Italian Easter Bread
These festive loaves are filled with dyed eggs that are better kept raw because they will cook with the bread when placed in the over. Serve these at you next Easter feast for a fun addition to your springtime table.
- 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
- 1 egg, beaten with 1 teaspoon of water
- 6 dyed Easter eggs
- sprinkles or pearlized sugar
Preparation time 150mins
Cooking time 170mins
Adapted from theitaliandishblog.com
The Easter eggs do not need to be hard boiled. They cook when the bread bakes. I usually just dye the eggs raw without hard-boiling them. Saves time. Just be careful they don't crack.
In a small saucepan, warm the milk and butter together, just until butter melts.
In a large mixer bowl, combine yeast, salt, eggs, and sugar. Add the warm, not hot--it will kill the yeast, milk, and butter. Add about half the flour and beat until smooth with dough hook. Slowly add the remaining flour to form a stiff dough. Don't worry about how much flour it ends up being, just keep adding until the dough is not sticky anymore.
Knead until smooth with either dough hook attachment or turn out on floured board and knead. Place in a greased bowl, cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about an hour.
Punch dough down, divide into 12 pieces. 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 two baking sheets lined with parchment paper or Silpats. Cover and let rise until double, about an hour again. Brush each bread 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°F until golden, about 20 minutes. Cool on rack.
You can eat the eggs, but if you leave the bread sitting out for a few hours, don't eat them.