Italian Easter Bread

easterbread12 3/4 to 3 c. all purpose flour, unsifted
1/4 c. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 pkg. active dry yeast, undissolved
2/3 c. milk
2 tbsp. butter
2 eggs, room temperature
Melted butter
5 eggs, raw, colored

In large bowl, combine flour, sugar, salt and undissolved yeast. Heat milk and 2 tablespoon butter in a saucepan and over low heat until liquids are warm (120 to 130 degrees). Add to dry ingredients. Beat 2 minutes at medium speed. Scraping bowl occasionally.

Add 2 eggs and 1/2 cup flour. Beat at high speed 2 minutes. Stir in enough additional flour to make dough soft. Turn onto floured board. Knead about 8 to 10 minutes. Place in greased bowl. Turn to grease top. Cover and let rise until doubled. About 1 hour.

Punch dough down. Onto floured board, divide in 1/2. Roll each piece of dough into a 24 inch rope. Twist ropes together loosely. Form into a ring on a greased baking sheet. Brush with melted butter. Place colored eggs into spaces in the twist. Cover and let rise until doubled. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes.

* I like to precook the colored eggs because I have had some instances where they did not cook thoroughly during baking.