Italian Easter Bread Recipe
(Pane di Pasqua all ‘Uovo)
With Easter just around the corner, we’ve decided to share an Italian Easter Bread recipe that’s been a secret for generations. But we feel such a close bond with you, our Fiesta friends, that we feel compelled to share it with you. However, this recipe comes with a fair warning. It’s not for the faint of heart: be prepared to set aside about half a day to prepare it. Trust us when we tell you, it is so worth it!
But really, the waiting and preparation is all part of the fun when you turn it into a family group effort. They’re the moments you’ll cherish forever.
So tie on your Fiesta apron strings, bring out your Baking Bowl Set and get ready to make a family tradition. It’s Easter Bread time!
With the colorful eggs and sprinkles in this recipe, it really is quite Fiesta-y. We like to coordinate the sprinkles with the color of the eggs and our Easter tablescape. For a Fiesta enthusiast, it’s kind of a dream come true.
After you dye your eggs, it’s time to activate the yeast and get to the bread baking. If you’ve never made bread using active dry yeast, don’t be afraid! It’s not nearly as daunting as it might seem.
After some mixing, setting and rising, the next “challenging” moment, if you haven’t done it before, might be kneading the dough. If you don’t have an experienced aunt nearby who can show you the art of kneading dough, a simple look up on YouTube will have you well on your way.
- 5 eggs
- 2 packages active dry yeast
- 1/2 cup warm water
- 1/2 cup warm water
- 1 1/2 cups sifted flour
- 3/4 cup shortening
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon grated lemon peel
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 eggs
- 1 egg white
- 4 1/2 to 4 3/4 cups sifted flour
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 tablespoon milk
- Tiny multicolored candies
- Lightly butter a Fiesta Pizza/Baking Tray.
- Dip 5 uncooked eggs in food dye to color (follow directions on package) and set aside.
- Soften 2 packages active dry yeast in ½ cup warm water (110 degrees F to 115 degrees F). Let stand 5-10 minutes.
- Meanwhile pour 1/2 cup warm water into a large bowl and blend in 1 ½ cups sifted flour.
- Stir softened yeast and add to flour-water mixture, mixing well. Beat until very smooth. Cover bowl with waxed paper and towel and let stand in warm place (about 80 degrees F) for 1 ½ to 2 hours.
- Cream together until shortening is softened: ¾ cup shortening, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 1 tablespoon grated lemon peel.
- Add gradually, creaming until fluffy after each addition, a mixture of: 1 cup sugar and 1 teaspoon salt.
- Beat until thick and piled softly: 2 eggs and 1 egg white. Add beaten eggs in thirds to sugar mixture, beating thoroughly after each addition. Add yeast mixture, mixing well.
- Measure: 4 ½ to 4 ¾ cups sifted flour. Add about one-half the flour to yeast mixture and beat until very smooth. Mix in enough remaining flour to make a soft dough. Knead on a lightly floured surface.
- Select a deep bowl just large enough to allow dough to double. Shape dough into a smooth ball and place into a greased bowl. Turn dough to bring greased surface to top. Cover bowl with waxed paper and towel and let dough rise until doubled (about 1 ½ to 2 hours).
- Punch down with fist. Divide dough into two equal balls. Let stand covered for 10 minutes.
- Roll each ball out into a long roll about 36 inches long and 1 to 1 ½ inches thick. Using the two long pieces of dough, form a loosely braided ring, leaving spaces for the five colored eggs. Place on the prepared Fiesta Pizza/Baking Tray. Place colored eggs into the spaces of braid. Cover loosely with towel. Set dough aside in a warm place until doubled.
- Bake at 350 degrees F for 10 minutes.
- Brush bread with a mixture of: 1 egg yolk and 1 tablespoon milk.
- Sprinkle with tiny multicolored candies.
- Bake 40 to 45 minutes or more or until bread is golden brown. (Eggs will be hard-cooked.)
You’ll notice a lot of downtime during this process, which is perfect for family games or making Easter baskets. If you do end up making Easter Egg Bread a part your Easter family tradition this year, please share photos with us on Facebook and tell us about some of your Easter traditions too!