Travel to Italy

Travel to Italy
Travel to Italy

Italian Recipes

Italian Recipes
Italian Recipes

Dessert Recipes

Dessert Recipes
Dessert Recipes

Italian Easter Bread-An Easter Wreath Bread

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I’m not an expert at dying Easter eggs by any means. I know how to do the basic colors and love to see them nestled in my Easter breads.


I wish I could do some fun tie-dye versions and I also wish I had the time to make my own natural dyes.I realized this year I never died red eggs for a bread before. I really wanted to make the Greek Tsoureki for Easter. I thought I was having a fine time getting my eggs red. I let the eggs sit in the deep red dye for what seemed hours. The eggs sat and sat and then I started my dough. I checked them and turned them and the water seemed bright red but the eggs never progressed past this gorgeous hot pink color. 

I finally gave up and dealt with what I had: really PINK eggs and thought it would be better to just go with the baking flow and leave tsoureki for another year. If anyone has any tips on how to get my eggs a true red color, I will take them because I am not giving up on this bread! In the meantime, I had fun and made one GIGANTIC ring bread and nestled 3 eggs around it. I criss-crossed little dough crosses over them the way my mother-in-law Teresa does.

Then on another afternoon with failed red eggs, I had more hot pink eggs and made two long braided loaves and shared them with the neighbors.
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On my last ditch red die day I made one more long braid and then with the other dough made these little individual loaves to give to my kids and my nieces. I will conquer the red eggs another day and in the meantime have grown quite fond of my shocking pink eggs.

What are your favorite ways to color eggs?
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some notes on this bread: I followed this recipe that I posted here last year. It’s a very easy to make recipe that can be made in many different shapes for Easter. It is a delicious Italian Easter bread that I enjoy eating any time of year. I also shared last year a Pastiera Napoletana recipe. It is an unusual Italian Easter pie that I am looking forward to making again this year to take to a very Italian/Sicilian Easter feast on Sunday. For more photos on how to make the dough of this recipe, please check out my post from last year.
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).

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.

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.
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).

Oil a large mixing bowl and place the dough into the bowl.

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.

Punch down the dough.

Divide the dough into 3 portions. Roll each portion into a strip about 15" long.  (Save a little portion of dough to make 6 strips to cover the 3 eggs in cross shape) You could also make one large braid with this dough. 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)

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. Bring one side over to the other and tuck it in to make a ring shape like I did here. Now you have your beautiful wreath ready to go.

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Preheat oven to 350 F.
*(In this bread, I tucked 3 very hot pink eggs. I rolled out little strips of dough with the extra dough I set aside to make the crosses to lay across each egg.)
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Cover the dough with a kitchen towel to proof for about 40-45 minutes.
When dough is ready to bake, uncover and get the egg wash ready. Whisk together the egg and water for the egg wash and brush it on the dough avoiding the eggs. Sprinkle on the sprinkles.
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Place the dough on a parchment lined baking pan and bake for about 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown. If you are baking mini loaves, check if they’re ready at about 15 minutes (depends how small you make them. My mini loaves were done between 15-22 minutes).

Buon appetito e Buona Pasqua! Happy Easter. I wish you a relaxing and delicious weekend. xo
Lora




21 comments

  1. Delicious easter bread Lora, I haven't tried a egg coloring, may be this time I will try.

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  2. Beautiful Easter bread!! Hope you have a happy Easter with your family.

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  3. Beautiful breads, Lora! I love the sprinkles!

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  4. I had the same coloring issue but in a red velvet cake. Turns out the red liquid coloring is not good, it just gives you pink. I switched to paste dyes, but haven´t try them yet. But I think your pink ones are more festive, especially with the sprinkles! Gorgeous bread Lora! Happy Easter!

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  5. It's so pretty!! I think the pink looks beautiful :)

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  6. So festive and gorgeous!
    Happy Easter!

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  7. Happy Easter! I remember your Easter bread last year and was amazed at its beauty! And this one is even prettier, if that is possible. I also love the individual rolls. Beautiful! And I think the last time I dyed Easter eggs was before I got married - maybe just after college - when I helped a friend in Florida dye some for her nephews. I want to try!

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  8. Happy Easter to you and your family, Lora! This bread is gorgeous, and I love the hot pink eggs! I remember a friend, who's mother was from Greece, used special Greek dyes and her red eggs were really red! I can't recall the name of them, though. xo

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  9. Happy Easter, Lora! I wish I had advice on how to achieve that brilliant red, but I adore the pink and think it matches the sprinkles perfectly! How lucky for your friends to get these rolls!

    Have a wonderful Easter Sunday :-)

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  10. Absolutely beautiful!! One of my favorite Easter traditions.

    You should come by my house and see how we make red-colored eggs! :-)

    Happy Easter, my dear!! xoxo

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  11. This bread is simply gorgeous and so perfect for Easter.

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  12. I saw this bread in a magazine this month and was so tempted to make it! The red eggs looked so pretty! Yours looks fun with those hot pink eggs, the sprinkles help bring it all together :)

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  13. The special red dye used by Greeks to dye Easter eggs, as well as the spices Mahlepi (Mahleb) and Masticha can be found at all good ethnic grocery stores and in the Penzeys Catalague.

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  14. Lora, I had to stop by to tell you how incredible your Easter bread looks! After reading the recipe, it's exactly how I make it from my grandmother! I had no company this Easter so didn't make it for fear I would eat it all! Hope you had a wonderful Easter!

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  15. I didn't know that red dye could Not make something red! Oh well, I prefer your hot pink versions anyway - it gives the bread a bit of chic pizazz. :D

    Great photos of the braiding process too. (Breadaphobic people, like me, need pictures!) ;)

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  16. Regardless of the color of the eggs, this bread looks amazing! Love all the photos, I might actually be able to braid a bread one day :)

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  17. The photo(s) of the uncooked braid are great, your dough looks fabulous. The finished bread is lovely!

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  18. What a perfect bread to have for Easter! Love it. You make the best breads!

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  19. This bread is just gorgeous, Lora. I adore the pink! Sadly I can't give advice on achieving a true red but I'm so glad you made this anyway. Hope you had a wonderful Easter!

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  20. You are the master of bread! You have amazing bread baking skills. Super impressive. :)

    And I never color eggs because I don't like eating them. Wish I could help!

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  21. Lora,
    Your Easter Bread looks wonderful. Mine is all gone now.
    Annamaria

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