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Wednesday
Mar192008

Italian Easter Bread


Buona Pasqua!  I've made this Easter bread for years for my kids. It's a sweet bread, made with milk and sugar and has an Easter Egg in the middle! There's a lot of Italian recipes for Easter breads, some are savory and some are sweet. This one is fun.

Italian Easter Bread

for a printer friendly recipe, click here
makes 6 individual loaves
Ingredients:
  • 1 package Rapid Rise yeast
  • 1.25 cups scalded milk, cooled to room temperature
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/3 cup butter, softened
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3.5 cups flour (approximate)
  • 1 egg, beaten with 1 teaspoon of water
  • 6 dyed Easter eggs
  • sprinkles
 

tip: the Easter eggs do not need to be hard boiled. They cook when the bread bakes. I usually just dye the eggs right out of the fridge, without hardboiling them. Saves time. Just be careful they don't crack!

Instructions:

In a large mixer bowl, combine yeast, warm (not hot) milk, salt, butter, eggs and sugar. Add about half the flour and beat until smooth with dough hook.   Slowly add the remaining flour to form a stiff dough. Don't worry about how much flour it ends up being, just keep adding until the dough is not sticky anymore.  Knead until smooth with either dough hook attachment or turn out on floured board and knead. Place in a greased bowl, cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about an hour.

Punch dough down, divide into 12 pieces. Roll each piece to form a 1 inch thick rope about 14 inches long and, taking two pieces, twist to form a "braid", pinching the ends,  and loop into a circle.

Place on a greased baking sheet or line your baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat. Cover and let rise until double, about an hour again. Brush each bread with beaten egg wash. Put on the sprinkles. In the middle of each bread ring, gently place an Easter egg, making an indentation with the egg.

Bake at 350 degrees until golden - about 20 - 25 minutes. Cool on rack.

 

** Note:  For an updated version of this bread, see my most recent Easter Bread post.  It's made with golden eggs and pearl sugar:


Another cute idea for Easter is making these Edible Egg Nests for your table:

 

 You might also like to try Italian Easter Torta (Torta Pasqualina): 


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Reader Comments (163)

So, my mom has been looking for a new recipe. The last few years our bread just hadn't been coming right. I chose yours due to the comments....HOLY COW!!!! My mom was ecstatic! They came out so amazing and delicious...only difference is we added almond extract and we add an almond glaze once they are cooled. Thank you so much for sharing your recipe! This one is going in our recipe books. Happy Easter.

March 27, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterLisa

So, my mom has been looking for a new recipe. The last few years our bread just hadn't been coming right. I chose yours due to the comments....HOLY COW!!!! My mom was ecstatic! They came out so amazing and delicious...only difference is we added almond extract and we add an almond glaze once they are cooled. Thank you so much for sharing your recipe! This one is going in our recipe books. Happy Easter.

March 27, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterLisa

Okay, I checked with a baker. Let your dough rise once, then punch it down and shape your loaves. Drape it VERY LOOSELY with plastic wrap (to keep it from drying out) and refrigerate it overnight. Leave room for it to rise in the fridge. Bring the dough to room temp before you bake it. Buona fortuna!

March 29, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterSister Julianna

Our family originated in the Marche province. I've been making Easter breads for years like my mother did. We make the breads differently for boys and girls. Ours look similar but we don't braid the bread, just make a round shape to put into a greased small round pan and push an egg into the middle. A small rope of dough is placed across the egg and the ends pushed into the round dough. These are "baskets" which are made for the boys. I don't know how to spell it but we call them "scarcees".

For the girls we shape the dough into a doll with body, head, arms and legs. The egg is pushed into the stomach of the doll and a small rope of dough is placed across the egg and pressed into the dough body. The heads of the dolls are given faces, using one clove each for the eyes and nose and four cloves for the mouth.

I use medium sized uncooked eggs as large eggs may not cook completely during the baking. We do not dye our eggs, add fruit or decorate it with a glaze.

March 27, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMonica

How far in advance can you make these?

April 5, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterAlyssa

We want to make Easter Bread in loaf pans as my mother-in-law did rather than braids. How would you adapt your recipe?

April 8, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJohn

I make 1 pound round loaves. I bake them for 30 mins. at 350 degrees, brush them with egg and milk egg wash, then bake 5 mins more until glossy. Just made 24 loaves this way! (Bakesale tomorrow)

April 8, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterSister Julianna

From The Italian Dish:

Alyssa: They are, by far, best fresh and eaten the day you make them. If you have to, you can make them the day before and wrap them with plastic wrap.

John: I have never made these in loaf pans. If you want to try that, I would just bake them until they look golden brown.

Sister Julianna: I am truly in awe of you - 24 loaves!! That's amazing.

April 8, 2017 | Registered Commenter[Elaine]

Hi! What is the best way to store the bread?
Thanks for all your wonderful recipes!

April 15, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMsHair

I would wrap it in plastic wrap and put into the refrigerator, then bring it to room temp to serve. My loaves dried out pretty quickly.

Of course you cannot use plastic wrap if there ar candies on top. Those will run and mar the look of your breatuiful loaves!

This bread freezes well. I wrapped mine in plastic AND foil to protect it.

April 15, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterSister Julianna

My mom use to make this every Easter, and it took hours to make, This recipe made it easier, except when I was reading it I knew that it would not taste the same. True Italian Easter bread should have flavor to it. You need to add grated lemon and orange rind to it, plus lemon and orange juice also you need to add some vanilla and almond extract, when kneading the dough add some golden raisins and some chopped nuts to it. This gives you authentic Italian Easter bread. If you have children a southern Italian tradition was to bury a silver dollar in the bread.

April 18, 2017 | Unregistered Commenterfrank

Frank - I generally make the recipe as printed in the blog but I have added 1 t. of Fiori di Sicilia to the bread a few times. It's a combination of citrus and vanilla, which may provide the familiar taste to you. I find it amazing just the way it is ~ and I also enjoy it toasted (remove the egg and slice in half before putting in the toaster). <3

April 18, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJudi

From The Italian Dish:

Frank: Thanks for the tips!

Judi: I love Fiori di Sicilia - it would be a great addition!

April 18, 2017 | Registered Commenter[Elaine]

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