Bake a loaf of this delicious nutmeg flavored Braided Bread that is studded with lots of pecans and just the right amount of sweetness. This egg-enriched yeast bread is fluffy inside and bakes golden brown outside with a pretty braided top.
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There is nothing better than the aroma of a beautiful loaf of homemade bread baking in your oven.
This sweet yeasted bread has such a unique flavor, with a rich and creamy nutmeg butter filling and roasted pecans scattered throughout the loaf; it is then rolled and artfully braided. As a kid, I thought this bread was the best thing ever and it is still a favorite.
You might know this bread as Sweet Easter Bread or German Sweet Bread. The original recipe that I found in the '70s is called Sweet Nut Braid. No matter what this is delicious throughout the year.
Making bread takes time, the process can't be rushed, but then, after several hours of smelling that enticing aroma, you finally pull from your oven a fragrant golden brown loaf of bread that tastes insanely delicious.
About this braided loaf
- The ingredient list is full of pantry staples, so there is nothing fancy you need to buy.
- Don't let the looks of this bread scare you away, the yeasted dough is super simple to make, and rolling and braiding the bread is surprisingly simple to do. And, it's fun! Really!
- Enjoy this loaf any time of the year, but this nutty bread recipe makes a statement for a delicious Christmas bread to give as a gift or to set on the holiday table, and we like to serve this for Easter.
Make simple changes for some different flavors
- Change the nutmeg to cardamom or cinnamon. You can find more spices to use on the Baking with Spices list.
- Mix spices together, such as cinnamon and nutmeg, or simply add some pumpkin pie spice.
- Change the pecans to walnuts or pistachios
- You can drizzle the top of the bread with a simple powdered sugar icing for some sweetness.
- Active dry yeast
- Unsalted butter - room temperature
- Granulated sugar
- Whole milk for richness
- Large eggs
- All-purpose flour
- Powdered Sugar
- Vanilla extract
- Ground nutmeg - try grating some fresh nutmeg for the best flavor
- Chopped pecans -try toasting them for a great nutty flavor
🍞Let's make bread
Start with a sweet tender egg-rich dough
Step 1. In a small bowl or ramekin, mix the yeast with warm water to dissolve
Step 2. Add the milk to a glass measuring cup and heat the milk in the microwave until hot, then add to a bowl of a stand mixer with the softened butter, sugar, and salt and stir until it's combined. Now let this mixture cool.
Step 3. Beat the eggs together then add to the milk mixture, then add the yeast and stir this until it's combined.
Step 4. Fit the mixer with the dough hook. Next, start adding the flour one cup at a time until a stiff dough forms.
Step 5. Turn the dough out on a floured board and knead for about five minutes until it is smooth. Put the dough into a greased bowl and let rise for about 1 to 1 ½ hours, or you can let it rise in the refrigerator overnight.
Dough rising tip - Make sure there is room in the bowl for the dough to double in size. I like to cover the bowl with plastic wrap and then a towel and place it in a warm draft-free place.
Step 6. While the dough is rising make the nutmeg butter filling by mixing the softened butter, powdered sugar, milk, nutmeg, and vanilla
Step 7. Turn the dough onto a floured board and roll the dough into a 12" x 15"rectangle.
Step 8. Spread the butter filling over the dough.
Step 9. Cut the dough into three strips that are 5" wide.
Step 10. Top the dough with chopped pecans. If you have time toast the pecans first for a truly nutty flavor.
How to toast pecans on the stovetop - This takes just a few minutes to do. Place the pecans in a dry skillet over medium-low heat, stirring frequently until you can smell the nutty fragrance of the pecans. This should take about two minutes. Remove from the skillet and let cool.
Step 11. Roll each strip up long-wise in rolls and lay the rolls side-by-side. If the filling oozes out of the roll, you can scrape it off and spoon it into the end of the roll.
Starting at the top, braid the three rolls together. Turn the ends under the braid and then transfer the braided bread dough into a prepared bread pan.
Cover the bread pan with a towel and let the dough rise in the pan for 1 hour.
Bread pan tip - To make removing the baked bread easily from a bread pan, spray the bottom of the pan with cooking spray then cut a piece of parchment paper to fit into the bottom and sides of the pan with a bit of an overhang. When the bread is baked simply remove the bread pulling the parchment paper ends.
Step 12. Bake the bread at 350 degrees F. for 50-60 minutes. You can check the temperature of the bread with a digital thermometer to make sure it is done, it should be 200 degrees. When the bread is done let it sit for 10 minutes in the pan, then remove to a cooling rack. Slice and enjoy
Note: Please check the top of your bread, if it is getting too brown cover it with a piece of foil or parchment paper.
Baked and sliced. This homemade Sweet Nut Braid is sweet and tender, filled with a buttery, nutmeg filling and pecans. A delicious slice to serve with your morning coffee or tea.
Many bread recipes require this step since it helps the bread rise. Because the whey in milk can inhibit yeast from working properly, scalding milk makes the whey in milk weaker so the yeast can do what it's supposed to do and rise.
This aromatic warming spice has both a sweet and spicy taste that is a bit earthy.
Nutmeg is a spice from East India. Is it really a nut, no it really is a seed. Nutmeg is the dried inner fruit seed that comes from the nutmeg tree. From this fruit, you actually get two spices, nutmeg, and mace which is the lacy red covering of the nutmeg seed.
More favorite bread recipes
- Cinnamon Pull-Apart Bread, this bread is similar to cinnamon monkey pull-aparts but so much faster and easier to make
- Spiced Orange Cranberry Bread has been pinned over 8000 times. We love this bread so much and make two loaves at a time.
- Pumpkin Cranberry Bread with Orange Glaze is perfect to serve in the fall and for Thanksgiving. You will love all the delicious flavors and warming spices.
- Spiced Apple Cider Oatmeal Bread make a hearty slice of delicious apple flavored bread.
Need a good rolling pin? This French rolling pin works great for some heavy-duty rolling like this bread dough and it's a perfect rolling pin for pie-making. I'll never go back to the pins with handles. This pin gives me better control while rolling. I love it!
Nutmeg and Pecan Braided Bread
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- Place the yeast in a small bowl and add the hot water, stir to dissolve and let set.
- Scald the milk then pour into the bowl of a stand mixer, then add the butter, sugar, and salt and stir to combine. Let cool.You can scald the milk in a saucepan on the stove, simply heat the milk over medium heat, just to the point it starts boiling, and you will notice small bubbles appearing around the edge of the saucepan.The microwave method - measure the milk into a glass measuring cup, use 70% power and heat it at 15-second intervals about 3 times. Scaled milk should be 185 degrees F.
- Beat the egg, then add to the milk mixture along with the yeast. Stir to combine.
- Using a dough hook, gradually start adding in the flour one cup at a time, until you have a stiff dough. You may need to add more flour to get the right consistency of dough.
- On a floured board knead the dough for 5 minutes until smooth and elastic.
- Place dough in an oiled bowl and cover the bowl with plastic wrap and a towel. Let the dough rise for 1 to 1 ½ hours. You can also let this dough rise overnight in the refrigerator.
Butter Nutmeg Filling
- In a small bowl add the softened butter, powdered sugar, milk, nutmeg, and vanilla extract then mix until smooth and creamy.
Putting it all together
- Punch down the dough ball then place it on a floured surface and roll into a 15" x 12" rectangle. Spread the filling over the dough. Cut the rectangle into three strips 5" x 12" and then sprinkle pecans over each strip.
- Gently roll each dough strip lengthwise and place them side-by-side and braid them together. Turn the ends of the braided dough under the braid. Transfer the dough to a greased bread pan and cover with a towel. Set the pan in a warm-draft-free space and let rise for 1 hour.
- When ready to bake preheat your oven to 350 ° F and bake for 50-60 minutes. The internal temperature should be 200 degrees.When done, let cool in the pan for 10 minutes then remove and finish cooling on a wire rack.
- This bread will keep for about two days. Place the bread in an airtight container or a plastic food storage bag.
- You can freeze this bread. Wrap the uncut loaf in plastic wrap, then wrap tightly in foil. Freeze for up to 3 months. When ready to eat let the bread thaw on the counter.
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From learning to cook on a farm in Indiana to culinary school in California, my passion for food is never-ending. Turning on my oven to bake something for friends and family is my happy place, and I am glad to be here at One Hot Oven sharing both sweet and savory family-friendly recipes for your cooking and baking inspiration.