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Finnish Easter Bread

A wonderful "old world" enriched bread studded with nuts and raisins. Serve at your holiday breakfast or brunch, spread cream cheese topping on thick slices.
Finnish Easter Bread
Yield 1 (9x5-inch) loaf


  • 2 1/2 to 3 cups bread flour, divided
  • 2 (0.25oz each) packages (14g) or 4 1/2 teaspoons Red Star Active Dry Yeast
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1/4 cup granulated sugar, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon table salt
  • 1/2 cup warm water (120-130°F)
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter or margarine (softened)
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
  • 1 teaspoon grated orange rind
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup almonds, finely chopped
  • 3 large egg whites


  • 1 (8oz) package cream cheese (softened)
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon table salt
  • 2 cups powdered sugar


  • In stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, add 1 cup flour, yeast, 2 tablespoons sugar and salt; mix well. Add warm water, butter to flour mixture; blend on low speed for 30 seconds. Add egg yolks; beat on medium speed for 3 minutes. Gradually stir in rinds, raisins, almonds. In small mixer bowl, beat egg whites until stiff; gradually add 1/4 cup sugar. Fold into flour mixture.
  • Switch to dough hook attachment. Gradually stir in enough remaining flour to make a soft dough. Knead until smooth and elastic, about 3 to 5 minutes.
    (NOTE: For hand mixing: following above steps, mix ingredients in large mixing bowl using a wooden spoon or dough whisk. Knead on floured surface until smooth and elastic.)
  • Place dough in lightly oiled bowl and turn to grease top. Cover; let rise until indentation remains after poking dough with finger down to second knuckle.
  • Prepare pan: Grease a 9x5-inch bread pan; set aside.
  • Punch down dough. On lightly floured surface, roll or pat to a 14x7-inch rectangle. Starting with shorter side, roll up tightly, pressing dough into roll with each turn. Pinch edge and ends to seal. Place in prepared pan. With very sharp knife, make a lengthwise slash, 1/4-inch deep, down center of loaf. Cover; let rise in warm place until indentation remains after lightly touching.
  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • Bake for 35 to 40 minutes until golden brown. Remove from pan; cool on wire rack. Serve warm or cold.
  • Prepare Cream Cheese Topping: In small mixer bowl, blend cream cheese, milk, vanilla and salt; beat until smooth. Gradually add powdered sugar; beat until fluffy. Spread on sliced bread.


Photo by Matt Weber.