Go Back

Easter Bread in the Shape of a Cross

This is a wonderful bread recipe for Easter morning or Good Friday
Course Breakfast
Cuisine Baking
Keyword Easter
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Proofing Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 55 minutes
Servings 15 people


  • 5 1/2 cups flour divided
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp dry yeast
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup butter 1 stick
  • 2 cups milk
  • 6-8 Tbsp butter
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp cinnamon
  • 2 Tbsp melted butter
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2-4 Tbsp hot water


  • Combine 4 1/2 cup flour with 1/2 cup sugar, yeast and salt.
  • On stovetop set to medium-low heat, melt one stick of butter with 2 cups of milk, stirring occassionally.
  • Once melted, pour melted butter and milk mixture into the flour mixture and stir to combine.
  • Add one more cup of flour and stir to combine.
  • Remove the dough from the bowl and knead on a floured surface. Add more flour if necessary. Dough is ready when the ingredients are fully combined, and it is no longer sticky.
  • Cover the dough with plastic and allow to raise until doubled in size. This can take up to two hours. I set my oven on 200 and put a bowl of hot water on the bottom rack. Once the oven is to temperature, I turn it off and place the bowl with the dough on the center shelf. I keep checking every 20 minutes until it has doubled in size.
  • Once your dough has proofed, roll it out on a floured surface. It should be a rectangle approximately 12" by 24".
  • Mix together the brown sugar, white sugar and cinnamon.
  • Melt 6 tablespoons of butter and spread it on the dough.
  • Sprinkle the sugar and cinnamon mixture evenly on the top.
  • Using a pizza cutter, cut six equal strips of dough. You want to cut so you have the longer strips.
  • Stretch the dough strips so that they are approximately 36". You want 6 long snakes for braiding.
  • Pinch 3 of the strips together at the top and begin to braid the dough. Repeat this process with the other three strips. You now have two long braided dough strips.
  • Place parchment paper on an extra large jelly roll pan.
  • Now it is time to form your bread into the shape of a cross. One of the braids will form the right side of the cross while the other braided dough will form the left. Taking the dough braid, you will start at the top, go down slightly, turn right 90 degrees and then turn the dough to go back 180 degrees. Finish by having the rest of the dough go down. Repeat the process on the other side, bending left first. Below is a picture that should help.
  • Cover losely with plastic sprayed with non-stick spray.
  • Allow to rise for about 30 minutes.
  • Heat oven to 375.
  • Cook on the center rack for 20-25 minutes. Test with a toothpick.
  • For the glaze, combine the melted butter, powdered sugar and vanilla with a whisk. Add one tablespoon at a time of hot water until you have the consistency desired.
  • Using the end of your whisk, fling glaze back and forth over the cinnamon and sugar Easter bread in the form of a cross.