Italian Easter Bread Recipe
This simple, colourful Italian Easter Bread is a real favourite and is prepared by families across Italy in the days leading up to Holy Week. Children have great fun dying the eggs and decorating this braided loaf. This a soft bread with a light lemon flavour. It goes with everything, from cheese to honey to salads, and it’s a great accompaniment to dishes taken on Pasquetta (Easter Monday) outings.
3 tsps of dry yeast
1/3 cup of brown sugar
1 cup hot milk
1/2 cup plain flour
1 tbsps lemon juice
6 tbsps butter, melted and cooled
1 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
4 painted eggs for decoration
A beaten egg with water
For the dough
Dissolve the dry yeast in warm milk and stir for 5 minutes
Gradually add the eggs, flour, sugar and other ingredients and beat well.
When the dough has pulled together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead by hand until smooth and elastic. (You can of course also use a food processor with a dough hook).
Place the dough in a greased bowl and turn it over once to coat the top.
Cover with a damp tea towel and allow the dough to rise in a warm place, for about 1 hour or until doubled in size.
Sprinkle the work surface with flour and knead the dough again.
Divide into 3 balls
For the coloured eggs
Mix one cup of water and one part vinegar, and divide the mixture into several glasses.
For each glass add a different coloured food dye.
Gently place the eggs in each glass and leave them until they reach the desired colour.
Once coloured, wipe the eggs with a towel soaked in a little oil to polish them.
To make the plait & decorate the Easter bread
Make three long strips and weave them together into a plait. Join the ends, pinching together to complete the circle.
Make four equally spaced dents (for the eggs) in between the strips of the plait of the bread and gently position the coloured eggs one by one. Press them down as much as you can being careful not to break them. Brush the plait with egg white and sprinkle some almond flakes on top.
Bake for about 25 minutes until the Easter Bread is golden.
The coloured eggs are edible but their use is more symbolic. If you are careful with them don’t need to be hard boiled before you colour them and place them on the loaf.