One of my fondest Easter memories growing up was my grandmother's Easter bread; she would bake it into a giant bun and serve it with ham and eggs on Easter morning. It was mandatory at our home that the first thing we ate on Easter Sunday was her delicious 'holy' meal. It was a tradition in our home that on Holy Saturday a basket of food was brought to church for blessing of the food (click on the link to learn more about our family tradition).
My Italian mother in law made a similar bread but baked eggs into her bread so we've combined my grandmother's Easter Bread with an Italian flair.
3 ½ cups flour
½ cup sugar
1/3 cup milk
½ tsp salt
2 tbsp butter, shortening or oil
½ cup warm water
1 package quick rise yeast
1 egg for egg wash
½ cup raisins or candied fruit
½ cup ground almonds
½ tsp anise extract (or your favourite extract)
3 to 4 tinted boiled eggs
Scald milk, stir in butter and set aside to cool to lukewarm.
Add yeast to warm water and let sit for a few minutes until yeast activates (becomes bubbly)
Pour milk mixture, eggs, water with yeast, sugar, and salt and extract if you’d like.
Add a cup of flour and beat until smooth and silky; add the balance of the flour and you can add a bit of water if you find it too dry.
Either knead by hand or use a dough hook on your mixer until the dough is smooth and elastic.
Place dough in greased bowl and insure you grease the top of the dough before covering with plastic wrap and letting dough double in size; about an hour.
Turn dough on lightly floured board; at this point if you’d like to add in some nuts and fruit you can and knead well to distribute evenly.
Divide the dough in half and roll into into logs about 2 feet long and 2 inches thick.
Pinch the two dough ropes together and twist overlapping dough while turning into a circle and nestling a tinted boiled egg evenly.
Join all four ends of the dough using egg wash and pressing firmly to complete your circle.
Egg wash all sides of the dough and sprinkle with pastel sprinkles; cover and let rise for up to an hour.
Preheat oven to 350F and bake for about 35 to 40 minutes until golden brown.
Follow along at home with our video tutorial available below!