The making of sweet breads in the spring may predate Christianity, but it is a big part of Easter tradition in many parts of the world. The Italian bread known as Pane de Pasqua, a sweet braided yeast bread studded with colored eggs is well known. The Greeks also make a bread featuring colored eggs, Tsoureki, which is flavored with mahlab derived from sour cherry seeds. The list goes on and on. Many have in common a spiced dough made with butter and eggs, and the use of preserved fruits.
While Christian symbolism prevails here, most cultures have spring festivals. The symbol of the egg is nearly universal, representing rebirth. Ferticlity symbols are common, the rabbit is only one. Farmers are always concerned with the fertility of their crops and animals, and festivals often feature ceremonies to promote fertility.
In the U.S. we have adopted the British custom of making and serving Hot Cross Buns on Good Friday. Good Friday being the end of the Lenten fast, a food using eggs, butter, preserved fruit and other luxurious ingredients was welcome.
Several Easter foods are on sale this week; lamb, representing sacrifice (and plentiful due to the spring lambing,) ham (probably the last of the hams put up in the fall,) strawberries and asparagus (great foods formerly only available in spring.)
Our stores are not featuring eggs this week, but eggs in general are less expensive this spring than they have been, and inexpensive eggs are not hard to come by in most stores.
As always, prices are for this area, and for Safeway and Fry's will require at least a Club Membership card. Some may require digital coupons as well. We try to indicate all restrictions, special conditions etc. Sprouts does not require any cards and does not have any special savings days. Sprouts does have double ad Wednesday, when you get last week’s and this week’s ad prices. All three stores have digital savings available to those with appropriate accounts, go to their web pages for details and directions. Fry’s at least will give you the advertised digital price if you state you do not have appropriate technology. Safeway sometimes has coupons which you can access digitally or clip out of the ad.
On Sale This Week
Deal of the Week
$1.19/lb—Ham, Sugardale, shank portion, bone in
$2/each—Cantaloupe, Jumbo OR Watermelons, mini seedless
$1.25/each—Bell Peppers, Red yellow or orange OR Cucumbers, English
$1.37/lb—Ham, Kroger brand spiral sliced, bone in
$1.57/lb—Pork, boneless half Loin, in Bag, Cut and Wrapped free.
$1.99/lb—Chicken, Heritage Farm, Boneless breasts
$2.29/lb—Beef, ground, 73% lean, sold in 5 lb roll
$5.99/lb—Lamb, leg, bone in
Other Good Deals
Buy One Get One Free—Thomas’ Bagels OR Entenmann’s Donuts, select varieties
$1.44/each—Potato Chips, Lay’s, Family size or Iettle cooked, must buy 3 to get this price
$1.88/each—Bread, Private Selection brand, select varieties, 24 oz
Buy Two Get one Free—Candy, Resse’s Lindt or Russell Stover Eggs
$2/each—Chocolate Rabbit, Russell Stover
$1.99/each—Sugar, Kroger brand, 4 lb. sack granulated
Special Sale, Buy 6 Get $3 Off, must buy in multiples of 6 to get sale price as given
$1.99/lb.—Butter, LandO Lakes
$.49/each—Green Giant Vegetables OR Swanson Broth
$.75/each—Soup, Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom or Cream of Chicken
$1.49/each—Wipes, Huggies, Select varieties
$3.49/each—Gelato, Talenti, 16 fl oz, select varieties
Special Easter Meal Deal
$49.99—Get 1 Ham, spiral sliced, 7-9 lb-1 Scalloped Potatoes, 32 oz-1 Cinnamon Spiced apples, 22 oz-1 Green bean casserole, 32 oz-1 King’s Hawaiian Rolls, 12 ct
Deal of the Week
$.87/lb—Ham, Cook’s, shank portion, bone in, limit 1, while supplies last
$1/8 pieces—Fresh Corn on the cob. limit 8
$.97/5 lb bag, Russett Potatoes, limit 2
$1.29/lb—Onions, Yellow or Red, Organic
$1.29/lb—Potatoes, Red or Yukon
$1/lb—Tomatoes, on the vine OR Green beans
$.69/lb—Turkey, Honeysuckle White, frozen, while supplies last
$1.77/lb—Ham, Hormel Cure 81, spiral sliced bone in
$1.57/lb—Chicken, boneless skinless breasts, sold from full service butcher counter
$1.99/lb—Beef, ground fresh daily, packages of 5 lb or more in the meat cast
$4.99/lb--Lamb, leg, bone in, One Nature (antibiotic and hormone free
Buy One get Three Free—Beef, chuck steaks, boneless
Other Good Deals
$2.99/each—Oroweat bread, select varieties
$1.25/each—Chili with Beans Hormel
$1.44/each—Lay’s, potato chips, classic and kettle cooked, and Sun chips, must buy 4 to get this price, limit 1 reward per purchase, select varieties.
$1.99/each—Ice Cream, Tillamook or Blue Bunny, 46-55 oz, select varieties
Buy 4 get $2 off—must buy in multiples of 4 to get special prices
$.79/each—LeSeur canned peas OR Chicken of the Sea chunk light tuna
$.99/each—Pillsbury, Brownie or cake mixes or frosting, select varieties
$1.29/each—C&H light brown sugar OR Dole pineapple, 20 oz can OR Maraschino Cherries
$.99/each—Oscar Mayar basic lunchables OR P3 lunchables, select varieties
$2.99/lb—Turkey, ground, 93%lean, Jennie O, 16 lb pkg, select varieties
If you are a just for U program member, there are some very good digital coupons this week:
$99/each—Water Refreshe, 24 pack, limit 1
$.99/each—Challenge Butter, l lb pkg, limit 2
$.49/each—Frozen vegetables, PictSweet, Steamers, limit 4
$3.99/each—Whole Rotisserie Chicken, limit 1
There are a few items on a special 4 day only sale, 4/12-4/15
$1.49/each—Nabisco crackers and Food Thins, select varieties, must buy 4, limit 1 reward
$4.77/each—Coffee, mostly K cups, 10 or 12 ct, and Don Francisco, 12 oz, must buy 3, limit 1 reward, select varieties
$3.97/lb - Beef Ribeye Roast, bone in, whole in bag
$5.99/lb—Beef-Rib Eye roast, bone in
Deal of the Week
$1/10 ears—that’s only a dime apiece! Sweet Corn
$.69/lb—Yams, garnet or jewel, OR green beans
$.88/lb—Tomatoes, on the vine
$.88/lb—Apples, Fuji or Gala
$1.67/each (3 for $5)—Berries,1 lb Strawberries, 6 oz Raspberries or 5.6 oz Blackberries
$1.98/each—Pineapples OR Whole seedless Watermelons
$1.77/lb—Pork, loin roast, while in bag
$1.77/lb—Chicken, breasts, boneless, skinless, value pack
$7.99/lb—Beef, Standing Rib Roast, Arizona grown
$6.99/lb—Lamb, Leg, boneless, pasture raised
$4.99/lb—Beef, ground, 93%lean, ground fresh in store daily, Arizona grown
Other Good Deals
$2/each—Fresh Baked Pastries, select varieties, 6-8 ct
$4.99/lb—Cheese, Swiss, Bulk Cut, in dairy case
25% off—Bulk Granola, select varieties
$4.99/lb—Bulk Dark Chocolate Walnuts,
$2.99/each—Simply Juice, 59 fl oz, select varieties
$2.99/lb—Butter, Sprouts brand, salted or unsalted
25% off—Coconut Baking Products, select varieties and sizes
$3/each—Baking Chips, Guittard, select varieties, 11.5-12 oz
35% off—All Rice Family Honey products
50% off—All Wheat Montana products
30% off—All Lundberg products (rice)
25% off a wide variety of health products, vitamins and supplements including:
All Tera’s Whey, All Natural Factors, All Jarrow Formulas
Select Varieties of:
Sprouts Liquid Vitamin B
Spectrum Fish Oil or DHA
Rainbow Light Multivitamins
And Many More
Baking Bread at altitudes over 300 feet can be tricky. Quick breads are notoriously difficult.These recipes have been adjusted to produce good results here in Prescott. But especially with the Orange Cranberry Bread the baker needs to be careful to let larger loaves get completely done. If the bread seems to be browning too much before the center is done, cover the top with foil and turn down the heat 25º.
For suggested adjustments for high altitude baking consult the websites on this topic by King Arthur Flour or Chef Megan Joy. Also helpful is the book “Pie in the Sky” by Susan Purdy.
If you would like to share your experiences with high altitude baking or recipes that work well for you, please leave Facebook comments below.
Orange Cranberry Bread
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 t salt
zest of 1 orange
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/3 cup orange marmalade (best you can find, especially if it doesn’t have corn syrup)
4 Tablespoons butter, melted and cooled (easier if you microwave it and don’t totally melt it, then stir with a fork
1 Tablespoon vanilla
1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 cup milk
1 cup dried cranberries, roughly chopped
1/2 cup candied mixed peel (or other dried fruit chopped)
1/2 cup nuts, chopped (optional)
Heat oven to 350º F.
Place the cranberries and other fruit (if using) in a small bowl. Pour the vanilla and a Tablespoon of the orange juice over them Stir well. Place in microwave for about 20 seconds, stir again and set aside.
Coat a 9x5x3 loaf pan with butter or Pam. Or use 2 3x5 pans or a 12 cup muffin tin.
In a large bowl, whisk the dry ingredients, flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, stir together the orange juice, marmalade, milk, beaten egg, butter, and orange zest. Stir well.
Add orange juice mixture to flour mixture all at one time. Stir well with a wooden spoon or silicone scraper. When almost mixed, add the fruit and nuts (if using.) Fold all together only until all flour is moistened and all ingredients are mixed.
Place the batter in whichever pans you have chosen. The cooking time will vary depending on the size of your pans. One large pan should take about 40 to 50 minutes, a small pan about 1/2 hour and muffins about 20 minutes. Test by sticking a toothpick into the middle. No batter should stick. Touch the top of the bread, it should feel springy, not squishy.
Remove the bread immediately to a cooling rack. Do not let it get more than just faintly warm. Wrap carefully in plastic and set aside for a few hours, overnight is better. Warm gently with several bursts of microwaves or wrap in foil and warm in a 200º oven. Serve warm with butter and additional marmalade.
Hot Cross Buns
These are a traditional Hot Cross Bun. In the Pinterest board below you will find that there are many many other types that inventive cooks have developed.
3/4 cup dried or candied fruit—currents are traditional, as is candied citrus peel. Many types of dried fruit are fine, died tart cherries (roughly chopped), dried pineapple (finely diced) or even finely snipped dried apricot.
1 Tablespoon brandy or rum or orange liqueur
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, some authorities recommend using part bread flour at high altitudes
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 cup milk warmed
1/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
4 Tablespoons butter, melted, then cooled
2 large eggs
grated zest of 2 oranges
1 package dried yeast, not rapid rise or instant (2 1/4 teaspoons)
1/4 cup warm water (about 90 degrees, not over 110 degrees)
The night before you plan to make the buns, put the dried/candied fruit in a small bowl. Pour the brandy over the fruit, mix well, cover tightly and set aside.
Combine 1 1/2 cup of the flour and the spices in a small bowl. Set aside.
Combine milk, sugar, salt, butter and eggs in a large bowl. Beat well.
Proof and hydrate your yeast. Sprinkle yeast over warm water. When dissolved stir. Then sprinkle a half teaspoon of sugar and a pinch of flour over it. Wait 10-15 minutes. The yeast should have become foamy. If it hasn’t become foamy by 25 minutes or so, your yeast is no longer alive. Go buy a new package. Proceed to the next step as soon as the yeast foams up—don’t let it get too much foam or you will be wasting its rising power.
Add dissolved yeast to milk mixture and stir. Now add the flour mixture, stir well. Let this sit in a warm place for about an hour. It should be bubbly and rise to a little less than double it’s original bulk.
Now add the remaining flour (about 2 cups) and stir in well. If the mixture does not form a shaggy rough mass, keep adding flour a tablespoon at a time until you have a dough which can be handled but is fairly sticky.
Either turn out dough on a floured surface and knead with floured hands or place in a mixer with a dough hook. Knead for about 10 minutes, until the dough is smooth and when you poke it ti springs back immediately. If using mixer, add the soaked fruit in about 2 minutes before you finish. If kneading by hand start folding it in after 5 or 6 minutes.
Place the dough in an oiled bowl, roll it around to coat with oil. Place out of drafts in a warmish place and let rise until almost doubled in bulk.
Deflate dough by pressing down on it in the middle and around the edges. Let it rest a few minutes. (The direction to “punch down” the dough is not literally correct—treat your dough gently at this point.) Now you need to form the rolls. Make about 12-14 equal pieces. The easiest way to do this is to weigh the dough, divide by 12 and make the pieces of equal weight. Kitchen shears work well for this purpose. If you don’t have a good kitchen scale (why not?) then form the dough into a rope and cut it in half, half again, and then thirds. Use a knife—it is much more accurate and doesn’t stress the dough.
Place on a parchment covered baking sheet, or in a 9x13 baking pan. I like the rolls to be separate, but many people like them to join together. Your choice.
Take each piece and shape into a ball. See the videos below for an illustration how to do this.
Return the baking sheet to that warmish place to rise again to double in bulk.
Heat your oven to 375º F. While the oven is heating, beat together 1 egg and 1 Tablespoon of warm water. Brush this over each bun.
Bake for about 15 minutes. When done the buns will be shiny, golden brown and sound hollow when you tap the bottom. Remove from oven and transfer to wire racks to cool covered by a tea towel.
When they are no longer warm make a thick mixture of powdered sugar and lemon juice. Place in a plastic bag or pastry bag. Pipe a cross on the top of the buns.
How to make roll shapes:
More shaping rolls...
One difficulty with the Hot Cross Buns is that , unlike the dinner rolls they are showing you, the buns are full of bits of fruit. The currents, especially, are always poking through and falling out. For the buns I prefer the “pull and pinch” method.
Here are some different methods and recipes for Hot Cross Buns. Just remember that they are working at or near sea level. We sometimes have to make adjustments to make things work.
And just for fun here are some videos about Mexican Easter celebrations.
Making cascarones Mexican Easter eggs...
Mexican Easter Bread, Capriotada
Barbacoa, roasted lamb