls and let rest under a towel for 5 minutes.
- Roll each ball into a rope, 24-inches long for the large strands or 12 to 16-inches for smaller strands.
- Braid the strands together and pinch together the ends and tuck under the loaf or loaves.
- Place the braid(s) on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Cover with plastic and let rise for 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 375°.
- Whisk together the remaining egg with the teaspoon of water. Brush this glaze on the braid(s) and sprinkle with any desired toppings like pearl sugar, almonds or seeds.
- Bake the large loaf for about 25 minutes and slightly less for smaller braids. You want them to be golden brown but not get too dark.
- Cool the Egg Braids completely before slicing and serving. Delicious with butter and jam or used for sandwiches or toast!
Tips for Success:
- This dough is quite versatile and can be baked in a number of different ways. I demonstrated one large braid, but 2 braids may also be baked.
- You can also bake smaller braids in oiled bread pans for a more loaf-like shape.
- The Egg Braid is delicious plain, but the addition of pearl sugar, nuts or seeds adds interesting flavor and texture.