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This decorative, tasty bread looks like a bird's nest when finished. Use raw eggs that you've colored to put in the center. They cook right along with the bread! This is a favorite in my family, and we have it for breakfast every Easter Sunday with the eggs we've colored. This Easter bread is especially tasty because it has a faint hint of lemon in it. My favorite way to eat it is warmed up, with butter spread on top.

Recipe Summary

prep:
35 mins
cook:
40 mins
additional:
3 hrs
total:
4 hrs 15 mins
Servings:
24
Yield:
2 braided rings
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Ingredients

24
Original recipe yields 24 servings
The ingredient list now reflects the servings specified
Ingredient Checklist

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • Sprinkle yeast onto warm water in a mixing bowl; let stand 5 minutes. Stir in 2 tablespoons sugar and 1 1/2 cups flour until smooth, then cover and set aside in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.

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  • Cream together the shortening, 1 cup of sugar, and salt in a bowl. Add the 2 eggs and egg white, one at a time, mixing until smooth between each addition. Stir in the yeast mixture along with the lemon zest, lemon juice, and remaining 3 1/4 cups flour until a smooth dough is formed. When the dough has pulled together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes.

  • Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat with oil. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 1 hour.

  • Deflate the dough and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide the dough into four equal size rounds; cover and let rest for 2 minutes. Roll each round into a long rope about 18 inches long.

  • Grease two large baking sheets. Using the two long pieces of dough, form a loosely braided ring on one of the baking sheets, leaving spaces for three colored eggs. Seal the ends of the ring together and use your fingers to slide the eggs between the braids of dough. Repeat to form second loaf. Cover, and let rise until doubled in bulk , or until your finger leaves a dent when the bread is gently pressed, about 30 minutes.

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Beat egg yolk together with 1 tablespoon heavy cream; set aside.

  • Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes, then brush on egg yolk mixture and decorate with candy sprinkles. Continue to bake until the loaves are dark brown and sound hollow when tapped on the bottom, 30 to 40 minutes.

Nutrition Facts

223 calories; protein 5.6g; carbohydrates 29.7g; fat 9.2g; cholesterol 79.1mg; sodium 175.6mg. Full Nutrition
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Reviews (8)

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Most helpful positive review

Rating: 5 stars
04/05/2010
I had no problems with making this bread. It was very easy to cut in half to only make one nest. Turned out wonderful and will definately become a family tradition from now on! Thanks for the recipe! Read More
(16)

Most helpful critical review

Rating: 3 stars
04/21/2014
Great texture similar to pretzel but didn't care for lemon taste and I used less zest. Maybe use zest or lemon juice or skip altogether. I bake for almost 35 min total and it started to burn on bottom. Read More
(1)
8 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 4
  • 4 star values: 2
  • 3 star values: 1
  • 2 star values: 1
  • 1 star values: 0
Rating: 5 stars
04/05/2010
I had no problems with making this bread. It was very easy to cut in half to only make one nest. Turned out wonderful and will definately become a family tradition from now on! Thanks for the recipe! Read More
(16)
Rating: 4 stars
03/21/2008
I followed the recipe as written. I did find that the dough was VERY soft and had to add extra flour to be able to knead it. I kneaded the dough on parchment paper so I would not have to continue to add a lot of extra flour. To color the uncooked eggs I covered them with food coloring and let them sit for a few minutes to let the color set in. Then I rinsed the extra color off. (Make sure you wear gloves to protect your hands from the color.) This had a nice sweet lemon taste and looks so pretty. Read More
(14)
Rating: 5 stars
06/22/2008
I've been making this Easter bread for at least 20 years my kids are grown but still ask for it! I make the braids the night before & refrigerate then warm to room temp before baking. It is so good. Just a hint of lemon makes it a little different from traditional sweet rolls. Read More
(14)
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Rating: 4 stars
03/20/2013
Has a lot of steps but still easy to make and turns out wonderful. Made this for youngsters at church for an activity we are having and I know they will love it. I substituted orange juice and orange peel and it is very tasty. I also kept leftovers wrapped in foil and refrigerated after baking. This morning I sliced a piece off and toasted and it was just as yummy as last night. Never tried baking eggs before but they turned out perfect also. Definitely going to try this again and in fact have another two braids rising as I am writing this. Read More
(2)
Rating: 3 stars
04/20/2014
Great texture similar to pretzel but didn't care for lemon taste and I used less zest. Maybe use zest or lemon juice or skip altogether. I bake for almost 35 min total and it started to burn on bottom. Read More
(1)
Rating: 5 stars
05/01/2014
Delicious! It is almost like a type of desert. I has a lemony taste that is out of this world. In the end all my doubts about the eggs still being raw were thrown out! The eggs were perfectly cooked! My teenage son my chef in training learned a whole lot about making bread - it was a first at bread making for both of us - that he can carry with him in his career as a chef. Really great learning experience for us. I would recommend this for any family that likes to cook together. It's defiantly a bonding experience! Read More
(1)
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Rating: 2 stars
04/06/2015
I probably wouldn't have attempted this had I known the rise time would differ so substantially from those stated in the recipe. I also recommend keeping a very close eye on timing during baking. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
04/23/2014
Delicious and very pretty. I used orange peel/orange juice instead of the lemon. For some reason my bread needed extra rising time but it turned out great (eventually). Read More