Happy Easter! Yes, I do realize that Easter was back on Sunday, but I really wanted to share this recipe for this beautiful Italian Easter Bread with you, even though I’m doing so a bit late. Truth be told, I had every intention to have this posted on Saturday morning, before Easter, but then life got in the way and it just didn’t happen. But hey, as it turns out, folks celebrate Easter every single year, so with this recipe already in hand you’ll be way ahead of the game for Easter 2019.
This light and airy Italian Easter bread is similar to brioche. Rich and only slightly sweet, it looks amazing on your Easter brunch table. If you have a real sweet tooth, you can amp up the sugar factor by adding a sweet glaze once it comes out of the oven. These lovely loaves are also a great way to display your brightly colored Easter Eggs.
I love trying out Easter breads from around the world. Last year I baked Tsoureki (Greek Easter Bread) . Tsoureki also has an egg or eggs baked into it.
I’ve also made Slovak Paska
And even tried my hand with the impressive Russian Kulich (Easter bread)
And of course every year I bake Apple Cinnamon Hot Cross Buns on Good Friday.
But let me get back to talking about this year’s offering – Italian Easter Bread. It was really very easy to make, rose like a champ and looked so festive on the brunch table. My only disappointment was the egg. The recipe said that you should use RAW eggs that have been dyed, not hard-boiled ones. The claim was that the eggs would cook perfectly as the bread baked. I was skeptical. I thought a baked egg would have a weird rubbery texture, but I was hopeful, so I did use raw eggs. Although it looks like Sprinkle Bakes (the blog on which I found this recipe) eggs came out great, mine did not. They were just not done, very runny. And I could not have left the bread in the oven for any longer than I did as it was perfectly golden. Turns out it wasn’t a disaster, we just ate around the offending egg. In the future I think I will just use a raw egg which has not been dyed, as a place holder in the oven. Once the bread is done baking, I will carefully remove that egg and swap it out for a perfectly hardboiled dyed egg. Another advantage of doing it that was is that you won’t have to worry about any of the eggs coloring bleeding onto the loaves. And don’t forget to rub your finished eggs with a little bit of oil to really make them shine!
So, once again I hope you will forgive my tardiness with this Easter post. Please keep this Italian Easter Bread at the ready for next year. Happy be-lated Easter!
Italian Easter Bread
recipe from: Sprinkle Bakes
- 1 1/4 cups (301 ml.) milk or half and half
- 1/3 cup (76 grams) unsalted butter
- 2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
- Pinch of salt (about 1/16 teaspoon)
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1/2 cup (100 grams) sugar
- 3 to 4 cups (408 to 544 grams) bread flour (approximate)
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon water
- Rainbow nonpareils
- 6 raw eggs, room temperature, dyed in rainbow colors *please see my above note on use of raw eggs
Combine the milk and butter in a small saucepan and place over medium-low heat. Warm just until the butter is completely melted and remove from the heat. Let cool until just warm.
Combine the yeast, salt, eggs and sugar in the bowl of a standing mixer. Add the warm milk and half of the flour. Knead with the dough hook until combined. Add more flour gradually until the dough starts to pull away from the sides of the mixer. You may not have to use all of the flour (but I did!). Knead the dough about 3-5 minutes longer, or until completely smooth and elastic.
Place the dough in a greased bowl and turn it over once to coat the top. Cover with plastic wrap and allow the dough to rise in a warm place, about 1 hour.
Gently deflate the dough with a fist. Turn it out onto a floured work surface and pat it down slightly so that the dough has an even thickness. Cut the dough into 12 even pieces. Roll each piece to form a 1-inch thick rope about 14 inches in length. Take two lengths and twist them together; loop the twist into a circle and pinch the ends together. Place the circle onto parchment lined baking sheets. Cover the loaves with plastic wrap and let rise again for 1 hour, or until doubled.
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Combine the egg and 1 teaspoon water in a small condiment cup. Using a pastry brush, lightly coat the loaves with the mixture. Sprinkle on the nonpareils and gently place a dyed egg in the middle of each loaf. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the bread is golden and fragrant. Let cool on wire racks..
- For a simple milk glaze, mix 1 cup of confectioners’ sugar with 1-2 tablespoons of milk. Whisk together until smooth. A little vanilla extract couldn’t hurt, either.
- After the dough is raised and turned out onto a work surface, 1/2 cup mixed candied fruit and 1/4 cup blanched almonds can be mixed in. 2 tablespoons of citrus zest may be added to the dough also.
Italian Easter Bread brought to you by: Runcible Eats www.leaandjay.com
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