Delicious Italian Easter bread , Pane di Pasqua is brioche like rich bread with orange zest, orange juice, anise seed and colorful dyed eggs.
You will be wondering why I am posting Easter bread after Easter. It was to complete this month Daring Baker’s challenge, which was to make Easter bread, suggested by Wolf of wolf’s den. I was planning to make Easter bread for a long time, but never got around to it. Finally I was able to make this beautiful Italian Easter bread-Pane di pasqua.
It all started because my daughter’s school also wanted two hard boiled eggs for coloring the eggs. So thought why not I make few colored eggs for my Easter bread too. I boiled 5 eggs to make hard boiled eggs for coloring; unfortunately only two were able to come out in good shape, while others started cracking while in the water. I boiled a few more eggs, to get intact shelled hard boiled eggs. I usually make hard boiled eggs by adding salt to boiling water. How do you make it?
I get good success with this method, occasionally get some cracking. Since I don’t care much about shell it is not a problem. But for coloring the eggs I need some perfect hard boiled eggs. Also my princess wants to color the eggs with her favorite color blue. I made blue, red, green, yellow and green color to make various colored eggs. I used Wilton gel food coloring to make the eggs.
First you need to make dyed eggs
Even though for the Italian Easter bread recipe I don’t need a hard boiled eggs, only they color the raw eggs and eggs gets cooked while baking. I was hesitant to use raw eggs for coloring.
Boiled eggs in the evening and put it in colored water for overnight in refrigerator and next morning I started to make the bread.
How to make Italian Easter bread, Pane di Pascua ?
I read that traditional Sicilian Easter bread dough consists of orange zest and anise seed. I always forget to use the orange juice after zesting the orange, so this time I also added orange juice to bread dough. I can’t waste my orange as it is grown in my backyard. This bread has brioche kind of dough and rich with butter and eggs. It is really easy to make dough, just mix flour, butter, sugar, eggs, orange juice, orange zest, yeast, anise seed and milk.
Traditional Italian Easter bread is made as braids with colored eggs pushed it into dough. I made it as individual rings, like I saw here, which doesn’t require pushing it into dough. After first fermentation divide the dough into single ropes and twist them to form braids and set aside for another rise.
Once the dough is raised and ready to bake, place the colored eggs in the center and do the egg wash on the dough and sprinkle with sprinkles. Italian Easter bread is more colorful and summery than the Greek Easter bread. The later consists of red colored eggs which resemble the blood of Jesus. May be next time I will make Greek Easter bread.
Along with this I also tried Norwegian decorative Easter bread, which turned good but decoration was really bad. So my reality was far from the expectation. I will try those too as the bread is so tasty.
For the time being I am happy with Italian Easter bread, here comes the recipe.
Italian Easter Bread- Pane di pasqua
- 3 cup +1 tablespoon/355g All purpose flour
- 3 ½ tablespoon /42g of granulated sugar
- 1 package Rapid Rise instant yeast (about 2-¼ teaspoons)/7g
- ½ teaspoon/3g of salt
- ⅔ cup /178g of milk
- 3 ½ tablespoon/ 49g of butter
- 2 eggs beaten
- 2 tablespoon of orange juice
- ½ teaspoon of Anise seeds
- Zest of one orange
- 1 egg beaten with 1 teaspoon of water for egg wash
- 4 dyed Easter eggs I Used hard boiled eggs, you can skip that by using raw eggs
- sprinkles or pearl sugar
For coloring the eggs
- 4 Hard boiled eggs
- Red green, yellow and Blue wilton food gel coloring
- 4 tablespoon of vinegar
- 4 cups of boiled water
For coloring the eggs
- In a 4 disposable cups and fill with 1 cup of boiling water on each. Using a toothpick, dissolve Wilton Gel Food Color or Icing Color until water is your desired hue.
- Stir until completely dissolved.
- Add 1 tablespoon white vinegar to colored water; stir.
- Using a spoon, add hard-cooked egg to water. Let set until egg is desired shade. ( I kept in refrigerator for overnight)
- Remove egg from water using spoon. Let dry.
Make the dough
- In a microwave safe bowl, warm the milk for 30 seconds. In a bowl of kitchen aid mixer, and flour, salt, sugar, yeast , orange zest, orange juice and eggs. Add the warm milk and butter. Mix well to form a smooth dough. At first it will sticky, then after kneading for 5-6 minutes it will become smooth supple dough. Place in a greased bowl, cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about two and half hour.( my kitchen is cold, make sure to check timing on double it may varies depending upon your kitchen temperature)
- Punch dough down, divide into 8 pieces of about 84.37 grams each. 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 baking sheets lined with parchment paper or Silpats. Cover and let rise until double, about 45 minutes again. Brush the dough with beaten egg wash.
- Put on the sprinkles or pearl sugar. 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 28 minutes. Cool on rack.
- Discard the eggs don't eat.
This is Swathi ( Dr. Ambujom Saraswathy Ph.D) from Zesty South Indian Kitchen who loves to explore cuisines from all over the world. Whenever possible I try to to give an Indian touch to several of the world cuisine, and has weakness for freshly baked bread. All the recipes you see here are created by me and approved after taste-test by my family.