Cypress Easter Bread

This recipe is adapted from Paul Hollywood’s book 100 Great Breads. Personally, I think his directions lack something. However I’m experienced enough of a breadmaker I worked it out and it was divine! One way it’s “adapted” is that I accidentally doubled the butter. No really, it was an accident. A happy one.

4 cups bread flour
1 stick butter, softened
1/2 cup superfine sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon fennel, crushed
3/4 cup currants
zest of one orange
1 tablespoon salt
2 1/2 teaspoons yeast
1 cup warm water, divided
1/3 cup milk
3 eggs, hardboiled and dyed red (this product will give a deep red)
1 egg, well-beaten, for eggwash

Mix flour, butter, sugar, cinnamon, fennel, currants, orange zest, and salt in a bowl. Whisk the yeast in half the warm water. Stir the yeast mixture and milk into the flour mixture. Add remaining warm water until you have a nice soft dough consistency.

Take dough out and knead on a lightly floured surface for about five minutes. Put back in the bowl to rest for one hour.

Divide dough into three strips and braid together. Place on a floured baking sheet and let rise until roughly doubled in bulk, about one hour. Preheat oven to 400. Brush dough with egg wash and place colored eggs along the top of the bread. Bake for 25 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool.

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