Italian Easter Sweet Bread

Here is one more Easter recipe. I sometimes make this sweet Easter loaf to go with our Italian Easter dinner. It is moist, soft, and sweet and looks very inviting on a holiday table. The dough is generally easy to work with, but the trick to producing a moist soft bread is to maintain a somewhat sticky dough. Don’t use too much flour, and remember that it is a rustic loaf and does not have to look picture perfect; just colorful and festive. This recipe can easily be made dairy free using almond milk and a butter substitute. It can also be flavored with anise seeds or lemon extract. I often use this dough recipe to make Christmas sweet breads as well.

Italian Easter Sweet Bread
3/4 Tbsp. yeast
generous pinch of sugar
1/2 c. warm water
2/3 c. sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 c. milk, warmed
1/3 c. unsalted butter, melted
1 Tbsp. orange zest
1-1/2 tsp. lemon zest
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3/4 tsp. kosher salt
3-1/2 – 4 c. flour
1 egg beaten with a pinch of salt for egg wash
colored nonpareil sprinkles
12-14 colored eggs

In a small bowl combine yeast, a pinch of sugar, and warm water. Let sit 5 minutes to foam. Pour yeast mixture into a large mixing bowl. Add sugar, eggs, milk, and butter. Mix well. Add citrus zests, vanilla, and salt. Mix. Add 2 cups flour. Mix well. Add another cup of flour and mix. Add about 3/4 cup more flour to make a sticky dough. (You may need a bit more flour.) Knead slightly while still in the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise 1-1/2 hours until doubled. Divide dough into 6 pieces and, on a floured surface, roll each piece into a 14-inch long rope. Cover and let the ropes sit 10 minutes. Take two of the ropes and braid into a long braided loaf, or bring the ends together to make a circular braid. You will make 3 loaves with the 6 ropes. You can also do a three-rope braid for 2 larger loaves if desired. Place loaves on two parchment-lined baking sheets. Cover with a tea towel and let rise 45 minutes. Brush loaves with egg wash and spread sprinkles on the loaves. Tuck 4 colored eggs into the circular loaves or 3 colored eggs into the long loaves. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes until golden. Make sure the bread is not raw around the eggs. Remove bread to a rack to cool. Makes 3 loaves.

Formed Loaves

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Baked Easter Loaves

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Moist and Soft Interior of Bread

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This entry was posted in Breads, Breakfast, Christmas, Dairy-free, Desserts, Easter. Bookmark the permalink.

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