I can’t tell you how excited I was to find this recipe on the website of the blog, theitaliandishblog.com, which is a fabulous blog, by the way. I have been searching for years for this specific recipe for the Easter bread that my mother made every year at Easter time. It’s probably the only recipe of hers that cannot be found anywhere. When I saw the pictures on this website, I knew (or I should say hoped) this was the recipe I had been longing for over the last 10 years or more.
I was a little skeptical that it wouldn’t taste exactly as I remembered, but indeed it did. Oh boy, was I happy! The memories flooded my mind. My mother made these breads for everyone in our family every Easter. My aunts and uncles, and cousins would all stop by on Holy Saturday to pick up their bread. I used to love to dye the eggs with my sister, and then we were allowed to do the braiding, once the dough had risen. But most of all, I remember the aroma that would engulf the kitchen. It would smell just like a bakery. As the relatives walked through the door, they would all let out a moan of delight. Many would sit in the kitchen and have a cup of coffee and a piece of warm Easter bread.
I’m so grateful to have found this recipe. It has added a little something special to my Easter this year….and hopefully for many years to come.
RECIPE: Makes 6 breads
1 package Rapid Rise (instant) yeast, about 2 1/4 teaspoons
1 1/4 cups milk
pinch of salt
1/3 cup butter
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup sugar
3 1/2 cups flour (this is very approximate)
1 egg, beaten with 1 TBSP water for the egg wash
6 Dyed Easter Eggs ( they may be hard boiled or raw (be careful they don’t crack)
1. In a small saucepan, warm the milk and butter together, just until the butter melts.
2. In a large mixer bowl, combine the yeast, salt, sugar and eggs.
3. Add the warm (not hot) milk and butter.
4. Add about half the flour and beat until smooth with a dough hook. Slowly add the remaining flour to form a stiff dough. I used more flour than specified in order to get the dough to not be sticky. Knead until smooth with the dough hook or turn out on a floured board and knead by hand.
5. Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled (about an hour).
6. Punch down the dough and cut in 12 pieces. Roll each piece to form a 1 inch thick rope about 14 inches long. Taking 2 pieces, twist to form a “braid,” pinching the ends, and loop into a circle.
7. Place on two baking sheets, covered in parchment paper or Silpats. Cover and let rise until double (about another hour).
8. Brush each bread with the egg wash. Put on the sprinkles. In the middle of each bread ring, gently place a dyed Easter egg, making an indentation with the egg.
9. Bake at 350 degree until golden, about 20 minutes. Cool on rack.
** I don’t think it’s a great idea to eat these eggs, especially if you leave the breads out. They are really just for decoration.