Traditional Easter bread is a sweetened bread that is served on Easter to celebrate the end of Lent and the end of the fasting season for Christians while welcoming the bright new hope of spring. European cultures and Christianity are to thank for these beautifully decorated loaves of bread that are often studded with red-dyed Easter eggs, but anyone can incorporate these yummy traditions into their Easter holiday festivities. Most Easter breads echo symbols from Christianity--breads that are braided are usually braided with three strands which represent the Holy Trinity and breads that contain red-dyed Easter eggs symbolize the Blood of Christ. Eating the red-dyed Easter eggs bring good luck to the eater, but be sure to dye your eggs while they're still raw then braid them into your bread before baking so that they cook while in the oven.
Eggs should be eaten when the bread is eaten and should not be left out for long periods of time. If you have leftover Easter bread or red-dyed eggs, remove the eggs from the bread and store them in the refrigerator, the Easter bread can be stored at room temperature in a sealed container or ziptop bag for about one week. You can also bake already hard-boiled eggs in the Easter bread but it is not advised that these eggs be eaten because they will be severely overcooked. You can freeze Easter bread in a well-sealed container or ziptop bag and store your Easter bread in the freezer for up to 2 months. The eggs should be removed before the Easter bread is frozen, and the eggs should be eaten or discarded. The cooked eggs will last about one week in the refrigerator.
Easter breads are usually eaten on Easter day marking the end of fasting, allowing Christians to resume eating meat, dairy products, and eggs. Eggs represent fertility, rebirth, and renewal reiterating the symbols of the rebirth in the seasonal transition from winter to spring and Christ's rising from the dead.
Easter breads traditionally contain yeast to help them rise. If you are having a problem with your Easter bread rising then perhaps your yeast is old or bad. The best remedy for this is to buy fresh yeast and while proofing the yeast make sure that it bubbles and becomes frothy, this ensures that your yeast is alive and will produce a well-risen dough. The Italian Easter Bread recipe mentioned in this article does not call for yeast and could be a good recipe to start with if all this yeast talk makes you nervous or it's your first time making Easter bread.
There are many different cultures with various different recipes for Easter bread so check out our collection of some of the best Easter breads from around the world to add a new tradition to your Easter table this year.
Check out some of our other Easter articles, "Easter Sweets that Put Chocolate Bunnies to Shame," "The Best Easter Dinner Menu," "How to Make the Perfect Crock Pot Lamb," "Easter Brunch Munches," and "Everything You Need to Know About Easter Eggs."
This recipe utilizes the traditional method of braiding the bread, though not in the classic three-strand braid, and includes dyed Easter eggs, but does vary a little bit from the classic traditions. In this recipe, the Easter eggs are dyed a multitude of colors and the breads are sprinkled with colorful sprinkles for a more festive Easter bread. These Easter breads are slightly sweetened with sugar and orange zest, and can be served for breakfast on Easter morning or at your Easter lunch or dinner for a little something special at your feast. The kids will love helping you form these Easter bread bundles and then decorating them.
Paska is a traditional Easter bread specific to Eastern Europe and Russia. The tall and cylindrical loaf shape comes from how it is sometimes baked in a coffee can, but this recipe utilizes panettone paper molds to achieve such a height. This recipe is enriched with almonds and raisins for added crunch and sweetness. This recipe is a yeast bread that is smothered in a sweet icing after it has baked and cooled. Natasha's Kitchen's recipe contains the sweet and tart flavors of vanilla and sour cream to make this traditional loaf exceptionally delicious. Make this loaf apart of your Easter traditions this year!
This Italian Easter Bread recipe, courtesy of An Italian In My Kitchen, is a bread that is sweetened with an icing glaze though the bread itself is not necessarily sweet. This bread recipe does not contain yeast and its drier texture makes it great for dipping into hot beverages. This recipe pairs well with a freshly brewed cup of coffee or hot tea, and is most traditionally enjoyed on Easter morning or afternoon. Colorful Easter eggs can be baked into this recipe if desired and the kids will love glazing these freshly baked loaves.
Pane di Pasqua all'Uovo roughly translates to Easter eggs bread in Italian. These Easter breads are individually sized, contain colorful Easter eggs, and the traditional braided detail. These Easter breads are filled with the sweet and tart flavors of lemon zest, lemon juice, sugar, and colorful, decorative sprinkles. This is a yeast bread so expect a considerable rise and fluffy texture. And, as always, little hands make the best helpers while forming dough and making bread.
Traditional tsoureki is shaped into a braided log, containing red-dyed Easter eggs, and results in a sweet, brioche-like bread. The eggs in this recipe are not eaten because they are hard-boiled before being baked in the bread. The eggs are instead used in a game where two people each grab an egg and tap them together until one of the eggs cracks. Whoever's egg cracks first is the loser, but everyone still gets to dig into this delicious bread. This recipe courtesy of The Greek Glutton is sure to become the most delicious new tradition at your Easter feast this year!
Natasha's Kitchen is run by the husband and wife team of Natasha and Vadim. Specializing in Ukrainian-American recipes, this food blog focuses on bringing Ukrainian-American and Russian dishes to home cooks so that they can bring these recipes and traditions into their homes.
An Italian In My Kitchen is the creation of jet setter, Rosemary, who left her life in Toronto for a new adventure with her love in Rome. Twenty years later she is sharing her Italian recipes with the world in hopes that other home cooks can indulge and eventually fall in love with the rich and vibrant flavors of Italy, just like she did.
The Greek Glutton is the brainchild of Natalia who spent two years while she was in high school in the bustling city of Athens. It was there that she fell in love with Greek food and Greek culture. She focuses her blog on sharing her favorite Greek recipes with fellow home cooks all over the world.