Italian Easter Bread Recipe

Rating 5.0
| 1
| Last Updated on January 9, 2024
Colorful Italian Easter bread is a beautifully light, fluffy and slightly sweetened treat. The tangzhong starter helps keep the bread light and fluffy for days.
Utensils Brunch
Globe Italian
21
ingredients
15
steps
230
minutes
Giselle is a recipe developer and content creator that loves all things sweet and savory. She runs her own food blog, The Busy Spatula, and her work has been featured on Yahoo!, Marvel Studios and the Kitchn.

Ingredients

Servings:
9
For the Tangzhong
3 tbsp
whole milk
3 tbsp
water
2 tbsp
bread flour
For the Italian Easter Bread
1
batch of tangzhong, see above
1/2 cup(s)
whole milk, room temperature
1 tbsp
honey
2 tbsp
granulated sugar
1
large egg
1
large lemon, zested
1 tsp
anise extract, optional, see notes 1
2 3/4 cup(s)
bread flour
2 tbsp
nonfat dry milk
2 1/2 tsp
instant yeast
1 tsp
salt
4 tbsp
unsalted butter, room temperature
1
batch of egg wash, see below
colored nonpareils
vegetable oil, as needed
3
dyed Easter eggs, raw or hard boiled, see notes 2
For the Egg Wash
1
large egg
1 tbsp
water
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Directions 15 steps | 230 Minutes

Step 1

Prepare the tangzhong. In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, whisk together the milk, water and bread flour, making sure no lumps remain. 

Italian Easter Bread Recipe: Prepare the tangzhong.
Step 2

Continue to constantly whisk while cooking the mixture for about 2 minutes, or until the mixture is thickened and the texture is similar to a very thick pudding. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the tangzhong to prevent it from drying. Let cool to room temperature.

Italian Easter Bread Recipe: Continue to constantly whisk while cooking the mixture for about 2 minutes, or until the mixture is thickened and the texture is similar to a very thick pudding.
Step 3

In the bowl of a standing mixer, whisk together the milk, honey, sugar, egg and lemon zest until combined.

Italian Easter Bread Recipe: In the bowl of a standing mixer, whisk together the milk, honey, sugar, egg and lemon zest until combined.
Step 4

Stir in the bread flour, dry milk, yeast and salt. Mix to combine. Knead the bread on medium-low speed for about 5 minutes. 

Italian Easter Bread Recipe: Stir in the bread flour, dry milk, yeast and salt.
Step 5

Add the butter to the mixture and knead until the butter is incorporated, about 3-5 minutes. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and let rest for 8 minutes.

Italian Easter Bread Recipe: Add the butter to the mixture and knead until the butter is incorporated, about 3-5 minutes.
Step 6

Remove the kitchen towel and knead the dough until a smooth and elastic dough forms and the dough starts to pull away from the bowl, about 10-20 minutes. If the dough continues to stick to the edges of the bowl, add about two to four tablespoons of bread flour. Remove the dough from the stand mixer and shape it into a smooth round ball.Place the dough in a greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Place the bowl in a warm room and let the dough rise until nearly doubled in size, about 45-60 minutes. 

Italian Easter Bread Recipe: Remove the kitchen towel and knead the dough until a smooth and elastic dough forms and the dough starts to pull away from the bowl, about 10-20 minutes.
Step 7

Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. On a lightly floured surface, remove the dough from the bowl and deflate it by gently pushing it down.

Italian Easter Bread Recipe: Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
Step 8

Divide the dough into six equal portions and roll each of them into a smooth ball, seam side down. Use plastic wrap to cover the dough you are not working with to keep it from drying out.

Italian Easter Bread Recipe: Divide the dough into six equal portions and roll each of them into a smooth ball, seam side down.
Step 9

Roll each ball into a 1-inch wide rope, about 14 inches long. 

Italian Easter Bread Recipe: Roll each ball into a 1-inch wide rope, about 14 inches long.
Step 10

Take two pieces of rope and pinch one end together. Twist the two pieces of dough and pinch the ends together to create a simple braid. 

Italian Easter Bread Recipe: Take two pieces of rope and pinch one end together.
Step 11

Curve the braid into a ring and pinch the ends together to create a circle. Remember, the center of the circle will be a nest for your egg, so do not make the circle too tight or loose. Transfer the braid onto the parchment-lined sheet pan. Repeat with the remaining braids creating three braided circles in total. Space out each braided circle, giving them ample room to rise. Loosely cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for 40-50 minutes or until puffy.

Italian Easter Bread Recipe: Curve the braid into a ring and pinch the ends together to create a circle.
Step 12

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Make the egg wash. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg and water. Using a pastry brush, brush the tops of the risen circles with the egg wash.

Italian Easter Bread Recipe: Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Step 13

Sprinkle with colored nonpareils. 

Italian Easter Bread Recipe: Sprinkle with colored nonpareils.
Step 14

Dip a paper towel in vegetable oil and lightly rub each dyed egg with the paper towel for a thin layer of vegetable oil. Place the egg into the center of each braided circle. Bake for 18-20 minutes, rotating the sheet pan halfway through the baking time.

Italian Easter Bread Recipe: Dip a paper towel in vegetable oil and lightly rub each dyed egg with the paper towel for a thin layer of vegetable oil.
Step 15

Remove the Italian Easter bread from the oven and let cool for 10-15 minutes in the pan before transferring them to a cooling rack to cool completely. Serve and enjoy!

Italian Easter Bread Recipe: Remove the Italian Easter bread from the oven and let cool for 10-15 minutes in the pan before transferring them to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Notes:

  1. Raw eggs will be softboiled after baking. If using raw eggs, discard the eggs after they’ve been at room temperature for more than 2 hours. Hard boiled eggs are safe to keep at room temperature longer.
  2. Italian Easter bread is traditionally flavored with anise. However, it’s a flavor that is an acquired taste. If you are not a fan of it, do not use it.

Nutrition Per Serving
View All
CALORIES
265
FAT
8.1 g
PROTEIN
8.4 g
CARBS
39.7 g
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Carmela G.

Carmela

Cozymeal Team Member

17 Jan 2024

Light and fluffy recipe for Italian Easter Bread.

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