Italian Easter Bread

Italian Easter Bread or Pane di Pasqua is a slightly sweet, braided bread with an incredibly soft and light texture.

This bread is similar to challah, which I thought I should never attempt. But after baking this bread, challah is on my list!  You will be pleasantly surprised by how easy this is to make. I surprised myself that I baked such a pretty loaf of bread. No, really I’m not kidding. I called the family into the kitchen just to admire my accomplishment.

This bread is sure to impress your guests by appearance, taste, and texture.

Italian Easter Bread

Italian Easter Bread - This bread bakes up incredibly soft and slightly sweet. It's perfect for Easter morning!

Just look at how gorgeous they came out.  Who knew I could make this myself? Not me.

How to Make Italian Easter Bread

Italian Easter Bread - This bread bakes up incredibly soft and slightly sweet. It's perfect for Easter morning!

In a small saucepan, add the milk and butter to the pan. Heat the milk to 120 to 130°F, stirring the milk until the butter melts.

In a large bowl of an electric stand mixer, combine the yeast, salt, eggs, and sugar. Add the warmed milk and butter mixture.

Add 2 cups of the flour to the mixing bowl. Attach a dough hook to the mixer and combine until smooth on medium speed, for about 2 minutes. Scrap side of the bowl with a spatula as needed.

Slowly add the remaining 2 cups of flour to the mixing bowl, kneading the dough on medium-low speed, scraping the sides as needed. Knead until smooth and the dough is stiff, no longer sticky, about 14 minutes.

Shape dough into a ball and place into a lightly greased bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and let rise for an hour in a warm place until the dough doubles in size.

While the bread dough is rising, dye the eggs.  For the colored eggs you will want to use raw eggs, they will cook in the oven.

Also, dye them enough in advance so they have time to dry completely.  I used 1/2 cup room temperature water + 1 tablespoon vinegar and food coloring to dye these Easter eggs.

Italian Easter Bread - This bread bakes up incredibly soft and slightly sweet. It's perfect for Easter morning!

After the first rising. Punch the dough down, divide into 12 equal pieces.

Roll each piece to form a 1-inch thick rope about 14 inches long. You do not need a floured surface for this step. Too much flour will make the rolls heavy and tough.

Twist two ropes together to form a “braid”, then join the ends to loop into a circle while pinching the tips together. Place on a prepared baking sheet.

Italian Easter Bread - This bread bakes up incredibly soft and slightly sweet. It's perfect for Easter morning!

Let rise until doubled, about 1 hour.

Brush with egg wash, top with sprinkles and place one dyed egg in the center of each one.

Italian Easter Bread - This bread bakes up incredibly soft and slightly sweet. It's perfect for Easter morning!

How pretty and fun are these bread wreaths?!? You can also make one big braid.

Sweet breads are always a great addition to any holiday meal!

Happy Easter!

Italian Easter Bread Recipe

Print Recipe
5 from 1 vote

Italian Easter Bread

Italian Easter Bread - This bread bakes up incredibly soft and slightly sweet. It's perfect for Easter morning!
Prep Time2 hrs 20 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time2 hrs 40 mins
Course: Bread, Breakfast
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 6 individual loaves
Calories: 553kcal
Author: Don't Sweat The Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 package 2-1/4 teaspoons rapid rise instant yeast
  • 1-1/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour (more as needed for dusting and kneading)
  • Vegetable cooking spray or vegetable oil for greasing proofing bowl
  • 1 large egg, beaten with 1 teaspoon of water
  • 6 dyed Easter eggs they do not need to be boiled, they will cook as the bread bakes
  • Colored sprinkles

Instructions

  • In a small saucepan, add the milk and butter to the pan. Heat the milk to 120 to 130°F, stirring the milk until the butter melts. Do not allow the milk to go above 130°F.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the yeast, salt, eggs, and sugar. Add the warmed milk and butter mixture. Add 2 cups of the flour to the mixing bowl. Attach a dough hook to the mixer and combine until smooth on medium speed, for about 2 minutes. Scrap side of the bowl with a spatula as needed.
  • Slowly add the remaining 2 cups of flour to the mixing bowl, kneading the dough on medium-low speed, scraping the sides as needed. Knead until smooth and the dough is stiff, no longer sticky, about 14 minutes. Shape dough into a ball and place into a lightly greased bowl (vegetable cooking spray or oil). Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and let rise for an hour in a warm place until the dough doubles in size.
  • Punch the dough down, and then divide into 12 pieces. Roll each piece to form a 1-inch rope, about 14 inches long. Taking 2 pieces, twist the pieces to create a braid shape, pinching the ends together and loop into a circle.
  • Place the shaped dough on a parchment-lined baking sheet (3 per sheet), spacing the braided dough, so that it has enough room to rise. Loosely cover the baking sheet with plastic wrap and allow to rise for 1 hour, until it doubles in size.
  • Brush each braided bread with the beaten egg wash. Top with sprinkles, as desired. Gently place one dyed Easter egg in the center of each braided bread ring.
  • Bake the bread at 350°F until golden brown, approximately 18-20 minutes. Quickly transfer the baked bread to a cooling rack. Enjoy!

Notes

If the bread starts to brown too much while baking cover loosely with aluminum foil.
Nutrition information includes dyed eggs.
 
Nutrition facts will depend on what type of ingredients you use. This is just an estimate. We do our best to give you nutritional information as correct as possible. Please feel free to calculate for yourself.

Nutrition

Calories: 553kcal

 

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Comments

  1. Reply

    Those are absolutely stunning! I really want to make some one of these Easters!

  2. Reply

    These look both delicious and fun.
    Amalia
    xo

    1. Reply

      Thank you, Amalia!

  3. Reply

    Your Easter breads came out perfectly! I’m pinning for future reference.

    1. Reply

      Thank you, Donna! I was skeptical when I started this recipe but it was really easy.

  4. Reply

    They came out pretty! I’ve seen these around Pinterest and have always wondered how to place in the eggs in the middle 😉 Following from This is How We Roll!

    1. Reply

      Thank you, Olivia! I impressed myself with this recipe. 😉

  5. Reply

    5 stars
    Love this! The recipe and directions look very easy to follow! Thanks! Happy to be your neighbor at the Linkup at Wordless Wednesday!

    1. Reply

      Thank you for stopping by, Pam!

  6. Reply

    These look awesome! Fabulous recipe.

    1. Reply

      Thank you, Vicki!

  7. Reply

    These are absolutely beautiful and perfect for Easter!

    1. Reply

      Thanks so much, Kim!

  8. Reply

    5 stars
    I would be surprised too, if I made such beautiful loaves of bread. =D Love seeing the dough rise in the pan. Thanks so much for sharing with us at Weekend Potluck. May you and yours enjoy a wonderful Easter weekend.

  9. Reply

    Wow they look so yummy, pinning to my Easter Recipe Board! Thank you so much for sharing!

    1. Reply

      Thank you for stopping by!

  10. Reply

    This is such a beautiful way to display your homemade bread! Definitely a recipe my kids would enjoy making. Thanks for sharing at Freedom Fridays Link Up! 🙂

    1. Reply

      Kids would love this recipe! Thank you!

  11. Reply

    5 stars
    So beautiful. We Greeks dye the eggs too. Our Easter is in May. Have a lovely Easter x

    1. Reply

      Thank you!

  12. Reply

    That looks spectacular! Happy Easter!

    1. Reply

      Thank you, Mimi!

  13. Reply

    Beautiful! Can’t wait to try this. Pinned & shared. Thanks for Sharing at the inspiration Spotlight party.

  14. Reply

    5 stars
    These look amazing. I wish I had found this a bit earlier as I may well have given this a try for our family Easter celebrations tomorrow. I love the brightness of the egg against the bread.

    Sally @ Life Loving
    #LifeLovingLinkie

  15. Reply

    This is one of my favorite breads. It’s not Easter without at least two bread rings! Thanks so much for sharing your recipe with us at Funtastic Friday.

  16. Reply

    5 stars
    So pretty – One of the best Easter breads I’ve seen this year. Thanks loads for joining in with #BakeoftheWeek with this recipe. Hope you are having an awesome Easter.

    1. Reply

      Thank you, Helen!

  17. Reply

    5 stars
    These are so pretty, I would be amazed if something I made turned out this gorgeous too! So cool! I’ve pinned, stumbled and yummed, I am bound and determined to try this, what a showstopper on the table!

    1. Reply

      Thank you so much, Nikki! 🙂

  18. Reply

    Oh my gosh! So pretty! Thanks so much for linking up at the You Link It, We Make It party and we hope you’ll link up your favorites with us again!

  19. Reply

    Looks so pretty! Very cheerful for Easter. Thanks for joining in with #BAKEoftheWEEK !

    1. Reply

      Thank you, Sarah!

  20. Reply

    This is gorgeous bread! Thanks so much for sharing with the Let’s Get Real party.

    1. Reply

      Thank you, Gaye!

  21. Reply

    These look AMAZING! The presentation and pictures are great! Making bread can be a little intimidating to me sometimes so I don’t have much experience with it. Thanks for linking up with us at Friday Funday and please come back again next week!

    1. Reply

      Thank you so much, Carrie! Homemade bread has intimidated me in the past too. Practice, practice, practice and a lot of failures! 😉

  22. Reply

    These are so beautiful! I didn’t realize those were eggs. Thanks so much for linking up at You Link It, We Make It. We are so happy to have you partying with us! Pinning!

    1. Reply

      Thanks, April!

  23. Reply

    It sure does look pretty and I bet it was good!! Thanks for sharing on My 2 Favorite Things on Thursday!! Hope to see you again tomorrow! Pinned!

    1. Reply

      Thank you and I will definitely be there!

  24. Reply

    5 stars
    Wow this is soooo amazing for Easter. I love this idea. I have tried making breads before and never good at it. Might have to give this a go. Lovely for holidays and guests over. Thanks for linking up to Share With me #sharewithme

  25. Reply

    What a creative idea!! I’ve never seen this before! Pinned & shared! thanks so much for sharing at Funtastic Friday!

    1. Reply

      Thanks, Lindsay!

  26. Reply

    Hi 🙂 Looks amazing ! Can i do everything the night before ? prepare the individual buns and leave it to rise all night and bake it in the morning ?

    Thank you !

    1. Reply

      Hi, Menna! I’ve never tried that and I think they might become over risen. You could try refrigerating the dough, pull it out early in the morning. Let it come to room temperature and rise. Then bake. Let us know if you try it and it works or not!

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