Every Easter for the past 4 years I have tried to recreate my Nanna’s Easter bread recipe. I think I have finally cracked it! I’m not sure how I did it or why it came together this time. Perhaps my memory is failing me but this tastes the most like hers that I’ve tried in a long time. This traditional Italian Easter bread recipe is more like a sweet bread flavoured with orange zest and vanilla. A dense bread that lends itself to thick slices smothered in butter with a cup of tea or a cappuccino.
This traditional Italian Easter bread recipe is more like a sweet bread flavoured with orange zest and vanilla. A dense bread that lends itself to thick slices smothered in butter with a cup of tea or a cappuccino.
- 2.5 lbs flour start with 8 cups and as more as needed to reach a soft dough
- 1.5 cups sugar
- 1 pkg of mahlepi a spice found in greek grocery store, optional
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 pkg active dry yeast in 3/4 warm water
- 6 eggs
- 1 cups warm milk
- 1/2 cup butter melted
- 1 grated rind of 1 orange
- 1/4 cup of orange juice
- 3/4 cup oil warm
- 1.5 tbsp vanilla
- 1 tbsp sesame seeds for sprinkling on top or use colored sprinkles
In a large bowl or bowl of your stand mixer, combine flour, salt sugar and mahlepi in a large bowl.
In a glass measuring cup add 3/4 cup of warm water, add 1 tsp of sugar and sprinkle the yeast in the water. Let activate for 15 minutes.
In a medium bowl, mix eggs, butter, milk, oil, orange juice, and vanilla together and stir to combine.
Add to the flour, mix, and then add the yeast.
Mix well and knead in the bowl if using a stand mixer. If the dough is soft and sticky, add more flour till the dough releases from the sides of the bowl. You may need to add up to another 4 cups of flour.
Place dough in a large bowl, cover and let rise up to 4 hrs, away from drafts. You can put the bowl in your oven if you have the "proof" setting.
Cut dough into golf ball to tennis ball size pieces and roll/form the pieces into ropes.
Working with slightly oiled hands, take 3 ropes and braid the pieces into loaves.Should make about 7 braided loaves.
Place on baking sheet lined with parchment paper and let rise until doubled.
When ready to bake brush the loaves with a beaten egg. Sprinkle with sesame seeds or coloured sprinkles.
Bake at 325 degrees for about 25 minutes. Be careful, they brown easily. The loaves should be a rich golden colour.
This recipe makes 6-8 loaves depending on the size. The bread freezes well too.
Do you have a traditional holiday recipe that you are looking to recreate?
Drop me a comment about your recipe or favorite food memory. You can also check out this recipe for Cherry Pound Cake that would make a great addition to your Easter Feast.