Thursday, April 17, 2014

Throwback Thursday: Italian Easter Bread

"Throwback Thursday: Taking you back through the past 6 years by highlighting some of my favorite blog posts"

Our family breakfast tradition on Easter is Italian Easter Bread.  Growing up in Philadelphia it was sold in all the neighborhood bakeries and you could buy it with eggs or without.  Not the case here in Phoenix. Yes, you can find it here but it's not so readily available.  So what does one do when she calls herself "the food hunter" and doesn't want family traditions to stop just because of where she lives?  She makes her own of course.

 Happy Easter!

Italian Easter Bread 
1 cup milk
2 1/4 ounce packets active dry yeast
1tsp vanilla
1 tsp anise
4 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
4 1/2 cups flour
Zest of 1 lemon
1 tsp salt
1 stick butter cut into 1 inch pieces

Egg wash
1 egg
1 tbs water

In a small saucepan heat the milk over medium to 110 F. Add the yeast to a small bowl with the warm milk and whisk it  with 1 tablespoon of the sugar. Let sit until foamy (about 5 minutes).

Whisk in the eggs, anise and vanilla; 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 .

Add the butter 1 tablespoon at a time and let it get gently incorporated into the dough. 

Be sure to mix well when all the butter is added (about 3-5 minutes). Adding more flour until your dough is stiff  not sticky. 

Put a little flour on the counter and scrape the dough out of mixer. Knead the dough a little and shape the dough into a ball.

Oil a large glass bowl and place the dough in there too rest. Rub a little oil on top of the dough and cover for about 1-1 1/2 hours.

Punch down the dough.

Divide the dough into 3 portions. Roll each portion into a strip about 15" long. Pinch the ends and start the can leave as a long braid or pinch ends together to form a wreath.

Cover with a kitchen towel and let rest 45 minutes. Preheat oven to 350.

When ready to bake brush dough with egg wash and add sprinkles. Place on a parchment lined baked pan and bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden in color.  Let cool on rack before slicing.


  1. Thanks for sharing. I was looking for an Easter braid bread to make. Now I have one! I'm pinning this for reference tomorrow, and hopefully many more times after that.

  2. What a beautiful bread - I love the addition of the anise seed! Pinned to my Breads board on Pinterest. Thank you for sharing it with us at the Hearth and Soul hop.

  3. What a beautiful bread. I make an Easter bread also, but with the hard boiled eggs. I love your recipe!
    It looks pretty easy and I'm sure makes a beautiful presentation. Thank you for joining Foodie Friends Friday. I chose your recipe as my Host Favorite. It will be featured TODAY on Daily Dish Magazine. Hope to see you next week for another party!

  4. Here is the link for the feature!

  5. I grew up in NY an the Italian bakery used to have this! Yum!

  6. What a beautiful bread - I love all of the traditional family recipes for the holidays!

  7. Can't believe another year went by without me making Easter bread. I really want to try this!

  8. My grandmother was the only one who would make Easter bread and since my mom doesn't make it I truly miss it! This looks lovely!

  9. I love when cities' foods reflect their original immigrants. Very fun tradition!

  10. Lovely! I wish I had time to bake this for this Easter. It looks seriously delicious!

  11. That's one gorgeous loaf! Wish I had one. :)

  12. Just lovely! I love the rainbow sprinkles, how festive and fun!

  13. So pretty! And good job with the braid work :)

  14. Happy Easter, well happy Early Easter haha. Love the easter bread! I don't ever see any of this around our town so I'll have to give it a go and make some!

  15. I have alway wanted to try Easter bread. It looks so delicious!