Thursday, April 21, 2011

Memory of an Easter Past: Italian Easter Bread

For most it may be ham. Or lamb [I guess I'm feeling poetic today]. But for me, the most prominent food in my memories of Easter is Italian Easter Bread. 

As a child, I remember thinking that it was quite silly to put hard-boiled eggs in a loaf of bread. Forget COLORFUL EASTER EGGS - that was just plain bizarre. I suppose, though, that I've come a long way in my appreciation of all things bizarre and so, it is with no further adieu, that I present you with a ROSATA FAMILY CLASSIC - Easter is right around the corner, so get out your pretty apron and bake a loaf of this bread. You won't be disappointed. And, if there are children around, they will be rather amused. 

I don't think my grandmother every followed a recipe, even when baking. I guess she was just THAT GOOD. Unfortunately, when baking, I NEED TO FOLLOW RECIPES, so I found this one at The Italian Dish (slightly condensed). 

1 package Rapid Rise yeast
1.25 cups scalded milk, cooled to room temperature
pinch of salt
1/3 cup butter, softened
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup sugar

 3.5 cups flour (approximate)
1 egg, beaten with 1 teaspoon of water
6 dyed Easter eggs
Rainbow sprinkles
tip: the Easter eggs do not need to be hard boiled. They cook when the bread bakes. I usually just dye the eggs right out of the fridge, without hardboiling them. Saves time. Just be careful they don't crack!
In a large mixer bowl, combine yeast, warm (not hot) milk, salt, butter, eggs and sugar. Add about half the flour and beat until smooth with dough hook. Slowly add the remaining flour to form a stiff dough - until it is no longer sticky. Knead until smooth. Place in a greased bowl, cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about an hour.
Punch dough down, divide into 12 pieces. Roll each piece to form a 1 inch thick rope about 14 inches long and, taking two pieces, twist to form a "braid", pinching the ends,  and loop into a circle.
Place on a greased baking sheet. Cover and let rise until double, about an hour again. Brush each bread with beaten egg wash. Put on the sprinkles. In the middle of each bread ring, gently place an Easter egg, making an indentation with the egg. Bake at 350 degrees until golden - about 20 - 25 minutes. Cool on rack.
Giggle at how amazingly silly they look [but awesome at the same time]. 



  1. Hahaha. I was just thinking that it might be nice to make this Easter Bread this morning, one of the only things that I really remember about Easter food also! Such a nana classic!! They were rather funny, and delicious. Let me know if you make them.

  2. well i am making many loaves tomorrow...and perhaps some ricotta pie, (which i know is not Dena;'s favorite, hence no mention of it LOL)
    happy easter, or in italian (Buona Pasqua)