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Italian Easter Bread- Solemnity of Easter

Updated: Apr 10

Happy Eastertide, Friends!

It has been a whirlwind over here in Quarantine-ville! We had a glorious Holy Week, even with the deep sadness of not being able to attend Mass, Good Friday was particularly somber and prayerful for me. Mostly I've been learning how to teach Theology online which comes with its ups and downs, build some self-care tools into my routine, and spend time (5 minutes min) in silence everyday. All things considered, I have been counting my blessings and realizing that I may not be as extroverted as I thought I was, maybe that changes as you get older, who knows. Needless to say, I've grown more comfortable with silence, I've rediscovered the joys of delving into the adventures of a good book, and I've spent hours laboring over delicious loaves of bread. This Easter I made Pane di Pasqua, Italian Easter Bread, and it was a huge success, after the first couple of tries.

There is something so comforting about making bread, except when you forget the yeast and have to throw your beautiful little unbaked lump of dough in the trash. Yes, the one thing that absolutely has to go in RISEN bread was forgotten, but I tried again with great success. Given that we are still celebrating the joy of the Resurrection I thought this would be a great recipe to make with or for the family! It's also the perfect addition to a Springtime table with its fresh, citrus taste and its bright colored eggs.

Before we get started this bread has dyed Easter eggs tucked into it, this is optional, but if you do want them make sure you have an Easter Egg Dye Kit on hand or some vinegar and food coloring.

Prep Time: 45 min

Rise Time: 1:30-2:00

Bake Time: 20 minutes

The Ingredients!

This is for a large loaf which will feed about 10-12 people. You can half the entire recipe for a small loaf or keep the proportions the same and make two smaller loafs. A small loaf will feed about 5-6 people.

For the Bread

1. 1/2 cup milk, warmed to about 105F

2. 1/4 cup sugar

3. 1 packet active dry yeast (2 1/4 tsp)

4. 4 cups flour

5. 1 tsp salt

6. 2 oranges zested and juiced (about 1/2 cup juice)

7. 2 egg, beaten

8. 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted

9. 1/2 tsp anise extract

For the Egg Wash

1. 1 egg, beaten

2. 1 tsp water

Begin by measuring the 1/2 cup milk and warm it in the microwave to about 100-105F.

Put the warmed milk and the 1/4 cup sugar in a bowl and stir it until its dissolved.

Whisk, whisk, whisk!

Add the whole packet of yeast to the milk mixture.

Whisk it in, cover it with a tea towel, and set aside for 5-10 minutes to activate the yeast.