Tuesday, March 22, 2022

Italian Easter Bread + Video

Italian Easter bread features a tender, sweet dough baked with a colorful egg in the center. Top with simple syrup and colorful sprinkles!

Every family has their own special holiday traditions, and one of ours is making braided Italian bread for Easter.

Pane di Pasqua, which literally translates to “Easter bread,” has long been a staple on spring holiday tables across Italy.

Deliciously tender and lightly sweet, these braided baskets are like a festive present for each of your guests!

Italian Easter Bread on a cutting board

Italian Easter Bread

While we prefer a sweet Easter bread, you could easily make a savory version. Vegetables, garlic, sun-dried tomatoes — the options for additions are nearly endless!

Create more traditional Italian treats at home with my recipes for struffoli (crispy honey balls) or pignoli and wedding cookies.

And if you need an entree to steal the show, you can’t do better than Papa’s Braciole!

Recipe Tips and Tricks

  • Take your time. While this Italian Easter bread recipe may be time consuming, the finished product is well worth the wait! Don’t rush the process — a double rise is key to that delicious tender texture.
  • Use fresh yeast. This one is my favorite. It’s important to have a really good yeast, and I keep mine in the freezer in a mason jar for optimum freshness.
  • Don’t boil the eggs! They will cook through in the oven, so all you need to do is color them first. If chilled, set them on the counter while you prepare the dough to bring them to room temperature.
  • Serve immediately. Every part of this Easter bread with eggs can be eaten fresh from the oven. If you’ll be making this ahead of time, remove each egg from the center and keep them in the refrigerator. Then, pop them right back in the middle before serving.
Italian Easter Bread kneading dough

Kitchen Tools You Will Need
pane di pasqua cut into pieces

Italian Easter Bread FAQ

What is best way to store Sicilian Easter bread?

First, gently remove the eggs and store them in the refrigerator for up to a week. Your pane di pasqua can be kept at room temperature for 4 to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 2 months.

Either way, place it in a zippered storage bag or airtight container to prevent it from drying out.

easter bread recipe formed into rolls

How do you make simple syrup?

No need to spend money at the store. Just combine equal parts water and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat.

Stir occasionally until it starts to bubble and the sugar is dissolved. Then, let it cool to room temperature. You can use the syrup immediately or store in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to a month.

Can I double this Easter bread recipe?

Technically, yes — I would recommend making several batches at once since there’s only so much room in your mixer!

But as long as you have space in the oven, you can easily bake more than one tray at a time.

italian easter bread brushed with egg

Enjoy!

With love from our simple kitchen to yours. 

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Italian Easter Bread wide photo




Yield: 6
Author: Donna Elick
Italian Easter Bread

Italian Easter Bread

Italian Easter bread features a tender, sweet dough baked with a colorful egg in the center. Top with simple syrup and colorful sprinkles!
Prep time: 25 MinCook time: 25 MinInactive time: 2 H & 30 MTotal time: 3 H & 20 M

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter + 1 tablespoon, divided
  • 1 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs, divided
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3-4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup simple syrup*see Cook's note
  • Nonpareil sprinkles
  • 6 large eggs, uncooked and colored

Instructions

  1. Combine milk and 1/2 cup of butter in saucepan over low and cook until butter melts. Pour butter mixture into bowl of stand mixer.
  2. Allow mixture to cool to 110°-120° degrees. Add yeast and sugar. Stir to combine. Allow mixture to stand for 10 minutes so yeast can bloom.
  3. Meanwhile: Beat 2 eggs and set aside. In a separate bowl beat the remaining egg and add 1 tablespoon water and whisk to combine. Set aside.
  4. Add 2 beaten eggs, vanilla extract and 2 cups of flour. Combine with the dough hook attachment. Add flour 1/2 cup at a time until dough is not sticky anymore. I use the full 4 cups. Knead bread dough until smooth with the dough hook, about 5 minutes.
  5. Turn out onto floured surface and knead until you have a smooth ball. Place 1 tablespoon butter in large glass bowl and microwave for 30 seconds. Place dough in greased bowl and flip to coat both sides. Cover with plastic wrap and a towel and let rise until doubled (about 90 minutes).
  6. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Punch dough down, divide into 12 pieces.
  7. Roll each piece to form a 1 inch thick rope about 12-14 inches long. Taking two pieces, braid together, pinching the ends, and loop into a circle.
  8. Place circle on a parchment lined baking sheet and lightly cover and let rise until doubled in size (about 60 minutes).
  9. Preheat oven to 350°F. Brush each bread ring with egg wash and set dyed Easter egg in the center of the ring, gently pushing down to make an indentation in the bread. Bake until golden brown, approximately 20-25 minutes.
  10. Cool for 10 minutes on the baking sheet.
  11. Remove from pan and place on cooling rack. Brush each Easter bread with simple syrup and sprinkle with Nonpareil sprinkles. Serve and enjoy!
DONNA'S NOTES
  1. Simple Syrup can be made by combining 1 part sugar and 1 part water in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook until it comes to a boil and sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature. Store in refrigerator until ready to use (keeps for several days).

Italian Easter Bread close up

Originally published April 2012, updated and republished MArch 2022

https://amzn.to/2npi3zd

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37 comments:

  1. LOVE it! so colorful. i adore sweet breads. Happy Easter! :)

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  2. This looks adorable. I'm sure the kids would love it. Question for you though. You are baking an egg that is already hardboiled? How does the egg taste after that? Is it just for appearance at that point? Or would you still eat the egg?

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    Replies
    1. The egg is uncooked, but dyed when you place it in the oven. It cooks in the oven. It will come out hard cooked, or soft cooked depending on how long you bake your bread. If you are serving right away the egg is fantastic to eat, otherwise you need to remove the egg from the bread and refrigerate. When you are ready to serve, place the egg back on the bread.

      Delete
    2. Ok, that makes sense. It didn't occur to me that you were dying uncooked eggs. That is very cool. Thanks for the reply. I knew I'd forget to ask you later. :) Hope your day is a great one!

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  3. SO cute and clever, I love this!! Happy Easter. :)

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  4. never thought to make easter bread for easter? Duh! Its a genius idea and the bread looks so utterly delicious

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  5. Wow, this is so cute and adorable! A perfect bread for Easter! Love it!

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  6. This is so amazing, love the post! I can't help but fall for all these versions of Easter breads, but the pastel center piece eggs are just so adorable. So when are you mailing me a loaf? :)

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  7. What beautiful Easter breads! I like that you can make different variations on the dough as well. I've pinned this on my Easter board. Happy Easter!

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  8. I love this:)) So pretty and festive!! Just pinned!

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  9. This looks easy and good! What is simple syrup?

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    Replies
    1. Simple syrup can be made by adding 1/4 cup sugar and 1/4 cup water to a saucepan and cook until it comes to a boil and sugar is melted. Cool to room temp. Enjoy!

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  10. what do you mean by 'simple syrup'?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Simple syrup can be made by adding 1/4 cup sugar and 1/4 cup water to a saucepan and cook until it comes to a boil and sugar is melted. Cool to room temp. Enjoy!

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  11. What do you suggest if you don't have a stand mixer, thanks.

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  12. My mother in law always used to make these and send them to us, some she made in a different shape. Happy Easter!

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  13. Lovely Easter bread Donna. If you felt like adding it to the Food on Friday: easter foods collection that would be fab! Cheers from Carole's Chatter

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  14. Can you use the bread machine to make the dough and finish it ?

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  15. Dumb question.... Is the simple syrup mixed with the egg for the egg wash?? I have read this recipe 10 times and not sure if I am missing something. Just can't see where to ass simple syrup.

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    Replies
    1. Not dumb at all do NOT mix as simple syrup with egg wash. Do it this way when your ready to bake the bread brush with egg wash, when it's done and you pull it out to cool brush with the simple syrup and sprinkles

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  16. Where do I add the simple syrup?? Is it with the egg wash?? I have read recipe a bunch of times and not sure if I am missing something. Sorry rookie Easter bread maker LOL

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  17. am making these as we speak!!! recipe is clear and easy, just my style. will serve them at my son's house with dinner tomorrow, Easter Sunday.. Happy Easter!!

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  18. and I did mine by hand (no dough mixer!!)

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    Replies
    1. That is awesome Ang! Have a happy Easter and enjoy.

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  19. as an italian its better to use...icing sugar,squeeze of lemon and little water..mixing it.needs to be stiff...and drizzled..my mom makes these every easter....itailian background....this is a must at easter..we also make into the infinity shape with two eggs...for families to prosper....

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  20. How about the colored eggs; can you cool, peel and eat them or are they just for decoration?

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  21. Hello: I am wondering if anyone knows if these can be frozen after baked. I would imagine you would not put the egg in it. I am Italian and grew up around several WONDERFUL Italian ladies. I saw it done with the egg and without. I have made them for years without the egg but never tried freezing them. ANY help appreciated. Thanks

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I just had this conversation with a friend who has been making these with her family for years... she actually makes some without the egg in the middle & does freeze the bread so she can have some throughout the year..

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  22. Would love to try these, looks so good.

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  23. Can I use bread machine to make this dough?

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  24. Bread machine to make dough?

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  25. It is said "and Video".
    I cannot FIND where I can view a video...
    Where is it? Is there really a video?

    Thank you,
    Joe

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  26. This has been a family favorite since I was a little girl. ( I'm eighty!) I add the zest of an orange to the dough, and some juice to the simple syrup. I use pasteurized eggs because I let the dyed eggs sit at room temp so that they are dry when I put them in the dough. This way the y don't sweat and have the color run into the dough.

    ReplyDelete

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