Italian Easter Bread is an amazing tradition. Growing up in an Italian-American home, I lived for my grandmother’s homemade meatballs, braciole and delicious marinara. You’ll never be fed half as good as in an Italian grandmother’s house. Just listen for the sound of wine being poured and the loud shout of “Mangia!” to know it’s time to eat!
But Italian Easter Bread wasn’t something we really ate. I’m not sure if it’s because my gran preferred cooking to baking (though she made a mean Mock Apple Pie), but breads and pastries just weren’t on the menu. So it took me a LONG time to try real Italian Easter Bread. I finally managed it in a New York City bakery many years ago.
Italian Easter Bread is traditionally made as a sweet bread, braided into a wreath and set with dyed Easter eggs, which cook as the bread cooks. It looks amazing, and it’s definitely an interesting way of adding some fun and color to your Easter table. It serves as a really amazing centerpiece.
Of course, if I’m honest, I’m not a fan of eggs in my bread. I find Italians like to lace many dishes with eggs, including lasagna, which has layers of sliced hard-boiled eggs. I can’t stand it. But to each their own. This particular Italian Easter Bread recipe leaves out the eggs, but color is added in with the addition of fun pastel sprinkles. If you want to add eggs yourself, just remember to dye them raw, sink them into your bread once formed, and bake just the same.
Without further ado, here is the Easy Italian Easter Bread recipe for your enjoyment.
Here’s what you’ll need:
2 1/2 cups flour
¼ cup sugar
⅔ cup milk
2 ½ tsp active dry yeast
2 tbs butter
1 tsp salt
Melted butter for brushing
In a bowl, mix your flour, sugar, salt and yeast.
Gently warm your milk and butter, and then add it to your flour mixture and blend with an electric mixer. Add eggs and blend again. Keep mixing until your dough pulls together.
Drop it onto a floured surface and knead until smooth. Brush the dough ball with oil, place in a large bowl, and cover with a damp towel. Let it rise for 1 hour.
Once risen, turn out the dough onto a floured surface and divide it into two pieces. Shape these pieces into long snakes, rolling them out fairly thin. Twist your two rolls together and form them into a circle or oval shape.
Lay your wreath onto a baking pan and cover with a towel for another ten minutes.
Brush your bread with melted butter just before putting it in the oven.
Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes, keeping watch after 20 to make sure it doesn’t burn. Then, remove from oven and let cool.
For your icing, mix 2 cups of powdered sugar together with 1 – 2 tablespoons of milk. Whisk them until you have a thick paste.
Drizzle your icing onto your bread, and then top with your favorite sprinkles. Let it harden for a few minutes, and then serve!
How utterly amazing does this look? You really get an Easter vibe from it, don’t you? It is so gorgeous and absolutely delicious. This isn’t the kind of bread you’re going to be eating with a salad – it is strictly between courses or even a dessert. But I guarantee it is something that will be remembered every Easter for the rest of time!