Place allspice and cinnamon in a spice or coffee grinder, and process until finely ground. Set aside.
Combine water, dash of salt, dash of sugar, and yeast in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk. Let stand for 5 minutes. Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Add 1 cup flour to yeast mixture, stirring until well combined. Let stand 20 minutes.
Place sugar and butter in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until light and fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in allspice mixture. Add yeast mixture to butter mixture; stir with a whisk until well combined. Stir in 1 teaspoon salt. Add 3 1/2 cups flour, about 1 cup at a time, stirring until a soft dough forms. Turn dough out onto a floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic (about 8 minutes); add enough of remaining flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, to prevent dough from sticking to hands (dough will feel tacky).
Place dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray, turning to coat top. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, 1 hour or until doubled in size. (Gently press 2 fingers into dough. If indentation remains, dough has risen enough.)
Divide dough into 3 equal portions, shaping each portion into a 14-inch-long rope. Place ropes lengthwise on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray (do not stretch); pinch ends together at one end to seal. Braid ropes; pinch loose ends to seal. Lightly coat dough with cooking spray. Cover and let rise 45 minutes or until doubled in size.
Preheat oven to 350°.
Combine 1 tablespoon water and egg yolk, stirring with a whisk. Brush half of yolk mixture over loaf. Let stand for 5 minutes. Repeat procedure with the remaining yolk mixture. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until loaf sounds hollow when tapped. Cool on a wire rack for 20 minutes.
I made this, with a few alterations (mostly the order things are put together) in my bread maker on the dough cycle. Pulled it out, braided it, and let it rest for a while, and holy cow it rose to take up my whole pan practically! This is a huge loaf, I'm sure cutting the dough into quarters and making smaller loaves (for gifts even!) would work fine. I cooked it for the 30 minutes called for and it turned out really good. We served it with our Easter dinner and my kids gobbled it up! Right now they are enjoying it as french toast, and my 11 year old said "this is awesome!"
This made for a beautiful presentation for Easter. I took it to a family gathering and it received many an "ooh" and "ahh" - it's almost too lovely to slice and eat! I used ground spices as I don't have a spice grinder, and all white-wheat flour, making the dough the day before with 1/4 the yeast and letting the dough rise in the fridge overnight before shaping and baking it Easter morning. I also used a whole egg for the glaze. It has a wonderful texture and is slightly sweet, though not too much so to serve with dinner. I will keep this recipe in mind for next year.
I put all ingredients in bread machine and used dough cycle. I stopped mixing cycle early and rise the dough in the machine(off) for 45 minutes. Then followed the recipes. The bread looks great and tasted great.
This bread was terrific. Made it for Easter dinner. Warmed it up 20 minutes before we ate. Can't wait to use the leftovers for french toast. The loaf was absolutely huge; next time, I'll make 2 smaller loaves. AWESOME though!
Beautiful, flavorful bread. I made according to recipe, but did not grind my own allspice. (I did buy a prefilled cinnamon grinder, which was nice, if you can find it. McCormick) One word of advice: recipe says to cover the loaf before the second rising, which I did, lightly with plastic wrap. This causes the top to not rise fully, and be flattish instead of full and round, as in the picture. Next time, I will not cover during the second rising.
WOW! Turns out so beautiful! You do have to knead for some time but it is worth it! I used ground spices for simplicity. I think it would be better served at a brunch that with Easter Dinner due to the allspice and cinnamon. Will make this every year!
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