2 packages active dry yeast activated in 1/2 cup warm water; let stand for at least 10 minutes;
2 cups sifted all-purpose unbleached flour blended into 1 1/2 cups warm water;
Combine activated yeast (Step 1) into blended flour and water (Step 2) and beat until smooth. Cover bowl and let this dough mixture rise and bubble at least 2 hours.
Step 4: Meanwhile:
3/4 cup vegetable shortening
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon fresh lemon zest
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
Cream shortening, lemon juice, and lemon zest until fluffy; gradually add sugar and salt.
2 large eggs
1 egg white
Beat eggs until thick and piled softly. Add this beaten egg mixture to Step 4 in thirds and mix thoroughly. Add the yeast and flour mixture from Step 3 and beat well.
5 cups sifted flour
Gradually add flour to mixture in Step 5 and beat thoroughly. Create a soft dough. Knead dough lightly on floured kneading surface. Shape dough into a smooth ball. Place in a lightly greased bowl, large enough to hold the ball of dough. Cover bowl and let dough double in size, about 1 1/2 hours.
5 colored eggs
2 cups confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons water or as needed
Punch risen ball of dough and divide into two equal parts; cover these two smaller balls of dough and let rest for 10 minutes. Roll the two balls of dough into 2 strands of about 36 inches each. Form a loosely braided ring leaving spaces for 5 colored eggs. Place the braid on a lightly greased baking sheet, cover loosely with a towel and let rise until doubled. Insert colored eggs in dough.
Bake the ring of dough in a 350-degree oven for 40 minutes. After the loaf has cooled, glace with icing made with confectioners' sugar and water. Sprinkle with colored sugar sprinkles (nonpareils).
Yield: one large ring or 18 to 20 slices
Source: Rome Marinelli
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