Sweet Braided Easter Bread with Sesame Seeds

Sweet Braided Easter Bread with Sesame Seeds

Total Time: 02h 30m
Hands-on Time: 00h 50m
Makes: 6 servings

This traditional Sweet Braided Italian Easter Bread recipe uses a colorful dyed egg in the center and generous sprinkles of sesame seeds for a show-stopping holiday treat! And it features a fluffy, slightly sweet dough that's surprisingly easy to make. 

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  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 package (2¼ teaspoons) rapid-rise instant yeast
  • 1/2 cup cane sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon orange or lemon zest (optional)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon Simply Organic® Pure Madagascar Vanilla Extract
  • 3½ to 4 cups all-purpose flour, divided
  • 6 eggs, dyed uncooked (they will cook in the oven to a soft-medium boil)
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon water
  • 2 tablespoons Simply Organic® Sesame Seeds


  1. In a small saucepan, add milk and butter. Heat until butter is melted. Let cool to 115-125 degrees. (If it’s much warmer, it will kill the yeast.)
  2. To the bowl of a stand mixer, add yeast, sugar, salt, citrus zest (if using), eggs, vanilla extract, warmed milk-butter mixture and 2 cups flour. Mix, using dough hook, until just incorporated. Slowly add additional 1½ to 2 cups flour, beating on medium speed for about 5 minutes, until dough is smooth and elastic. Dough should not be very sticky, but should be tacky and pull away from sides of bowl. [Alternatively, you can knead dough by hand on a lightly floured surface for 10 minutes.]
  3. Transfer dough to an oiled bowl. Cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for 1 hour, until doubled.
  4. Meanwhile, follow dye package instructions to dye 6 eggs (without cooking them). Set aside and let dry completely.
  5. Remove dough from bowl and gently punch down. Divide into 12 equal-sized pieces.
  6. On a lightly floured surface, roll each piece of dough into a rope measuring about 14 inches long. Take two ropes of dough and pinch together at one end. Twist into a tight braid, then form into a circle and pinch ends together to seal.
  7. Repeat with remaining dough for 6 total braids. Place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 1 hour more, or until doubled in size.
  8. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, whisk together egg yolk and water.
  9. Brush top of each bread with egg wash, then sprinkle with sesame seeds.
  10. Place one dyed egg in center of each bread “nest”, gently pushing it into dough.
  11. Bake for 20 minutes, until golden brown and center of bread reaches 190 degrees. Remove from oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool before serving.