Easter Bread Wreaths with Quail Eggs are the diminutive relatives of Greek or Italian Easter Bread, and because they’re made using the Tangzhong method, they’re wonderfully fluffy and soft, even the next day!
Easter is a highly anticipated holiday in our house. Everyone has a different reason why.
For instance, for the husband, it means the end of swearing off soda and sugar (read: candy). For the kids, it used to mean Easter egg hunt and candy. Now they get excited for Easter because it usually means Spring Break and also, candy. For me, it means warmer weather for gardening (can’t wait to get my hands dirty!) aaand… candy… No, not candy. Flowers, I prefer flowers.
I just always love Easter… for the pastel-colored decorations, the vinegary smell of the egg dye, the flowering plants in the garden waking up… and of course, for the Easter bread and all the other goodies.
Easter Bread, My Way
When my children were young, to celebrate Easter, I used to make them Italian Easter Bread.
Now I think it looks ghastly. I mean, my photo looks ghastly, not the Italian Easter Bread. As the kids grow up, I find myself growing up along with them. And my taste in Easter Bread changes.
Nowadays I prefer the quiet, muted, understated hues of these Easter Bread Wreaths, instead. Better, no?
Flavored with vanilla, studded with chocolate chips, and center-stuffed with quail eggs, these are better, I think. There shall be no more confetti sprinkles! That may be a promise I can keep only for today.
Also, one other important fact that makes these Easter Bread Wreaths with Quail Eggs better than my “old” Italian Easter Bread is that they’re made with the Tangzhong Method.
Tangzhong (which translates to “water roux”) is an Asian bread-making technique that involves cooking a portion of the flour and liquid to form a paste. Once it cools down, the Tangzhong paste will be incorporated into the rest of the ingredients.
The resulting bread made this way is airy, feathery, and fluffy, as opposed to crusty and chewy. What’s more impressive is the ability for the bread to remain moist and pillowy-soft even a few days after baking.
Cook’s Illustrated has the science behind Tangzhong explained in detail in this article → The Fluffiest Dinner Rolls.
In my experience, and I’ve made Tangzhong bread at least a dozen times by now, bread dough made with this technique also kneads beautifully. If there’s such a thing as a dream dough, the Tangzhong dough is!
Less sticky than any other dough, but yet more pliable and easy to knead and form, it rarely requires any dusting of extra flour. Just look at the following photos. Not a speck of flour was needed to work with the dough.
Mama Egg and Her Babies
Ready to bake… just waiting for the egg wash
How Do You Eat Your Bread?
The egg first, or the egg last?
Egg first for me. Egg last for the husband. What does this say about our respective personalities?
- 3 tablespoons whole milk
- 3 tablespoons water
- 2 tablespoons bread flour
- All of the Tangzhong
- ½ cup (cold) whole milk
- ⅓ cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon active dry yeast *See Notes #1
- 1 large egg
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2¼ - 2½ cups bread flour
- 4 tablespoons butter, softened
- ⅓ cups mini chocolate chips + extra for studding
- 10 boiled quail eggs
- Place all the Tangzhong ingredients in a small saucepan, and whisk until there are no more lumps. Cook on low heat while continuing to whisk, until a thick paste is formed, about 2 - 3 minutes. Transfer the Tangzhong paste into the bowl of a stand mixer.
- Pour the cold milk over the Tangzhong and whisk to combine. This will help cool down the paste so you can proceed with the next steps.
- Add sugar, whisk, then add the yeast (Make sure the liquid is warm to the touch and not too hot before adding the yeast). Let the yeast bloom for 5 minutes.
- Add the egg, vanilla, and flour (start with 2¼ cups. It’s easier to add flour if the dough is too wet than it is to add liquid if the dough is too dry).
- Using the dough attachment, knead the dough until all the liquid has been absorbed. If it looks too sticky, add the rest of the flour. Continue to knead until the dough is relatively smooth, about 5 minutes.
- Add butter, 1 tablespoon at a time. Add the chocolate chips with the last tablespoon of the butter.
- Knead until the dough forms into a smooth ball. Transfer to a lightly buttered bowl and cover with plastic wrap.
- Place in the refrigerator to rise overnight. *See Notes #2
- The next day, take out the dough from the fridge. It should be almost doubled in size.
- Deflate the dough gently, then divide into 20 equal portions. Form each portion into a rope.
- Pick up 2 ropes, and intertwine them to form a twisted rope. Form it into a circle/wreath, pinching the ends together. Place a boiled quail egg in the center. Stud the top of the wreaths with more chocolate chips by gently pressing them into the dough. Continue forming the rest of the dough,
- Place the circles/wreaths on a baking sheet lined with parchment or Silpat. Cover with a kitchen towel and let them rise until they’re almost doubled in size, about 1 - 2 hours.
- Heat oven to 350°F, bake the wreaths for 25 - 30 minutes, or until they’re golden in color. *See Notes #3
2. Bypass the overnight rise if you use extra yeast. Let the dough rise in a warm place instead, until it's almost doubled in size, about 1 - 2 hours. Proceed with the rest of the steps
3. These rolls are really soft if you don't let them brown too much.
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