This egg bread is a Scandinavian braided bread called pulla which features warm, rich flavors of cardamom and butter.  I've made it more festive by tucking a few Easter eggs into it as it bakes.

Eggs are traditionally used as a symbol of spring and the Easter and Passover holidays. Which is convenient since your backyard flock should be ramping up egg production to coincide with the spring holidays! 

This delicious egg bread recipe is a variation on a Scandinavian braided bread which features the warm, rich flavors of cardamom and butter. It's called pulla bread.

The Jewish, French and Greek cultures also have their own variation of pulla bread. Pulla is an sweet, milk- egg-based bread similar to a challah or broiche bread, but the cardamom is what differentiates it.

My mother and grandmother both baked pulla breads that I loved as a child. But I've kicked it up a notch in the spirit of the Easter holiday and tucked a few colorful eggs into the braid before baking it!

A traditional Scandinavian braided pulla bread is normally sprinkled with Swedish pearl sugar (and doesn't have eggs stuck in it!). 

But I decided to sprinkle my braid with some pretty pastel sprinkles after brushing it with an egg/milk wash to make it a perfectly beautiful bread to serve for Easter brunch.

This is the perfect time of year to make this pretty braided bread because our chickens are laying up a storm, so I have plenty of eggs to use in the bread dough, the egg wash and also tucked into the braids on top of the bread!

Braided Pulla Easter Egg Bread

(makes 2 loaves)

2 cups milk (whole or 2% are both fine)
2/3 cup sugar
1 stick unsalted butter, plus more for the bowl
5 teaspoons of yeast
6 cups all purpose flour
4 teaspoons ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 eggs

For the topping
5 to 6 fresh raw eggs, rinsed clean and dried (the more colorful, the better!), then rubbed with vegetable oil
1 egg, whisked
1 tablespoon milk or cream
Sprinkles or Swedish pearl sugar, optional

Instructions | In a small saucepan over low heat, pour in milk and sugar and whisk until the sugar dissolves. Add the stick of butter and stir occasionally until the butter melts. 

Take the saucepan off the heat and let cool to room temperature or just a bit warmer. (110 degrees is just about perfect because yeast will die at temps above 120 degrees)

Stir in the yeast and let sit for 5 to 10 minutes until the yeast starts to foam.

Meanwhile, whisk the flour, cardamom and salt together in a small bowl.  

Once the yeast is foamy, pour it into the bowl of a stand mixer and add the egg. Using the paddle attachment, mix until combined and then start adding the flour mixture. 

Add the flour mixture slowly, 1/2 cup at a time, allowing it to incorporate into the liquid before adding the next 1/2 cup measure. Continue to mix until the dough is smooth and shiny. If the dough is too sticky, you can continue to add a bit more flour, a tablespoon at a time, until the dough forms a ball.

Grease the bowl, then transfer your dough ball to it. Cover it with plastic wrap or a clean dish towel and set in a warm spot to rise until doubled, about 30 minutes.

Once the dough has risen, on a clean surface, divide it into 6 equal portions with a dough cutter and then roll each portion into a rope about 16" long. 

Braid three of the ropes into a braid, then repeat with the remaining three ropes, making two loaves. You can easily cut the recipe in half if you don't want to make two loaves or you can bake both, then freeze one for later.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Tuck the braided ends of each loaf under and place each braid on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Let the braids rise for another 30 minutes.

Note: you can make one long braid, or fashion the braid into a circle or wreath shape.

Whisk the tablespoon of milk into the egg, then brush each loaf with the egg wash. Decorate with the sprinkles, then press several eggs into each loaf.

Bake until golden brown, about 20 to 25 minutes, then cool on racks. Slice the braids so each person gets a slice with an egg in it. 

Wrap any leftovers tightly, refrigerate, and eat within 2 to 3 days.

Here's a circular braid in which I used our naturally blue Ameraucana chicken eggs

And here's another version that I used naturally dyed Easter eggs in and formed into a circular wreath shape as well.

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