Travel to Italy

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Travel to Italy

Italian Recipes

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Italian Recipes

Dessert Recipes

Dessert Recipes
Dessert Recipes

Italian Easter Bread-Guti di Pasqua

Baking fluffy and gorgeous bread makes me very happy.
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It’s pretty wonderful when you bake something and your husband comes home from work and asks, “I guti di mia mamma! Did my mom send a care package with her Italian Easter bread?”


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I felt my goofy smile go from small to gigantic. A huge ear to ear smile graced my happy face as I asked, “Are you kidding me?”

Fabrizio wasn’t. He seriously thought his mamma sent us a care package from Italy with her special bread she makes. Teresa makes this wonderful bread not just at Easter…all year round it can be enjoyed in her sweet kitchen.

You see my in-laws were here last year from Italy for Easter and I am feeling nostalgic. Last year this time the kids and I were baking with Teresa. We were watching my mother-in-law do her magic with my Kitchen Aid. She was doing her best with our ingredients and my kitchen. It somehow isn’t the same when you bake in a foreign country in a foreign kitchen. 

Teresa’s bread turned out delicious last Easter. She even baked us up some more before they left at the end of April for me to freeze. To make sure we weren’t going through guti withdrawals, there was more fresh guti waiting for us last June when we arrived in Italy at her house. She spoils us with her bread!

Guti is the name they call this sweet bread in the region of Calabria where my in-laws are from. It is also called cuzzupe, cuddrura, cugghuraci cuculi, cu l'ovu: depending on what part of Calabria you are from, there will be a different name. 

I bet in almost every house in Calabria during the Easter holiday you will find this braided bread. A wonderful sweet dough mixed with butter and eggs. The egg symbolizes fertility and also rebirth.
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This is a 1/2 day baking project. You could do it in steps. Like color the eggs the day before or the morning of baking.  The kids LOVE to help me color the eggs and of course, braiding is a ton of fun!

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But the trick is the braiding. The dough strips can’t be too dry. You can only add a touch of flour to the the work space. It is sort of sticky and you have to whip the braids into shape in lightening speed. Teresa has been making this bread since she was a little girl. She could make these braids in her sleep. I’m still learning and I have to say I think she’d be proud of our guti this year. 

Here is Teresa in my kitchen last year making one of the wreaths for Easter. I wrote last year about how I almost ruined the guti Teresa made. I rolled the dough with Teresa into mini loaves and we braided them. We made about 8 of these lovely little sweet loaves. Then I turned on the oven to preheat while they were still rising.


I didn’t realize that my Teresa placed them in the cold oven with towels on them to rise. The towels stuck to the tops of our pretty braids. The flavor was incredible, but I ruined the aesthetic appeal of our hard baking work in a quick error. 
Teresa really never forgave me and still today mentions this story when she is making her guti. ;)


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My friend Juls at Juls Kitchen made a lovely Tuscan Schiacciata.
I came across a lovely blog written by Emiko Davies and she also made an Tuscan Easter Schiacciata
And my sweet friend Gwen posted a braided Italian Easter bread...Our breads are Easter twins-we even almost dyed the eggs the exact color:)
My lovely friend Reeni from Cinnamon Spice and Every Thing Nice made a gorgeous Italian Easter Bread wreath a few years back.
Proud Italian Cook has a savory Italian Easter Bread that looks really good.

The dough is buttery soft and fluffy. I was not sure about the amount of yeast as she used fresh yeast she brought from Italy last year. If you like you, you could omit the eggs in the folds of the braid and bake it just as a pretty braid with the egg wash. If you are adding the whole eggs into the folds of the bread, you put the eggs in the braids uncooked and they cook while the bread bakes. Another idea is to add some pretty colored sprinkles to the bread after you do the egg wash.

The kids were fighting over the eggs.  My favorite egg was the hot pink one. The violet one was also pretty stunning. This bread is perfect for breakfast. I love to dunk it in my steaming hot caffe’ latte or cappuccino.

March 31, 2013: You can see my Easter Wreath here made with the same recipe. :) 
Italian Easter Bread {Guti di Pasqua}
Ingredients:
1 cup milk
2 packets active dry yeast (two 1/4 ounce envelopes)
4 eggs, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup sugar
4 1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour (may need more as mixing)
1 Tbsp. lemon zest
1 tsp kosher salt
8 Tbsp. butter, room temperature (cut into 1 inch pieces)
4-6 dyed eggs

egg wash
1 egg
1 tablespoon water

Directions:
If you are adding colored eggs, now is the time to color them. Follow the dye directions on the box or use natural dye and let the eggs sit for an hour. The longer they site the more vibrant the color. 

In a small saucepan heat the milk over medium to 110 F (I just test the water with my finger and know it’s the right temperature…warm like the temperature of a baby bottle, not hot). Add the yeast to a small bowl with the warm milk and whisk it around with 1 tablespoon of the sugar. Let sit until foamy (about 5 minutes).
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Whisk in the eggs and vanilla and set aside.

In a large bowl whisk together the rest of the sugar, flour, lemon zest, and salt.

Pour the flour mixture in the bowl of a mixer. With dough hook attached and mixer on medium speed, slowly add the milk mixture (*the milk mixture has the milk, yeast, 1 tbsp sugar, eggs, vanilla) to the flour mixture.

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Hold onto your mixer! Now you will add the butter 1 tablespoon at a time. I tell you to hold unto it because it will move around if you are mixing it on too fast of a speed. Start on medium-low speed. If you notice the mixer moving too much, you can lower the speed and let the butter get gently incorporated into the dough. If you have the mixture at a faster speed at this point…do not leave it alone while it’s mixing. It could bounce off the counter.
Be sure to mix well when all the butter is added (about 3-5 minutes). You may need to add more flour. Don't worry about the total amount of flour, keep adding until your dough is stiff and it is not sticky.

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 Put a little flour onto a clean counter and scrape the dough out of mixer onto the counter. Knead the dough a little and shape the dough into a ball (you won’t be kneading the dough too much…just a bit to shape it into an elastic ball of dough).
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Oil a large mixing bowl and place the dough into the bowl.

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Rub a little oil on top of the dough and cover it to rest in a draft-free area for a bout 1-1 1/2 hours.

One hour later this is what I found! Wowsers! Nice dough. The dough will be doubled in size.

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Punch down the dough.
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See that amount of flour? I added too much to work the strips out. Next batch will have a little less flour.

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I ended up fixing that middle strip and making sure the 3 strips were even so I could do my braid. If you are making one large braid, roll each piece into strips about 15 “ long. If you are making two braids, the strips will be a bit smaller (sorry, I did not measure the strips).

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Pinch the left side together to secure the three pieces and braid the 3 strips. Pinch the other side together on the right to secure it closed.

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The fun part is tucking in the eggs wherever you’d like it in between the braids and cover the dough with a kitchen towel for about 40-45 minutes. When dough is about ready, preheat the oven to 350 F. Mine was ready to bake at 40 minutes.

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Whisk together the egg and water for the egg wash and brush it on the dough avoiding the eggs.

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Place the dough on a parchment lined baking pan and bake for about 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown.

Buon appetito e Buona Pasqua! Happy Easter.

What traditional food do you make for Easter?:)

50 comments

  1. I love homemade bread. This looks good.

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  2. Wow, what a beauty! I've never tried Italian Easter bread before, but gosh darn it, I'm craving some so bad right now! I love fluffy dough too :) Especially when you feel the satisfaction knowing you made it yourself. You did an amazing job! Your in-laws would surely be proud of you :)

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  3. Fabulous, Lora!!! I love your hubby's reaction...you are such a marvelous baker! Happy Easter...xoxo

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  4. è davvero bellissimo e poi è sicuramente ottimo,parola di Italiana :))
    baci

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  5. Oh I love this! This is like the Easter equivalent of challah... with dyed eggs in it, of course. Love it!

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  6. That bread is just gorgeous! I have always wanted to make this but have never gotten around to it and the time is just so hard to find :/

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  7. We're making Italian food for Easter this year, and I sorta feel like it's 100% necessary that I make this bread now! Your bread turned out great!
    I love reading stories about families and their food traditions!

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  8. this is beautiful and sounds delicious!!

    a true compliment if he thought it was his moms bread!!

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  9. I love the story! :)
    And mmm, what a gorgeous looking bread. I would love to try this recipe.

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  10. Beautiful! I bet it tastes amazing too!

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  11. Love this. I have been wanting to make Easter bread but just haven't had the time.

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  12. I hope your Teresa is reading this. She will burst with pride! Your bread looks beautiful and I love the coloured eggs. I think I've only seen this Easter bread done on Cake Boss once ;)
    I've braided bread before for Christmas wreaths, you are right, it is a little tricky to get all the sections the same size and you do have to work fast.
    Well done!!! Happy Easter :)

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  13. Gorgeous bread, Lora! I would love a nice, thick slice please:)

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  14. Just beautiful, I've always loved those easter breads with the eggs baked in.

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  15. You may also try the Greek tradional recipe for Easter breads following the same procedure.
    Here is a typical recipe taken from http://tastefull.gr/content/%CF%84%CE%BF-%CF%84%CF%83%CE%BF%CF%85%CF%81%CE%AD%CE%BA%CE%B9-%CF%84%CE%B7%CF%82-%CE%BC%CE%B1%CE%BC%CE%AC%CF%82-%CE%BC%CE%BF%CF%85-%CF%84%CE%BF-%CF%80%CE%B9%CE%BF-%CF%84%CF%81%CF%85%CF%86%CE%B5%CF%81%CF%8C-%E2%99%A5

    •1 kg flour, with protein content 14% and above (80g to the yeast/ milk mixture and 920 g to the dough)
    •60 g fresh yeast or 2 packets active dry yeast
    •500 ml milk (40 degrees Celsius)
    •250 gr sugar (or 200 gr sugar and 50 gr honey)
    •1 Tbsp. lemon zest (or orange zest or both)
    •2 tsp. ground cardamom
    •2 tsp. ground mahaleb (mahleb)
    •1 tsp extract of Chios Mastiha Gum or ground Chios Mastiha(optional)
    •4 eggs (room temperature)
    •125g melted butter (warm)
    •egg diluted with a little water (egg wash)
    •almonds grated (sprinke on top before baking)

    It is much more aromatic than Challah and similar to the Italian. It totaly worths a try!!

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  16. Fabulous...I had lost my recipe for Portuguese Sweet Bread..and this looks very close...Thank you so much for sharing it with us and Buona Pasquale!!!!

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    1. You're welcome!Happy Easter to you all!

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  17. Oh I just adore family food traditions! The Easter bread is stunning! A perfect holiday post, delightful.

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  18. What beautiful bread and how cute with the eggs on it...I love that when you post you make such lovely pictures and show each step...as always a trip to your site leaves me hungry and jealous at how well written your blog is...I need some leasons :)

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  19. I love this story. What a great tradition for Easter.

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  20. Stunning bread. This is torture on the eve on Passover. Love your baking with your MIL and this is such a heartwarming Easter tradition. Happy Easter!

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  21. Beautiful bread, Lora! I made it a few years back and my girls were crazy about it! My neighbors thought I was magical, as they had never seen anything that beautiful:) I don't know why I don't make it more often - you are right, why eat it only for Easter?
    I was laughing about your ruining the appearance of the loaves, but it has happened to me a few times: I like to place my dough to rise in a barely warm oven if it is too cold in the kitchen, and sometimes I forget and turn the oven on to preheat:) Yeah, I know:)
    I am doing the eggs, the bread, and the lamb next Sunday for Serbian Orthodox Easter, so I have a few days to relax:)
    Have a great holiday weekend!

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  22. Sono tanto felice di aver trovato questa recetta. Sono Americano ma sono anni che non mi trovo piu' in Italia. Al vedere quest'articolo m'ha fatto sorridere tantissimo. Mi manca molto la cucina italiana. Domani prepararemo questo pane per celebrare la pascua. Grazie per averla messo disponible su questo sito. Buona Pascua.

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  23. Lora, this bread is beautiful! What a wonderful Easter tradition! It is so unique and perfect with the eggs on top! Hope you are having a wonderful Holiday!

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  24. I make this bread recipe many Easter mornings. I decided to try your recipe this year. I wanted to let you know that their is a typo in it (or I just missed the step), but I can't find where you instruct for the eggs/vanilla to be added to the bread dough.

    Can't wait to see how this turns out.

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    1. Hi-It is there. The eggs/vanilla get added to the yeast mixture:) Happy baking!

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  25. I'm confused about one other instruction . . . you said to preheat the oven to 350 but then you comment that at minute 17 you lowered the temperature to 350. But, I don't see where you increase the temperature to something above 350.

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    1. Last night I adjusted my directions as I baked a new batch only on 350 and was happy with the results. The first batch I started at 375 and then lowered it 1/2 way through. ;)

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    2. I have a (probably stupid) question... Do you hard boil the eggs first, or just dye them and they bake in the oven? I'm a 100% Irish girl trying to impress her 100% Italian Mother-in-Law... (14 years and still trying...lol). Thanks!!

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    3. not at all! I do hard boil my eggs first and then add them to the bread cooked and colored:)I know some add them colored and uncooked. I think you can do it for your MIL with this recipe;)

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  26. This is so cool. It looks like it's so worth all the work :)

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  27. Ahhhhhhhhh shades of my family life! LOVE THIS - thank you so much for posting!

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  28. That is most certainly bread fit for Easter. Oh and I bet Teresa has indeed forgiven you. GREG

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  29. Loved the story that goes along with this bread making :) I am sure she forgave you though...how we learn :)
    Beautiful and festive bread here! Hope you had a lovely Easter!

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  30. Loved your post! My Italian family makes the Easter bread called Cuzzupe. We make it every Easter, even my nieces and nephew get in the act. The only difference is we do not use yeast and we put in anise seeds, which gives it the flavor. Our recipe is more like a cake dough than a light bread. But your recipe sounds really good, will have to try it. Thanks, Hope you had a wonderful Easter.

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  31. Sounds like you had a good time making this beautiful bread studded with the eggs. Hope that you had a wonderful Easter!

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  32. It a very nice Easter bread. I love the colorful accent the eggs add to it. Thank you for sharing this tradition.

    Hugs

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  33. Hi Lora, just stopping by to say how delightful your blog is. Thanks so much for sharing. I have recently found your blog and am now following you, and will visit often. Please stop by my blog and perhaps you would like to follow me also. Have a wonderful day. Hugs, Chris
    http://chelencarter-retiredandlovingit.blogspot.ca/

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  34. Your blog is an absolute joy to read! Thank you for sharing a bit of your life with us!

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  35. Oh, baby, this is beautiful! Perfect bread - the texture is perfect and oh I'd be nibbling slices of it all day long. And how exciting that F thought is was his mama's! LOL love it! Now I'm wondering if I should try it, too...without the pretty eggs. Hope you had a delicious, Italian, chocolate-filled Easter!! xox

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  36. I've always wanted to make an Easter Bread witrh colorful eggs baked in - and yours is exactly how I dream it would come out. I'll have to wait for Passover to end, and evereything else to get better, to give it a shot, maybe a 4th of July Bread with red, white and blue eggs? lol Love your hubby thinking it was his Mom's..the ultimate compliment!

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  37. Your Easter bread makes me happy! Love the colors! Hope you had a wonderful Easter with your family! xx

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  38. This is just gorgeous; I haven't made a bread like this since my kids were much younger and both were home for Easter; now why is that? It just says Easter and I think I'll put it back into my tradition and think of you each time!

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  39. How awesome is this bread. I have only seen bread like this (with eggs tucked in) this year and now I am wondering what planet I get up on. How pretty this must be to see as a child at Easter supper! I think you certainly did your Teresa proud!

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    1. You have some great recipe ideas on here, I get so hungry just looking at the pictures! Will definitely try some out at our next teddy bears picnic :0)

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