Traditional Italian Easter Bread. Hmmm. So delish. If you are thinking about making rolls/bread this Easter, you just might want to consider this one. It's a sweet bread thats pretty simple to make especially if you have a kitchen-aid. I found this recipe a few years ago on The Italian Dish. She makes individual rolls/breads but I tend to like the larger braid better especially if serving to a big crowd. If you were having a smaller gathering, the individual sizes would work out great. When I took my bread class last year up in Vermont at King Arthur Flour, I bought a bag of this sparkling white sugar which is really coarse and great for sprinkling on sweet breads. It makes the bread nice and sparkly. Gorgeous, I tell you! Here's the recipe:
Italian Easter Bread
Adapted from: The Italian Dish
makes 6 individual breads or 1 large braided loaf
*I've included my notes in italics below if you want to make a braided loaf
- 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. I ended up using about 5 cups of flour before it wasn't 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. It took my dough about 2 hours to rise because it's still quite cold here in MA. Give yourself extra time esp. if you are preparing same day for a special occasion. I started at about 10 a.m. and it was done at 2:30 p.m.
Place on two baking sheets lined with parchment paper or on Silpat (1 baking sheet for the braided loaf). Cover and let rise until double, about an hour again. (Again, took about 2 hours for me) 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. Likewise, if you are making a braided loaf, gently tuck eggs throughout the bread and push town slightly. I initially was going to do 6 eggs, but as I started putting them in, I ended up using 4. I'll probably do 5 next time.
If making individual bread, bake at 350 degrees until golden - about 20 minutes. Cool on rack.
If making a braided loaf, bake at 350 degrees until golden- about 30 minutes. Cool on rack.
When the bread came out of the oven, I gently brushed it with a little bit of butter. Be careful when you do this because if the butter touches the eggs, it will cause the dye to bleed on the bread and then you'll have blue bread. Which I guess isn't the worst thing in the world. So regarding yesterdays post, I'm not saying I invented the chocolate no bake cookie. They have probably been around for 50 years. I get that. I don't even know where my recipe came from (if it was you, let me know!) I just have a handwritten recipe in my book that I wrote in probably 20 years ago. That makes me sound really old. My gripe was/is just having my pictures taken off my site. Ironically I can't even stand that no bake pic. Gag. It gets pinned like crazy on pinterest and I have no idea why. But I started thinking about those chocolate no bake cookies last night and thought they would make the cutest little birds nests for Easter so today, I decided to give it a shot. I used the recipe (here), made them as usual. I used a scoop to scoop them out so they were all about the same size and then made little indentations in the middle and used my fingers to shape the outside into a circle. You'll have to work quickly or have someone help you because by the time I scooped my last cookie, the first cookies were already starting to set. I took about a 3/4 of a cup of shredded coconut and added 2 drops of food coloring to turn it pale green. It's easiest to mix it up with your fingers. Set a little coconut grass inside each cookie and top with jelly beans or we used pastel colored junior mints.