Orange Almond Italian Easter Bread- A New Spin on an Old Tradition
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Recipe type: Bread
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12
 
Italian Easter Bread.
Ingredients
  • For the Bread Dough:
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup 2% milk
  • ¼ cup + 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 large orange zest (I cut the peel off with a serrated knife and finely chop the peel. Reserve ¼ of zest/peel for icing)
  • 2¼ teaspoons active dry yeast
  • ½ cup butter, melted
  • 4 eggs
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 3 teaspoons almond extract
  • 2 teaspoons orange extract
  • For the Glaze:
  • 1½ cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons soft (light) cream cheese
  • 4 tablespoons whipping cream (or milk)
  • ¼ orange zest reserved from above
  • ½ teaspoon orange extract
  • ½ teaspoon almond extract
  • Sprinkles
  • Almond slices (I used honey baked almond slices)
Instructions
  1. Place the flour in a stand mixer bowl or large mixing bowl; set aside.
  2. Heat the milk, almond and orange extracts and juice of the orange in the microwave in a glass measuring cup until 110 degrees. (Warm to touch)
  3. Place all the sugar in a small bowl and add the orange zest. Mix well until completely incorporated and the sugar is moistened.
  4. Pour the milk mixture into the sugar zest mixture, stir to dissolve the sugar. Add the yeast, stir and let sit for 10 minutes.
  5. Add the milk mixture to the flour and use the hook attachment or hand mix it into dough, dough will be stiff.
  6. Add the melted butter and continue to mix.
  7. In a small bowl beat together the eggs and salt. Add to the dough and continue mixing.
  8. You may need to add more flour to the dough, depending on how much juice you get out of your orange.
  9. Mix with hook for 5 minutes or when you have a sticky ball of dough formed, turn it out onto a floured surface and knead for about 5 minutes or until the dough is soft and elastic. It should be slightly tacky.
  10. Place the dough in a buttered bowl, coat top with melted butter, and cover the bowl loosely with plastic wrap or a towel. Place in a warm draft-free area and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour.
  11. Turn the dough out onto a clean surface and divide in three sections. Roll each of the six pieces into long ropes the length of the bans. Loosely braid three ropes together.
  12. Take the braid and gently fold into a circle tucking the loose ends in.
  13. Carefully place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper
  14. Brush tops of each with melted butter, loosely cover with plastic wrap or towel, and let rise until doubled in size, about 45 minutes to 1 hour.
  15. After the bread has risen, preheat the oven 350 degrees. Bake until golden brown on top, 30 to 40 minutes.
  16. Remove from the oven and transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.
  17. Once the bread are cooled to room temperature, glaze them.
  18. Whisk together with a hand mixer the powdered sugar and the whipping cream, cream cheese, orange zest, and extract. Add more powdered sugar if necessary to reach the desired consistency. Use a pastry brush or spoon the glaze onto the top and sides of the bread, and decorate with sprinkles and almonds.
  19. Place in plastic wrap and store in fridge.
Recipe by The Kitchen Prescription at http://thekitchenprescription.com/2013/03/31/orange-almond-italian-easter-bread-a-new-spin-on-an-old-tradition/