Sweet Easter Bread

4.77 from 69 votes

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure policy.

From my Easter table to yours, this beautiful Sweet Easter Bread will be the star of the meal. Baking Sweet Easter Bread is so nostalgic for me as it symbolizes tradition, family and my childhood in Bulgaria and Greece with family gathered all around the🥚Easter table. Bread was always a centerpiece to the delicious traditional meals I grew up enjoying. Many cultures have their own way of making sweet Easter bread, and this is mine. You don’t need the excuse of a holiday to make this bread—I can eat sweet bread every week, and it’s one of my favorite things to bake.

Sweet Easter Bread

Why You’ll Love Sweet Easter Bread

This Sweet Bread recipe is such a delicious traditional recipe to incorporate into your Easter meal, or any meal, really! Don’t be intimidated by making bread; I promise this one is a cinch. The ingredients list is super simple and the dough comes together in the mixer, so it requires minimal hands-on work. PLUS, this recipe makes two loaves! When it comes out of the oven, you’ll have a fluffy and soft loaf that pulls apart to reveal buttery, subltly sweet layers that simple melt in your mouth.

How to Prepare Sweet Easter Bread

🥣Start by activating the yeast with sugar and warm milk until it is foamy. This should take about 5 to 10 minutes.

🧈 Next, add in the oil, eggs, sugar, lemon zest, vanilla, warm milk, and melted butter.

🪝 Now, add the dough hook attachment on the stand mixer and gradually add in all the flour. Knead for 6 to 8 minutes and then let dough rise for 2 hours until it triples in size.

⏲ Next, line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Divide the dough and braid two loaves. Let rise for another 1 hour.

🥚Then, brush loaves with egg wash and sprinkle with sesame seeds.

🔥 Now, preheat oven to 350F and then bake for 30 to 40 minutes until the loaves are golden brown.

✨Cool completely and then have fun decorating!

Nonna’s Tip

Be sure to keep an eye on the loaves as they bake as baking times will vary depending on your oven and how tightly your loaves are braided. If you’re unsure, insert an instant-read thermometer into the center of the loaf. The bread is ready when the interior reaches 190F.

Sweet Easter Bread

Variations and Substitutions for Sweet Easter Bread

  1. You can absolutely use instant yeast and you do not need to proof it. Since instant yeast does not need to be activated, you can simply add all the ingredients to the mixer and go!
  2. If you want to use fresh yeast instead, I would recommend using 🥄1 tablespoon of fresh yeast. 
  3. I have not tried using dairy-free milk 🥛in this recipe, but as long as the liquid is warm, it should still activate the yeast. Warm water should also work, however, the loaf may not turn out as tender and rich. Let me know if you try it out!
  4. Gluten-free flour should work but I haven’t tried it in this recipe. If you’re experimenting with it, be sure to use 1-1 gluten-free baking flour and let me know the results.

Similar Easter Recipes

If you like the sweet Easter Bread, please take a look at my cute Bunny Bread.

Best Served With

  • ☕ Coffee or tea
  • Fresh fruit 🍇
  • Sliced up and toasted with butter

Common Questions

What should i do if my yeast does not activate?

If the yeast does not foam up or activate don’t continue on to the next step because your dough won’t rise. Check to make sure your yeast has not expired and that your warmed milk is not too hot before trying again.

What temperature should the warm butter and milk be?

To properly activate the yeast, make sure the milk and butter are warm-not too hot and not too cold. Everything should be lukewarm.

How do i make sure the loaves rise properly?

I like putting my dough bowl (covered with a clean kitchen towel) in the oven with the door closed and the oven off. This creates a nice and cozy, draft-free environment for your loaves to rise to perfection.

What if i don’t have a stand mixer?

No stand mixer, no problem. That just means you can make this bread recipe the traditional way. Simply mix everything in the bowl until it starts to come together, then pour it out onto a clean, floured surface and knead, knead, knead until the dough is soft, tacky and smooth.

can i make 1 loaf instead of 2?

As is, this recipe makes 2 loaves of sweet bread using 3 eggs. If you want to halve the recipe, you’ll probably need to use 2 eggs and add in a touch more extra flour (depending on the size of the eggs). Continue to gradually add more flour as you knead, until you get a soft, tacky and smooth dough. It shouldn’t be too sticky or too dry.

CaN i prepare the loaves in advance?

The dough can definitely be made the night before you are planning on baking. Simply cover it well and place it in the refrigerator for the first rise. The next day, take it out of the fridge and let come to room temperature. Then, you can form the braids, and continue on with the recipe as directed.

CAn the bread be frozen after it’s baked?

Absolutely! First, cool the loaves to room temperature, then wrap them really well in plastic wrap before storing into a Ziplock freezer bag. 

How should i decorate the sweet bread?

Traditionally, we always add a red dyed hardboiled egg in our bread, but there are so many fun decorations to try! Before baking, you can sprinkle the loaves with sesame seeds, granulated sugar or colourful sprinkles. After baking, nestle in mini chocolate eggs, or dust the whole loaf with powdered sugar.

How do i know if the bread is fully baked?

Be sure to keep an eye on the loaves as they bake as baking times will vary depending on your oven and how tightly your loaves are braided. If you’re unsure, insert an instant-read thermometer into the center of the loaf. The bread is ready when the interior reaches 190F.

Can this be formed into any other shapes/designs?

Certainly! You could braid 4 mini loaves, form the dough into a braided ring shape, or skip the braiding altogether and bake in two loaf pans. Since these variations will have different baking times, be sure to keep an eye on them while they bake.

What should i do if the top of the loaf is getting too dark?

If your loaf is getting dark before it has finished baking, you can place a sheet of aluminum foil on top for the remainder of the baking time.

Sweet Easter Bread

Sweet Easter Bread

Sweet Easter Bread is so nostalgic for me: it symbolizes tradition, family, love, and my childhood. This recipe is very easy, comes together with minimal hands-on work, and yields TWO fluffy, tender, sweet bread loaves.
4.77 from 69 votes
Course: Bread
Cuisine: Bulgarian, Greek
Servings: 20 slices
Author: The Modern Nonna
Prep Time: 3 hours
Cook Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients 

Activating The Yeast

  • 1 package active dry yeast , 2 teaspoons (8 g)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar , (13 g)
  • ½ cup milk , warm (125 ml)

The Dough

  • ½ cup avocado oil , or any neutral oil (125 ml)
  • 3 eggs, room temperature
  • ¾ cup sugar , (160 grams)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract , or vanilla bean paste
  • 1 cup milk , warm (250 ml)
  • ½ cup butter , unsalted, melted (1 stick or 125 ml)
  • 6 cups all-purpose flour , add more if needed (940 grams)
  • 1 tablespoon butter , melted (or oil for greasing the dough-ball)

Before Baking

  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 2 tablespoon sesame seeds, or sugar, sprinkles, or any topping you like

Instructions 

The Yeast

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer add the active dry yeast, sugar, and warm milk. Using a whisk, give it a quick stir, and let it rest for 5 to 10 minutes or until it foams up. If it does not activate or foam up, do not proceed with the remaining recipe. You need to start this step all over. See the recipe notes below for using instant yeast.

The Dough

  • Once the yeast activates, add the oil, eggs, sugar, lemon zest, vanilla, warm milk, and melted butter. I melted the butter and milk together on the stove. Don’t add it in scorching hot; the butter and milk should be warm, not hot.
  • Using a whisk, stir the ingredients until the egg yolks and whites are broken up. Add the dough hook attachment on the stand mixer and, with the mixer on medium-low speed, mix while gradually adding the flour, until all the flour is included, and the dough pulls away from the sides of the mixing bowl. The dough will take 6 to 8 minutes to come together and knead.
  • Remove the dough from the stand mixer, shape it into ball, and lightly grease it with the melted butter or oil. Place the dough back in the bowl of the stand mixer and loosely cover with a lint-free kitchen towel or plastic wrap.
  • Leave the dough in a warm spot for 2 hours, or until the dough has tripled in size. I like to leave mine in the oven with the door closed. Do not turn the oven on; just leave it in there to rise in a draft-free environment. While the dough is rising, line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • Once risen, punch the dough down and place it on a clean counter. Cut the dough in half and cut each half into 3 equal pieces. You should have 6 equal pieces of dough. (I weighed my pieces and they were 283 g each, but weighing is not a required step.) Form each dough piece into a ball and then roll each ball into a 14 to 15-inch-long rope. Line up 3 of the the ropes in parallel lines and pinch the tops of the 3 pieces together to bind them. Then, braid the 3 ropes to form a loaf. Pinch the bottom of the 3 ropes together to seal the braided loaf.
  • Make the second loaf with the remaining 3 pieces of dough, following the same pinching and braiding method. Once the two loaves are braided, transfer them onto the parchment paper-lined baking sheets, cover them with a lint-free kitchen towel or plastic wrap, and let them rise in a warm spot for 1 hour. After 45 minutes, place a rack in the center of the oven, then preheat to 350F.

Before Baking

  • After the loaves have risen, uncover them and brush with egg wash. Sprinkle on sesame seeds (or your topping of choice) and bake on the middle rack of the oven for 30 to 40 minutes, or until golden. You may need to bake the loaves one at a time depending on if they fit on one baking sheet or if two baking sheets fit on one shelf of the oven.
  • My loaves took 35 minutes to bake. Keep an eye on them as they bake, as the baking time will depend on the model of oven and how tightly the loaves are braided. If you are unsure if your loaves are done, you can insert an instant-read thermometer in the center of the loaf. The bread is ready when it is 190F in the interior.
  • Transfer the loaves to a cooling rack and let cool completely. At this point, you can decorate the loaves with some mini eggs, if you like. Once the loaves are cool, serve or wrap well in plastic wrap to ensure they stay nice and fresh for the following day. This sweet bread is perfect even after a few days; all you have to do is toast it and add some butter on top. Enjoy!

Video

Nutrition

Calories: 292kcal, Carbohydrates: 38g, Protein: 6g, Fat: 13g, Saturated Fat: 5g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 6g, Trans Fat: 0.2g, Cholesterol: 49mg, Sodium: 62mg, Potassium: 90mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 9g, Vitamin A: 239IU, Vitamin C: 0.4mg, Calcium: 44mg, Iron: 2mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Bread
Cuisine: Bulgarian, Greek
Love This Recipe?
Share your pictures or videos of you making my recipes by mentioning #themodernnonna on all socials ❤️

Hi! I'm Sneji. Nice to meet you!

I am more commonly known as “The Modern Nonna” on social media where I create easy home cooked meals with a modern twist. I was born and raised in Sofia, Bulgaria and learned how to cook at the best culinary school in the world – my grandma’s kitchen. I lived in Greece on the Island of Crete with my parents for a while and then moved to Toronto, Canada when I was in grade 5. I started to really cook and experiment with food 11 years ago when I was 21 years old. Everything I currently know is a reflection of some part of my life…

Keep up to date with me on social media! Follow @themodernnonna

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating




The maximum upload file size: 2 MB. You can upload: image, video. Links to YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and other services inserted in the comment text will be automatically embedded. Drop files here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

25 Comments

  1. Love the recipe and very easy to follow. This is very similar to my mother’s recipe that has been handed down thru our Greek family. The only difference is we add Ground Mastixa (mastic) and ground mahlepi, and ground cardamom for the traditional Tsoureki flavor.
    When in comes time to do the egg wash, we sprinkle sesame seeds and blanched almond slices on top. Bravo for such a delicious recipe

    1. Thank you so much for sharing, Sophia! So important to preserve our family’s recipes.

        1. Every Culture has this sweet bread we call it Kouzonak in Bulgaria but it’s similar to Tsoureki yes.

    1. Yes, small rolls should work nicely. Assuming the rolls will be smaller than loaves, be sure to check on the bread as it bakes as early as 20 minutes into baking. To check for doneness, insert an instant-read thermometer into the center of the loaf. The bread is ready when the interior reaches 190F. Please check out my other tips under “Common Questions.”

    1. The dough should be soft, tacky and smooth dough. It shouldn’t be sticky, soft, or dry. When you press it, it should bounce back at you.

    1. Yes! Since this bread is very similar to a rich brioche, it should freeze nicely. Store the bread in an air-tight container or wrap it well with plastic wrap and foil to avoid freezer burn. When ready to enjoy, let it thaw out at room temperature or in the fridge.

  2. 5 stars
    This turned out amazing. I followed your instructions with no problems or alterations. Thanks for a great recipe! Note: I was able to bake both loaves on separate racks at the same time in my convection oven, it took closer to 40 minutes. I will definitely be making this for Easter now that I know I can do it.

  3. Hello, I am preparing to make this bread and want to know if the dough should be tacky or if I need to add more flour, as the recipe does not mention a windowpane test. Also, can this dough recipe be used for cinnamon rolls?

    1. The dough should be soft not sticky or dry. When you press it, it should bounce back at you. Also, I have not tried this dough for cinnamon rolls but do check my cinnamon roll recipe on the website please 🙂 I do think it would work really well for cinnamon rolls too though!

  4. Tried this recipe today for the first time. WOW, super easy and perfect results. Light, fluffy not too sweet. I can eat the entire loaf. Will make another batch before the weekend.

      1. Hi Sandy! I have not tried this with bread flour, but because bread flour produces more structure and chew than AP, I don’t recommend it in this recipe, which is meant to be light and fluffy.