Typically Aunt Ruth writes this portion of the recipe blogs, but let me tell you what happened today. After going through her routine of answering emails, having a review meeting with me (Elizabeth), and of course making her Americano, she comes over to me. “I have decided to delegate.” She says. “The photo’s are in there, the recipe is all ready to go, but you write the intro!” Then she bolts back into her office. Yep.
I had never heard of Easter bread until this past week, when Aunt Ruth was making test batches for the blog. It was a frustrating week because usually she breezes through this recipe with no problems whatsoever. The first time she made it, the bread was too dry. No problem, she’s a perfectionist, so she’ll make it again and correct the problem. The second one turned out beautifully! But by the time she could take a good photo of it, it was days old. A third Easter bread was made with extra filling because everything is better with extra filling, right? Nope. The bread soaked up the extra filling and looked, in her words, “like vomit”. Number four didn’t rise because the sugar was left out of the bread. By this time she was determined not to let the bread get the better of her. Ladies and Gentlemen, I finally got my first taste of Easter bread… on the fifth try. It was amazing, beautiful, and well worth the wait! So here it is! It’s really not that hard if you follow the recipe, good luck!
Dissolve the yeast in the water in a large bowl. Stir in the salt, sugar, butter, and eggs. Gradually beat in enough flour to form a stiff dough, about 4 1/2 cups flour.
Turn the dough out onto a floured board and head until smooth and satiny, about 10 to 20 minutes. Add flour as needed to prevent sticking.
Place dough in a greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled (about 1 1/2 hours). Punch down dough, knead briefly to release air.
Divide the dough in three equal pieces. Roll 1/3 into a 10 inch circle and place in the bottom of a greased springform pan. Take the other two dough balls and roll each into a rope about three feet long. Twist the ropes together and place them in the springform pan, pressing the ends together to form a sealed circle. If desired, place a greased cake pan or bowl in the center to help the rope hold it’s shape. Cover and let rise 20 to 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. In a small mixing bowl, combined the quark, eggs, powdered sugar, lemon zest, and raisins. Remove the center cake pan (if you used it to hold the shape) and pour the filling into the center of the rope circle.
Whisk together one egg with 1 teaspoon water. Brush the dough with egg wash. Place the bread on the lowest rack in the oven and bake for 35-40 minutes until the dough is golden brown, the filling will still be soft but will set as it cools.
Let cool completely before serving.