My mom made the best Easter bread, but for some reason, we just can’t reproduce it. We think something is missing in the handwritten recipe. It comes out gummy and/or tough whenever my sister and I try to make it. My sister-in-law came the closest, by incorporating some notes from a recipe she found in an old Hungarian cookbook, but now we can’t find that version! So I went back to the basics and tried again, using bits and pieces from other recipes but keeping the lemon-y flavor of Mom’s.
This is a dense bread, particularly good for leftover ham sandwiches the day after Easter. It’s also wonderful toasted with a little jam (or my current favorite Tangerine Strawberry Marmalade). Mom put a half-cup of raisins in hers, but my son doesn’t care for raisins so I left them out. If you like them, by all means, throw them in!
- 1 package dry yeast
- 2 tsp sugar
- 3/4 cup hot water (about 100 degrees)
- 4 T butter, room temperature
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1 egg, room temperature
- 5 – 5 1/2 cups of flour
- 2 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 tsp lemon extract
- Optional: 1/2 cup raisins, soaked in water for a few minutes and then drained.
Combine yeast, sugar, and hot water in small bowl. Let sit for about five minutes or until frothy.
In large mixing bowl, combine yeast mixture with all other ingredients. Using dough hook, combine until the dough starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl. If it seems too dry, add a splash more of milk; if it seems too wet, sprinkle in a little more flour.
Turn dough onto a lightly floured board and knead by hand an extra 2 -3 minutes to form the dough into a soft ball. Place in large greased bowl; cover and let rise until double (60-90 minutes).
When doubled, punch dough down and place in greased loaf pan. Cover and let rise again for about 45 minutes.
Bake at 350 degrees for 55 minutes or until lightly brown. Remove from oven; let rest in pan for an additional five minutes. Turn out onto rack and let cool completely before slicing. Makes one loaf.