Braided bread is bread which has been divided into long thin ropes and then braided before baking. But this decorative Easter bread specially prepared for Easter day has whole eggs baked into it. You don’t need to cook the whole eggs, they will bake at the same time that the bread does.
Take a small bowl; dissolve yeast in 1/4 cup of lukewarm water. Set aside. Take another medium mixing bowl, add remaining water and 1 cup flour and yeast mixture and mix with an electric mixer.
Cover bowl with plastic wrap and a towel and place in a warm place to rise for 1 to 2 hours. This mixture should be double in size.
In an electric mixer add butter and beat until creamy. Then gradually add sugar and beat until light. Add lemon juice, lemon rind, salt, egg, raised yeast mixture and mix well. Then add 1 ½ cup remaining flour and stir with a wooden spoon.
Turn dough out onto a floured surface and knead to form soft non-sticky dough. Shape into a ball. Place dough in a greased bowl.
Cover with plastic wrap and a towel and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size for about 2 hours. Punch down the dough with your fist.
Divide the dough into 2 equal pieces. Roll each piece of dough into a long cylinder about 1 & 1/2 inches thick. Loosely twist two pieces of dough together to form a loose braid. Form the braid into a ring shape and place on a parchment-lined cookie sheet.
Place uncooked eggs into spaces in braid. Cover with plastic wrap and towel and let rise until doubled in a warm place, about 40 minutes.
Remove plastic wrap and towel. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until golden brown.
Remove from the oven. Cool bread in a pan on wire rack. Serve warm or cold.
When cool down, if desired, frost top of loaf with confectioners’ frosting.