Sometimes we all need something to make us feel better on those rainy days, and this is the thing for me. Delicious in sandwiches, as toast, or just plain with a little butter or jam, this bread is a versatile classic that brings back wonderful childhood memories for me. I remember having egg or tuna sandwiches on egg bread in my school lunch box and, as the ultimate treat, egg bread toast with butter and honey for breakfast.
The recipe for this bread is another classic from my friend Grace (be sure to check out her other recipe for doughnuts!) and a favorite in the Azores, where she’s from. It’s, sweet, light and easy to make; it really only requires a little time for the rising. Thanks, Grace, for another wonderful contribution to A Pinch of Sea Salt!
Yield: 2 extra large loaves
1 tbs dry yeast
1/3 cup of warm water
6 cups of flour
4 eggs, at room temperature
1 1/3 cup of sugar
3/4 cup of whole milk, warmed
7 tbs of butter, at room temperature
7 tbs of vegetable shortening, at room temperature
2 tbs of freshly squeezed lemon juice
In a small bowl, whisk the yeast into the warm water and set aside.
Beat together the eggs and sugar until light and set aside.
Measure the flour into a large mixing bowl and make a well in the center. Pour in the egg mixture and blend into the flour using your clean hands. One by one, add the milk, lemon juice and butter mixture, blending well before each new ingredient is introduced. The order is important here; make sure the butter goes in last. You’ll need it to help mixing the dough, which will be very sticky!
Finally, add the yeast mixture and blend in thoroughly. Work the dough between your hands for about ten minutes. Place it back in the bowl, cover and allow to rise for 2-3 hours, or until the dough has doubled in size.
After the first rise, knead the dough for 5-10 minutes and return to the bowl. Cover again and allow to rise another 2-3 hours.
After the second rise, use shortening and flour to grease two large loaf pans. Remove the dough, divide in half, and shape into logs to fit into the loaf pans. Shape the dough by spreading it slightly and then rolling it in on itself, repeating these motions a few times until the desired form is achieved. Place the dough in the pans, cover lightly and allow to rise another 2-3 hours.
When the third rise is almost finished, preheat the oven to 300 F.
Bake for 45-55 minutes, or until the bread is a deep golden brown color.
If necessary, remove the bread 10-15 minutes before the end of the cooking time and brush the sides with more egg. The bread should rise significantly, so that you won’t be able to brush the whole top surface when the dough goes into the oven.
Remove from the pans once the bread is almost cool. Enjoy in any way you prefer!