Wow! What can we say…you will feel so proud of yourself when you make this spectacular Italian style centrepiece. And we can assure you that this beautiful Easter bread ring tastes as good as it looks!
Easter Bread Ring
Serves 8 | Preparation time 30 mins | Baking time 30 mins plus 90 mins proving
For the bread:
- 500g strong white bread flour
- 50g caster sugar
- 2½ tsp dried fast action yeast
- 1 tsp salt
- 200ml milk
- 2 star anise
- Zest of 1 orange
- 60g butter, softened
- 2 eggs, large
- 4 coloured eggs
For the glaze:
- 2 tbsp icing sugar
- 1 tbsp hot water
- Mini dragees for decoration (optional)
- First make the coloured eggs. To dye them, dilute gel paste food colouring in water. Place the eggs in a bowl and pour over the coloured water. Allow to soak for 24 hours before draining away the water.
- To make the dough, place the milk and star anise in a pan. Heat gently until just below boiling, turn off the heat and allow to cool and the star anise to infuse. Once cooled, strain and set to one side.
- In a large bowl, place the flour, sugar, yeast, salt and orange zest and mix briefly to combine.
- Make a well in the centre and add the butter, eggs and milk. Work the mixture into a dough.
- Knead by hand for 10 mins until the dough is even. Place in a lightly greased bowl and cover with clingfilm. Place in a draught free spot to rise for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
- Once the dough has risen, tip it out onto the worksurface and knead lightly to knock it back. Divide the dough into three equal pieces and roll each piece out into a very long sausage approx. 80cm long.
- Pinch together the three lengths at one end and plait together. Place the plaited dough onto a well greased or lined baking tray, shaping into a circle as you do so. Pinch together the two ends to form a complete circle.
- Gently ease apart dough in equal spaced positions and insert a coloured egg. Cover with a clean tea towel and allow to rise for 30 mins or until doubled in size again. Whilst proving, preheat oven to 200˚C/180˚C fan/gas mark 6.
- Bake in the oven for 25 mins until golden. Prepare the glaze by mixing together the icing sugar and water to make a very thin consistency. As soon as the bread comes out of the oven, brush with the glaze and sprinkle with mini dragees if using. Allow to cool fully and serve.
* There is no need to hard boil the eggs before colouring or baking the Easter Bread. Ensure that you handle them gently when arranging the ring on the baking tray as they may crack. The eggs can be eaten within 20 mins of baking but should be discarded if kept any longer.