This Italian Easter bread is a traditional recipe for Easter, of course. They are braided loaves, which form a circle around an egg.Jump to recipe
I love the idea of having many coloured eggs, because it makes everything more tender. Now, the eggs are baked together with the bread, in the oven, so the result is hard-boiled or boiled eggs, although sometimes they are softer.
These eggs can be eaten with the bread or on the side. I like to use them afterwards to make an egg salad for example.
There is something beautiful about celebrating the little things, and not just the little things, all of them, but especially the little things. It’s important to celebrate things to realise how lucky we are. These breads seem to me a very nice way to spend time with the family and also to pay attention to the specific season we are in.
These breads are very charming, because of the shape, the colours, and the fact that they have an egg in the middle, because it is something different.
The bread itself represents the change of season, and the arrival of spring. It is considered “the bread of life” and the use of eggs has a lot to do with this. Easter represents nature’s signs of new life, and the celebration of the rebirth of Christ.
Now, there are some important points to make this bread. First, the eggs, we can put them raw in the center of the bread and put the whole thing in the oven. If we do this, what we will get are soft eggs, a bit cooked inside and quite raw, depending on your oven. So, our recommendation is to cook them before painting them and then paint them, and when they are dry put them in the center of the bread.
As for dyeing or painting the eggs. It is important to use edible dyes, the ones made for food. We usually paint the eggs using several cups, for each color. We put some warm or hot water in each cup, and then we put gel or liquid coloring in each cup, depending on the colors we want to make, and then we put each egg in the respective cup, and we leave it there for at least 40 minutes, so that they get well colored. Then we have to take them out and let them dry completely before using them to put in the center of the breads.
If you like this recipe, you have to check out our recipe for homemade butter, which is spectacular.
Italian easter bread
- 1 1/4 C whole milk, at room temperature
- 1 tbsp brown sugar
- 2 1/2 tsp dry active yeast
- 1/3 C unsalted butter, softened
- 2 eggs, big
- 1/2 C white granulated sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 4 1/2 – 5 C all purpouse flour
- 1 egg, big, for an eggwash
- 6 dyed eggs
- 2 tbsp milk or water, for decorating
- Confectioners sugar, for decorating
- In a small bowl pour the warm milk, it should be neither hot nor cold. Add the brown sugar and mix with a spoon. Then add the yeast on the surface of the milk. Let it stand for at least 8 minutes so that it starts to rise.
- In a large bowl, with a stand mixer, with the dough hook (spatula) on. Add to this bowl the mixture of milk, butter, eggs, sugar, salt and 3 1/2 cups of the flour. Mix using a rubber spatula first and then start beating with the mixer. (All this can also be done by hand, mixing and starting to knead).
- Beat the mixture until everything is combined. Then add the rest of the flour until a dough forms. Now, the dough will be very sticky, but try to avoid adding too much flour, the key is to keep kneading, even when it seems to be going nowhere. Knead for 4 to 5 minutes, this can be done with a mixer or by hand. The dough will gradually take more and more shape.
- Place the dough in another bowl, with a little vegetable oil, and cover with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel, and let it rest in a dark and slightly warm place, to make the dough rise and double its size, about 1 hour.
- Then place the dough on the kitchen counter or a clean surface with a little flour. Cover a baking sheet with baking paper and set aside until needed.
- Divide the dough into 12 equal sized pieces. Roll out each piece of dough into strips about 35 cm long and 2 cm wide each. Use a little flour to do this if necessary.
- Take 2 strips of dough or "ropes" and join them together from the top, and start rolling one over the other, as if it were a braid of two, and finish by joining the end of both strips by pressing them together. Now, form a circle with the dough braid, and join the ends of the braid to close the circle, leaving a space in the middle to put an egg. Transfer each braid circle to the baking sheet and place the painted egg in the center of the circle.
- Do this with all the dough pieces, making 6 circles or crowns with an egg in the center. Cover the crowns with a kitchen towel and put back in a dark place to rise for 30 minutes.
- While the bread rests, preheat the oven to 180º C.
- When the dough has rested, beat the egg and use it to glaze the dough crowns, avoiding putting beaten egg on top of the colored eggs.
- Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until the bread is golden brown and cooked through. Remove from the oven and let it cool before serving. Make the icing by mixing milk or water with powdered sugar until the desired texture is obtained. Glaze the wreaths and decorate with colored sprinkles.
- The bread will keep for 3 days, wrapped in plastic wrap at room temperature. Remove the eggs from the bread before eating while eating, and eat the eggs any way you prefer.