Ever find yourself with some leftover eggnog and no idea what to do with it? Try out Eggnog Bread! My eggnog bread braid is an easy bread recipe with fun and festive results. Great on its own or for use in classics such as French toast or bread pudding.
Baking with Eggnog
I love eggnog! I spend most of the year waiting for it to be seasonally appropriate again. Not only is it a great beverage and fabulous cocktail, but there is so much you can do with the classic festive creamy drink.
Eggnog is a great substitute for the liquid, particularly milk, in many bakes. Try it in cakes in place of buttermilk, in doughs in place of some of the water or liquid content or in frostings in place of other flavourings or milk.
My eggnog bread recipe here is an adaptation of a challah loaf. Strictly speaking challah bread cannot be made with dairy and still be kosher, so this recipe is more accurately a Hefezopf loaf.
- Flour - a mixture of both all-purpose flour (or plain flour) and strong white bread flour.
- Dry active yeast - one packet of yeast or 2½ teaspoons.
- Warm water - the best temperature for activating the yeast is about 104°F/40C. You don't want it to be much warmer or it could kill off the yeast. Similarly, cooler and the yeast may also not work.
- Sugar - caster sugar (or superfine granulated). This recipe calls for 3 tablespoons of sugar, which will be separated out into three different portions.
- Nutmeg - for best flavour, always use fresh grated, but pre-ground nutmeg can work in this recipe too!
- Eggs - two for the bread and one for the egg wash glaze.
- Oil - use a flavourless oil such as canola oil or sunflower oil. You will need some for the bread and a little extra to oil the bowl for the first proof.
- Eggnog - the star of the show! I used some of my homemade eggnog, but store bought will work too.
Making My Eggnog Bread Dough
The first step to any yeasted bread is to activate the yeast!
Using Dry Active Yeast
In order for your dry active yeast to work in leavening the bread, this needs to be activated by using warm water. It is tempting to just boil water and throw the yeast in, but this will be just as bad as using cold water. Over hot or over cold will kill off the yeast and leave this inactive in your bake.
Start by using warm water, roughly 104°F/40C. I like to boil my water in a kettle and then pour it into a small bowl to sit and cool down for about 10 minutes.
Once cooled to a warm temperature, sprinkle the yeast over the top and add a teaspoon of sugar. Give it a little stir and leave for about 10 minutes to activate.
Your yeast should become foamy as a sign that it is livening up.
Mix Wet and Dry Ingredients Separately
While your yeast is hopefully activating, mix together your wet ingredients in a jug or small bowl. These are your eggs, eggnog and oil.
Give them a light whisk and set aside.
Meanwhile, in the bowl of a stand mixer, add your dry ingredients: your flours, 2 tablespoons of sugar, salt and nutmeg. Give this a stir.
Putting It All Together
Once your yeast is activated, it is time to put everything together and make your bread dough. Simply add the yeast, immediately followed by the egg mixture, to the bowl of flour.
Begin kneading on a low setting until the dough comes together. Then continue on a medium low setting for another 10-15 minutes until the dough is no longer sticking to the sides of the bowl and pulls itself away.
Alternate Option for Kneading By Hand
If you do not have a stand mixer, you can make this bread by hand following the same process, with a slight alteration to the mixing process.
Once you add all of the ingredients together in a large mixing bowl, mix until a dough comes together before turning out onto a counter to knead by hand. Kneading by hand will take longer than using the stand mixer.
Proofing and Shaping Eggnog Bread Braid
This bread has two proofs. Once your done kneading, transfer your dough to a clean, lightly oiled large bowl. Cover this with cling film or a clean dish towel and place in a warm spot.
Leave for about 2 hours until the dough has doubled in size.
After the first proof, it is time for shaping. For my eggnog bread, I've opted for a simple three strand braid. Simply tip your dough out of the bowl onto a clean work surface. Adding flour at this stage will just make your dough sticky, so I'd recommend working on a clean or lightly oiled surface.
Knock the dough back by pressing gently with your fingers and fashioning the dough into a rectangle.
Using a dough scraper or sharp knife, cut the dough into thirds lengthwise so that you have three long rectangles. These can then be gently pulled and shaped into strands for braiding.
Braiding a three stranded loaf is a simple process of overlapping alternate sides over the middle strand. Start by pinching the three strands together at the top. Then take the strand on the right and cross this over top of the middle. Then take the strand on the left and cross over the new middle strand. Repeat until you have braided the whole loaf and pinch the ends together.
Gently tuck both ends under themselves to give the loaf a more finished look and transfer to a lined baking sheet. Cover in a clean dish towel and leave for 30 minutes for a second proof.
Meanwhile preheat your oven and prepare the egg wash and sugar nutmeg topping.
Baking the Eggnog Bread Braid
After 30 minutes, brush the eggnog loaf with your egg wash (made from one egg whisked with a half tablespoon of water). And, sprinkle with a combination of sugar and ground nutmeg.
Bake in the centre of the preheated oven for about 30 minutes until golden on top. You can also test the doneness of the loaf using an instant read thermometer. The temperature for your bread should read about 195°F/90C for the loaf to be done.
FAQs for Eggnog Bread
This loaf is best on the day it is baked. It will keep for a couple of days at room temperature, but will start to stale.
Stale sweet breads are great for French toast or bread pudding recipes, giving the bread a new lease on life for leftovers after a day or two.
Yes, absolutely! If you are making this in advance, it is easy to freeze and will be better preserved for future use. Allow the bread to cool completely first. Then either place in a freezer safe ziploc bag or wrap in clingfilm and foil.
This can be stored in the freezer for several months. Defrost before consuming.
If your eggnog bread didn't double in size in the first proof, this may be due to a couple of common issues. Your yeast may not have been lively enough and/or you may not have kneaded the bread enough.
In many cases, it is actually just that the dough needs a bit more time. Use your judgement here - if you've left it two hours in a warm place and it hasn't risen at all, then there is probably something more wrong. If it has risen a bit, try leaving for another hour to see if that improves things.
If you like this recipe, you might also like:
Braided Eggnog Bread
- ¼ cup warm water
- 2½ teaspoon dried active yeast
- 3 tablespoon caster sugar or superfine granulated
- 2¼ cup all purpose flour or plain flour
- 1 cup strong bread flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 2 eggs + 1 for glazing
- ⅓ cup flavorless oil such as canola oil or sunflower oil
- ½ cup + 2 tbsp eggnog
- In a small bowl, sprinkle the yeast over the top of warm water. This should not be boiling water, but instead roughly 104°F/40C is ideal. Add a teaspoon of the sugar, stir and set aside for 10 minutes for the yeast to get foamy.
- In the bowl of a standing mixer, fitted with a dough hook, add the flours, 2 tablespoons of the sugar, salt and 1 teaspoon of nutmeg. Stir together.
- Meanwhile, add the eggs, oil and eggnog to a jug and whisk together.
- Once the yeast is foamy, add this to the flour mixture, immediately followed by the egg mixture. Turn the mixer on to a medium low speed and knead together until a dough forms. Continue kneading for 10-15 minutes until the dough is pulling itself off the sides of the bowl.
- While the dough is kneading, lightly oil a large mixing bowl. Once the dough has finished kneading, scrape this into the oiled bowl and cover in cling film or a clean dish towel. Place in a warm place to proof for 2 hours, until doubled in size.
- After the dough has doubled in size, turn out onto a clean work surface and knock back, pressing lightly into a rectangle.
- Use a sharp knife or dough scraper to cut the rectangle into three equal parts (see blog post for pictures). Then stretch these into strands.
- In order to braid the eggnog bread, pinch the three strands together at the top. Start by taking the strand on the far right, crossing this over the middle strand. Then take the strand on the left and cross over the new middle. Repeat the process until you reach the end of the bread. Pinch the three ends together. Gently tuck the ends of the braided loaf under itself and place on a lined baking sheet. Cover with a clean tea towel and proof again for about 30 minutes.
- Preheat your oven to 375°F (190C/170C Fan) and make your egg wash by whisking together the extra egg with about a half tablespoon of cool water.
- In a small bowl, mix together the remaining sugar and ½ teaspoon of nutmeg.
- When the loaf has finished its second proof, use a brush to apply the egg wash over the top and sprinkle with the sugar and nutmeg mixture. Bake in the preheated oven for about 30 minutes until the top is golden.
- Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack.
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