There's a reason why fresh-baked sweet yeast breads are beloved. The fresh-from-the-oven aroma is comforting and a warm roll filled with a sweet filling is a superb way to start a special day.
Perhaps that's why the Easter season features an abundance of traditional yeast breads, from plump Polish paczki devoured a day before Lent and those hot cross buns baked for Good Friday, on to the varied Easter breads of Italy, Greece, Portugal and more. Often decorated with tinted eggs or colorful sugar sprinkles, they are rich with symbolism.
You needn't have a traditional family recipe to bring a sweet yeast bread to the Easter breakfast table. Nor need you fear yeast dough with this simple recipe that can be mixed and shaped the day before, chilled overnight and then baked Easter morning.
Tips on yeast dough: Mix yeast into warm-to-the-touch water (about 100 degrees). Add a tiny pinch of sugar to feed the yeast. Let mixture stand several minutes. It should bubble and foam slightly. If it doesn't and the yeast is fresh, the water may have been too hot or too cool; discard and repeat with new yeast.
You've never kneaded dough? Slightly flatten dough, then lift the side of the dough farthest from you and fold toward you. Use the heels of your hands to push the folded edge down and away from you. Turn dough a quarter-turn and repeat several times.
Do not let dough proof (rise) too much once removed from the refrigerator; dough will continue to rise during baking.