Normally, the braid would have five brightly coloured eggs (still in their shells) tucked around the top before baking and they cook in the oven along with the bread, but they wouldn’t have been eaten around here, so I left them off. And I opted for chocolate sprinkles instead of coloured ones, because, well… Switzerland! Gotta have chocolate!
375 – 435g (3 to 3 1/2 cups) all-purpose (plain) flour, divided
50g (1/4 cup) granulated (white) sugar
1 x 7g sachet (2 1/4 tsp) instant yeast
1/2 tsp salt
80ml (1/3 cup) milk
80ml (1/3 cup) warm water
30g (2 tbsp) unsalted butter, melted
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 egg yolk beaten with 1 tsp water for egg wash
125g (1 cup unsifted) powdered (confectioner’s) sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3 tsp milk
about 2 tbsp chocolate sprinkles
Whisk together 250g (2 cups) of the flour and the sugar, yeast and salt in large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment.
Whisk together milk, water and melted butter in a small bowl.
Add milk mixture to flour mixture, stirring to combine, then add eggs one at a time. Blend at low speed until combined, then beat at medium speed for 3 minutes until smooth. Gradually stir in 125g (1 cup) of the remaining flour to make a soft dough.
Scrape dough out onto well floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic, 8 to 10 minutes, using more flour to prevent sticking as needed. Try to avoid adding too much more flour (no more than 1/2 cup) or your bread will be dense. I used about 2/3 of the extra flour. A good way to avoid adding too much is to spread the extra flour out on the bench around the dough, just bringing in a bit at a time until you can knead the dough without it sticking to the bench too much and at the end you should be able to knead without it sticking by just flouring your hands. It should form a smooth, soft ball.
Place dough in a large buttered bowl, cover with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel and let rise in warm place until doubled, about 30 minutes.
Line a baking sheet with parchment and set aside.
Punch dough down, turn out onto floured surface and knead lightly. Divide dough into three equal pieces. Roll each piece with your palms into a 50cm (20″) rope.
Loosely braid the ropes together, shape the braid into a circle and join the ends together securely – add a drop of water to moisten, if necessary. Transfer to baking sheet, cover loosely with buttered plastic wrap and a kitchen towel and let rise in warm place until doubled, about 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 175°C (350°F).
Brush loaf with egg wash and bake in centre of oven for about 30 minutes, until deep golden brown and hollow sounding when tapped on the bottom. Transfer to wire rack to cool completely before decorating.
Sift the powdered sugar into a bowl and add vanilla then milk by teaspoons until you get a pouring consistency. Drizzle or brush over top of bread and decorate with chocolate sprinkles.