When I first posted the recipe for Italian Easter Bread three years ago, I couldn't believe the response. Every year as Easter approaches, I still get many e-mails about this recipe, so I thought I would make it again in a little different way and this also gives me the chance to update the recipe a little.
This bread is a sweet, delicious bread and so kids love it. When I've made it for my kids I've usually topped it with colored sprinkles and eggs dyed different colors. This year, I made golden eggs and topped the breads with Swedish Pearl Sugar from Lars, which doesn't melt when you bake the bread and looks pretty.
Italian Easter Bread
for a printable recipe, click here
makes 6 breads
- 1 package Rapid Rise (instant) yeast, about 2-1/4 teaspoons
- 1.25 cups milk
- pinch of salt
- 1/3 cup butter
- 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 or pearl sugar
* tip: the Easter eggs do not need to be hard boiled. They cook when the bread bakes. I usually just dye the eggs uncooked, without hardboiling them. Saves time. Just be careful they don't crack!
In a small saucepan, warm the milk and butter together, just till butter melts. In a large mixer bowl, combine yeast, salt, eggs and sugar. Add the warm (not hot - it will kill the yeast) milk and butter. 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 two baking sheets lined with parchment paper or Silpats. Cover and let rise until double, about an hour again. Brush each bread with beaten egg wash. Put on the sprinkles or sugar. 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 minutes. Cool on rack.
You can eat the eggs, but if you leave the bread sitting out for a few hours, don't eat them. Common sense.
. . . or you can use sprinkles and colored eggs:
Try another Italian Easter recipe, Easter Torta: