Easter breads: 5 delicious recipes for the holiday weekend

We asked Vancouver chefs and restaurant teams to share a few delicious desserts and baked goods for Easter gatherings.

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Few things are better than a warm loaf of bread. With the perfect Easter bun or brioche in mind, we asked Vancouver chefs and restaurant teams to share a few delicious recipes — just in time for Easter gatherings.

Here’s what they baked up:

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Temper Babka

Chocolate Babka

Recipe by: Chef/owner Steve Hodge, Temper Chocolate and Pastry.

Brioche dough

1 1/4 cups (190 g) bread flour

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1 1/4 cups (190 g) all-purpose flour

1/4 cup (50 g) granulated sugar

2 tsp (10 mL) kosher salt

1/3 cup (75 mL) whole milk

1 tsp (7 g) active dry yeast

3 large eggs, room temperature

1 cup (225 g) unsalted butter, cold, cut into cubes


2.5 oz (75 g) dark chocolate, chopped

2 tbsp + 2 tsp (40 g) unsalted butter, room temperature

1/3 cup (40 g) icing sugar

1/4 cup (30 g) Dutch-process cocoa powder


1.8 oz (50 g) semisweet chocolate, finely chopped

Egg wash

1 large egg

1 tbsp (15 mL) whole milk

For the brioche dough, combine the bread flour, all-purpose flour, sugar and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook.

Warm the milk in the microwave for 30 seconds, until lukewarm. Add the yeast to the warm milk and whisk to dissolve. Let the mixture sit for 5 minutes; it will start to form bubbles as the yeast reacts. Add the eggs to the yeast mixture, mixing to combine.

Slowly pour the milk-and-egg mixture into the dry ingredients while mixing on low speed. Once all the ingredients have been mixed in and a dough has formed, add the butter, one cube at a time, to the mixing bowl.

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Increase the speed to medium and mix until the butter is fully incorporated and the dough is separating from the sides of the bowl, about 20 minutes. Clean the sides of the bowl once or twice as you mix. The dough should be smooth, shiny and elastic.

Remove the dough from the mixing bowl and place on a floured work surface. Give the dough 5 kneaded folds to bring it together. This develops the gluten structure of the dough and helps it to rise.

Place the dough on a floured baking sheet or in a lightly greased bowl. Lightly cover the top with plastic wrap and let it relax in the fridge for at least 45 minutes or up to 24 hours.

In the meantime, prepare the filling. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler. Once it’s melted, remove the bowl, add the butter and stir to combine until the butter has melted. Sift in the icing sugar and cocoa powder and stir to form a thick paste. Set the mixture aside and allow it to cool to room temperature.

Spray a 10-inch loaf pan with nonstick spray.

Once the dough has rested, remove it from the fridge and roll it out into a 9- by 13-inch rectangle. Spread the filling evenly across the dough, leaving a ½-inch border on one long edge with no filling, so that when the dough is rolled up, it will stick together. Starting from the other long side, roll the dough into a log. Slice the log in half lengthwise, exposing the centre of the roll. Create an X shape with the half-logs and then twist the ends around each other, keeping the filling face up. Tuck under the ends and place the dough in the prepared loaf pan. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside to proof in a warm area until the dough doubles in size, about 1½ hours.

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Halfway through the proofing, preheat the oven to 325 F. Prepare the egg wash by whisking together the egg and milk.

When the dough has doubled in size, brush the top with the egg wash and bake in the oven for 60 to 65 minutes. You can check for doneness using a thermometer: stick it into the centre of the loaf at its highest point — it should read between 190 and 200 F.

Remove the babka from the oven and set on a wire rack for 5 minutes, then remove it from the loaf pan. Serve warm, with your favourite chocolate hazelnut spread. The babka can be placed in an airtight plastic bag and stored at room temperature for up to 5 days or in the fridge for up to one week. You can also freeze it for up to two months.

Makes one 10-inch loaf.

Hot Cross Buns.

Hot Cross Buns

Recipe by: Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts.


10 oz (300 g) bread flour

8 oz (220 g) buttermilk

1/2 oz (11 g) fresh yeast

1 (60 g) large egg

1/4 cup (60 g) sugar

1 oz (27 g) butter

1 tsp (4 g) salt

1 tsp (4 g) cinnamon

1/4 tsp (1 g) nutmeg

1 1/2 oz (45 g) raisins

1 1/2 oz (45 g) dried cranberries

Cross paste

Butter (melted) 30 g

Sugar 30 g

Eggs 7 g

1 1/2 tbsp (22 g) milk

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1/2 tsp (2 g) vanilla extract

1/4 piece of lemon, zested

1/4 cup (60 g) cake flour, sifted

Egg wash

1 egg

2 tsp (10 mL) milk

Day 1:

Rehydrate raisins and cranberries by covering in a bowl of water and then bringing it up to a hot temperature in the microwave — about 30 seconds. Drain and cool. Add all remaining dough ingredients into a standing mixer with dough hook.

Incorporate at low speed until combined to a rough dough (about 3 minutes). Increase speed to medium until a smooth dough is formed (about 10 minutes). It will be sticky, but a window gluten should be formed. Scrape the mixing bowl occasionally to ensure even kneading. Add and incorporate raisins and cranberries on low speed until well distributed into the dough. Form into a smooth round ball and ferment in a covered and oiled bowl overnight in the refrigerator.

Day 2: 

Divide the dough to 60 grams each, shape into balls, and place into buttered baking mold, leaving space between the buns to increase in volume. Proof for two hours in a warm and humid temperature (at about 25 C), or until doubled in size.

Meanwhile, mix the ingredients for the paste until the mixture is homogenous. When dough is ready and proofed, egg wash the buns. Use a piping bag to decorate the buns with the paste in a cross shape. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 350 F (180 C) for 25-35 minutes, or until golden. Enjoy.

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Makes one dozen buns.

Monkey Bread.

Savoury Monkey Bread

Recipe by: Chef Johann Caner, Honey Salt.

1/4 cup (60 mL) water

1/4 cup (60 mL) whole milk

1/8 cup (30 mL) bread flour

1/8 cup (30 mL) unsalted butter, cold

1/2 tbsp (8 g) yeast

5/8 cup (5 oz) whole milk

2 eggs

3/4 cup (75 g) white cheddar cheese

1/3 cup (41 g) asiago cheese

3 cups (750 mL) all-purpose flour

1/8 cup (30 mL) skim milk powder

1 tbsp (15 mL) granulated sugar

2 tsp (10 mL) salt

Combine water, 1/4 cup milk, bread flour in a pot. Whisk together until no lumps. Cook over low heat, whisking constantly, until whisk leaves a line in the pot (3-5 minutes). Turn off heat and add butter.

Cool down roux in mixer with the whisk (10-20 minutes). Once cool add milk powder. Blend milk and yeast together, add to mixer. Add eggs one by one. Combine remaining dry ingredients (not cheese) and add to wet mix. Mix on mixer Speed 2 for 6 minutes. Then Speed 3 for 7 minutes. Add cheese then mix speed on Speed 1 for 2 minutes.

Divide dough into seven balls measuring about 25 grams. Place in dishes to proof for 20-30 minutes. Once proofed, brush with egg wash. Bake in preheated oven at 330 F for 15-18 minutes. You can add some cheese on top during last fives minutes in the oven if desired. Top with chives (optional).

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Makes 5 loaves. 

Milk Buns.

Milk Bread

Recipe by: Chef Behshad Zolnasr and Diana von Kalnassy, C|Prime Restaurant.

1 1/2 cups (325 g) all-purpose flour (A)

3 tbsp (45 mL) all-purpose flour (B)

8 tbsp (120 mL) milk (A)

8 tbsp (120 mL) milk  (B)

4 tbsp (60 g) butter, softened

2 eggs

3 tbsp (45 g) sugar

2 tsp (10 mL) salt

3 tsp (16 g) yeast

In a pan, cook Flour A and Milk A to a paste. For about 3 minutes (leaves lines on the bottom of the pan). Let cool down to lukewarm, for about 15 minutes.

Add Flour B, sugar and salt into a mixer. Using a dough hook, slowly start mixing. Mix by hand, if you don’t have a mixer.

Add eggs and Milk B. Add yeast. Mix/knead for two minutes. Add paste. Keep mixing/kneading for another three minutes. Add soft butter. Mix/knead for 5-10 minutes or until all ingredients are well-combined. Let the dough rest for one hour in room temperature, covered.

Divide dough into four equal pieces. Flatten each piece of dough into a rectangle, then fold into half, flatten again to rectangle. Roll each into a four-inch log. Place the logs in a loaf pan side-by-side or in small individual loaf pans (lay out bottom with parchment paper).

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Cover and let rest at room temperature for another hour or until its doubled. Brush with milk and bake at 350 F for 20 minutes to golden brown. Rotate pans halfway through cooking time for even colouring.

Brush buns with garlic oil or any oil desired. Let cool down in loaf pans, for about 30 minutes before carefully de-moulding buns. Serve warm with your preferred butter.

Makes 4 loafs. 


Best Brioche

Recipe by: Riley’s Fish + Steak.

1/3 cup (80 mL) milk

1 package (.25 oz) active dry yeast or 2 1/4 tsp

2 1/2 cups (750 mL) cake flour

2 cups (500 mL) all-purpose flour

1/3 cup (80 mL) granulated sugar

2 1/2 tsp (12.5 mL) fleur de sel or fine sea salt

6 large eggs at room temperature

10 oz (284 g) unsalted butter cut into one-inch cubes, at room temperature

1/4 cup (60 mL) chopped fresh herbs such as rosemary and thyme

2 cups (500 mL) shredded cheese mix of your choice

Lobster oil

Heat milk to 110-115 F. In a small bowl, combine warm milk and active dry yeast. Let it stand for 10 minutes until the yeast is dissolved. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, sift together all-purpose flour, bread flour, sugar and salt. Add eggs and beat on low speed for one minute, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Slowly pour in the dissolved yeast mixture and continue beating on low speed for 5 minutes. Stop the mixer, scrape down any dough stuck to the hook, and beat for an additional 5 minutes.

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Gradually add softened butter cubes, about one-quarter at a time, beating for one minute after each addition. Once all the butter is incorporated, beat for an additional 10 minutes until the dough becomes smooth and silky.

Transfer the dough to a large floured bowl and cover it with plastic wrap. Allow it to rise in a warm place until double in size, about three hours.

Turn the risen dough out onto a generously floured work surface and gently press out any air bubbles by folding the dough over several times. Return the dough to the bowl, cover it with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

Divide the chilled dough in half, shape each into a rectangle, add herbs, cheese and roll into a pinwheel that fits into cast iron pans. Place 4-5 pieces in the pans lined with parchment paper. Let the dough rise, uncovered, in a warm place until it reaches about 1/2 inch above the tops of the pans, about 3 hours.

Preheat the oven to 350 F (175 C).

Bake the brioche loaves for 35-40 minutes or until they’re well-browned on top and sound hollow when tapped. Remove them from the oven onto a wired cooling rack. Serve with your favourite soft-whipped butter and lobster oil.

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Make 4-5 buns.

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