Pane di Pasqua
Italian Easter Bread
Anise Flavoured Easter Bread
This fluffy and eggy Italian Easter Bread, Pane di Pasqua, is slightly sweet and bursting with the flavours of citrus and anise.
Growing up, this was the best treat of Easter morning, and still is! One bite of this light, fluffy, sweet bread and you’re twelve years old again! Bakery quality in two hours. Try this Italian tradition and keep the heritage alive.
This is a perfect brunch or coffee snack idea. The eggs are baked with the bread so please go ahead and eat the eggs as well.
Ingredients I used:
SWEET BREAD DOUGH
3 cups all-purpose flour
¼ cup white sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 package rapid rise yeast
⅔ cup milk 3.25%
2 teaspoons anise extract
1 Tbsp orange zest (lemon is good too)
2 tablespoons butter at room temperature
1 egg, beaten to brush on before baking
½ tablespoon coloured candy decorating as desired
* Colourful eggs are pretty too and you can eat them with your bread — I’ve done both.
1 cup powdered sugar
2 Tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
Mix well and drizzle on cooled bread. (Optional but trust me it’s definitely delicious!)
Lightly drizzle glaze and add sprinkles.
In your electric mixer bowl, combine a cup of flour, sugar, salt and yeast.
Mix for a couple of seconds just to get everything combined.
Then add warm milk and the butter and beat for 2 minutes on medium speed.
With the mixer running, add 2 eggs, extract and the rest of the flour.
Continue mixing for another couple of minutes until the flour is incorporated.
Using the dough hook attachment on your mixer, knead the dough for 6 – 8 minutes.
(You could knead the dough by hand, of course, but this is so much faster and easier!)
Once this step is done, form the dough into a ball, rub with a little bit of oil and place in a bowl.
Cover with a kitchen towel and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
In the meantime, you can dye your eggs and let them dry.
Take your dough out, and punch it down.
Then, divide it into 4 pieces, and roll each piece into about an 18 inch rope.
Begin braiding your bread loosely, and tuck the two ends under the braid.
Cover with a kitchen towel and let rise for another 30 minutes.
Preheat your oven to 350 F.
Make your egg wash by whisking together one egg and 2 tsp of water (or milk), and brush on top of the braid.
Make sure that the egg wash doesn’t run and touch the eggs.
(This is very important, as otherwise it will make the color run!!!!!)
Bake for 30 – 35 minutes, until the top is golden brown.
Let cool on a wire rack before glazing with sugar glaze.
Once the bread has cooled, make your sugar glaze.
In a small bowl, whisk together the sugar, milk and vanilla extract.
Brush it on top of the braid and cover with colorful sprinkles.
The glaze dries pretty quickly, so glaze a part and sprinkle immediately.
Then glaze another part and sprinkle again, and so on.
This really could have made two smaller braids.
It rose a LOT or make one huge braid creating a loaf.
Or you could make smaller, individual size “nests” by making round little braids and putting one egg in the middle.
The sugar glaze and the sprinkles are completely optional.
The glaze just adds some extra sweetness and the sprinkles make it even prettier!
Click here to find more delicious recipes at @rbm_cooking
All photos by Rosa Basile-Marrello