Easter breads

For many, Easter morning wouldn't be complete without a golden braided loaf of sweet bread on the table. (Ed Suba Jr./Akron Beacon Journal/MCT)

Once doubled, punch the dough down and divide it into 9 portions.

Shape each dough ball into three strands to be braided and twisted into a wreath shape. Bread can be baked on baking sheets or in metal pie plates.

Cover braids with plastic wrap and allow them to rise again until almost doubled.

Brush tops with beaten egg whites before placing in oven. Bread can be baked 3 loaves at a time.

Bake at 325 degrees for about 40 minutes. If the bread is getting too dark, cover it with foil and lower the oven temperature to 300 degrees to continue baking.

Makes about 9 loaves of bread, about 1 1/2 pounds each.

--Vasiliki "Vicki" Filippousis, Akron

Italian Easter bread

3 large oranges (see note on substituting anise flavoring)
4 oz. fresh cake yeast
2 1/2 cups water, room temperature
4 lbs. bread flour
1 oz. salt
1 1/4 cups sugar
3 oz. powdered milk (generous 1/3 cup)
3 oz. shortening at room temperature (1/3 cup)
3 oz. butter at room temperature (1/3 cup)
4 large eggs
Egg wash made from 1 beaten egg and 2 tbsp. water