Nothing says Happy Easter more than delicious and decorative Easter Bread! Pane di Pasqua is a very popular dessert in Italy around Easter time and varies from region to region. Easter Bread is usually eaten for dessert, and many also give the loaves as an Easter gift. Continue reading to learn how to make this delightful treat!
For the Dough
- 2 1/4 tsp dry yeast
- 1 cup warm whole milk (100 F – 115 F)
- 3 eggs
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp lemon zest
- 1 tsp orange zest
- 3/4 cup / 165 g sugar
- 5 cups / 700 g 00 flour (sifted)
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 cup / 4 tbsp. / 5.75 g butter, softened at room temperature, not melted.
Egg Wash Ingredients
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 tbsp milk
- 4 colored raw egg (for decoration)
Easter Bread Instructions
- Warm milk the cup of milk to 100 F and 115 F. No less because the yeast will take much longer to activate and no more because the yeast can die out from the heat. Once at temperature, combine dry yeast. Cover and let sit for 10 – 25 minutes.
- While the yeast is activating, prepare the other ingredients. Wash an orange and lemon and grate their peels to collect the zest.
- In a bowl, whisk together the sugar, salt, and eggs, until it thickens and is thoroughly mixed. Add in the yeast and milk mixture and whisk to combine well.
- Add in cut pieces of the slightly melted butter and whisk together.
- Sift the flour into a large mixing bowl.
- Add 1/2 of the flour and mix with a mixer hook (wooden spoon can work too) until well combined.
- Add the vanilla and the citrus zest and continue mixing. Gradually add the rest of the flour, mixing just until everything is evenly combined. Slowly add a little bit more flour and blend in if the dough feels to wet.
8. Form the dough into a ball. The dough should be elastic and smooth.
9. Transfer the dough to a working surface powdered with flour to knead.
10. Lightly grease a mixing bowl with butter and powder with ta little flower. Place the dough ball to the bowl and cover it with a cloth.
11. Let the dough rise in a warm place for 2-3 hours until it doubles its size. A good place for the dough to rise is in a warm oven. Turn on the oven for 2 minutes until warm and then shut off.
12. Prepare the egg wash for brushing the bread by whisking together 1 egg yolk and 1 tbsp milk. Keep it in the fridge.
13. Prepare the colorful decorative eggs. Carefully color raw eggs using an egg coloring kit. For pastel colors, shorten the length of time eggs stay in the dye.
13. After the dough has risen, the dough into a large ball.13.Divide the dough into 2 balls. Cut each ball in half and roll them into ropes. Form braids with the ropes onto a baking sheet, leaving openings large enough to place the eggs. Place eggs into the openings and cover the braided dough with a cloth. Let them rise for 30-45 minutes until they double their size.
15. Preheat oven to 350F.
16. After the dough has risen, brush the braided dough with egg wash and place the colored eggs into the spaces of the braids.
17. Bake for 25 – 30 minutes until the top is golden brown. Rotate the baking pan halfway through baking. To test if it is fully cooked, insert a toothpick to see if the toothpick comes out clean.
18. Once cooked, let the loaves cool at room temperature. The Easter bread can be frozen or stored in the fridge in plastic wrap
There you have it, your traditional Easter Bread recipe! Please comment any questions below and check out my Cuisine page for more tasty recipes. Don’t forget to subscribe to my blog and follow Simply Signorina on social media.