Easter in Italy is perhaps a bigger holiday than in many other countries. In fact, most of the ancient world today celebrates the holiday in a different way than others. This bread was first created more than 1,500 years ago by Italian bakers. No dyed eggs were used then, but eventually, they became a standard component everywhere Easter breads are made. Simply a wonderful bread.
Italian Easter Bread

Italian Easter Bread
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Serve simply, with only a little butter, honey or jam, as a dessert, or, plain, as one of the breads served with dinner. In Italian traditions, this may be served in the early part of the meal to celebrate the religious aspects of the holiday and honor its purpose.
Author:
Recipe type: Bread, Dessert
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 1 loaf
Ingredients
  • 1/4 Cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 2 1/2 to 3-1/2 Cups unbleached flour
  • 2/3 Cup milk
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 2 eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/2 Cup mixed candied fruit
  • 1/3 Cup chopped blanched almonds.
  • 1/2 teaspoon anise seed
  • 2 Tablespoons melted shortening
  • 5 uncooked eggs colored with Easter egg dye*
Icing:
  • 1 Cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon milk
  • 1/8 teaspoon vanilla
  • colored sprinkles
Instructions
  1. In a large mixing bowl, blend the sugar, salt, and yeast well with 1 cup of the flour.
  2. In a saucepan, combine milk and butter, heating slowly over a low flame until liquid is warm and butter is melted. Do not boil.
  3. Pour the milk into the dry ingredients and beat 125 strokes with a wooden spoon. Add eggs and 1/2 Cup flour or enough to make a thick batter. beat vigorously for 2 minutes This may be done with a mixer, but hand mixing is better.
  4. Then stir in enough flour to make a ball of dough that draws away from the sides of the bowl. Turn out onto a floured board and knead for about 10 minutes, working in additional flour to overcome stickiness.
  5. Place the dough in a greased bowl, turning to grease the top. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and put in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in bulk about 1 hour.
  6. Meanwhile, combine the fruit,nuts, and anise seed. Punch down the dough and return it to a lightly floured board.
  7. Knead in the fruit mixture, keeping the syrupy pieces dusted with flour until they are worked into the dough.
  8. Divide the dough in half. Carefully roll each piece into a 24 inch rope - the fruit and nuts will make this slightly difficult. Loosely twist the two ropes together, and form a ring on a greased baking sheet.
  9. Pinch the ends together well. Brush the dough with melted shortening. Push aside the twist to make a place for each egg.
  10. Push eggs down carefully as far as possible, taking care not to break the eggs.
  11. Cover the bread with wax paper and let rise in a warm, draft-free place until double in bulk, about 1 hour.
  12. Bake the bread in a preheated 350 degree F oven for about 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in a twist (a thick area) comes out clean.
  13. Place on a wire rack to cool. Once the bread is cool, drizzle the icing on top between the eggs, and decorate with colored sprinkles.
  14. Makes 1 loaf.
Notes
We recommend using vegetable dyes to make the eggs, not commercial chemical dyes.

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