This Pane di Pasqua is a southern Italian traditional bread for Easter, and is typically baked with colored hard boiled eggs nestled into the shaped loaves.
This bread is made from an enriched dough, and is somewhat sweet, with a faint orange vanilla flavor from Fiori di Sicilia, or "flowers of Sicily." The dominant flavors are vanilla and orange, so if you don't have Fiori di Sicilia, you can use a combination of orange oil and vanilla to achieve a similar flavor.
What is enriched bread? It is typically bread made with butter, sugar, and/or eggs added to the dough. There are a lot of versions of enriched breads, such as the butter rich brioches, and the egg rich challahs. This bread is mildly enriched, and reminiscent of cinnamon bread, but without the cinnamon filling. It is brioche-like, but not overly loaded with butter.
This bread, like most enriched breads, is best the day that it is made, although you can make it in advance, freeze it as soon as it has cooled, and glaze it once it has thawed. You can used any leftovers for bread pudding or French toast (sprinkles and all).
I think it would be perfect for Mother's Day brunch. The little sprinkles will make everyone happy too!
After the recipe, check out all of the links for Easter/Passover/Springtime bread recipes from my fellow #BreadBakers.
Pane di Pasqua - Italian Easter Bread Wreath
Adapted from King Arthur Flour
4 1/4 ounces (1 cup) unbleached all purpose flour
4 ounces (1/2 cup) water
1/8 tsp instant yeast
9 1/2 ounces (2 1/4 cups) unbleached all purpose flour
1 1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp instant yeast
2 3/8 ounces (1/3 cup) granulated sugar
2 ounces (4 T) unsalted room temperature butter
2 large eggs plus one large egg yolk
1/4 tsp Fiori di Sicilia, or 2 tsp vanilla and 1/4 tsp orange oil
1/4 tsp anise seed, ground
Zest of one orange
4 ounces (1 cup) of confectioners sugar, sifted
1 ounce (2 to 3 T) orange juice
- The night before making the bread, mix the starter ingredients. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let sit for 10 to 15 hours.
- Combine the starter and the rest of the dough ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix for about 8 to 10 minutes, until the dough is smooth and shiny.
- Place the dough into an oiled bowl, cover, and let rise for 60 to 120 minutes, until very puffy and almost doubled.
- Scrape the dough out onto an oiled surface, and divide it into three equal pieces. I recommend using a scale. Shape each piece into an 18 inch rope. I like to lengthen and then flatten the dough pieces, and then roll them into ropes, as you would baguettes.
- Braid the three pieces of dough and then coil them around to form a wreath.
- Place the wreath on a parchment paper lined baking sheet, and cover with oiled plastic wrap.
- Let rise for one to two hours, until quite puffy.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
- Bake the wreath for 15 minutes and then lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees F and bake for another 20 minutes. You may have to tent the loaf with foil for the final 10 minutes to prevent over browning. The final dough temperature should be 190 degrees F.
- Cool on a wire rack.
- Make the glaze. It should be pretty thin. Brush the glaze on the wreath and add sprinkles!!
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- Cornish Saffron Easter Bread by Pastry Chef Online
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- Hungarian Egg Twist by Hostess at Heart
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- Individual Braided Easter Bread by Hezzi-D's Books and Cooks
- Italian Easter Bread by La Cocina de Aisha
- Lambropsomo - Greek Easter Bread by Spice Roots
- Lithuanian Easter Raisin Bread by My Catholic Kitchen
- Matzo by A Shaggy Dough Story
- Mennonite Paska by Food Lust People Love
- Pääsiäisleipä - Finnish Easter Bread by Bakers and Best
- Pane di Pasqua - Italian Easter Bread Wreath by Karen's Kitchen Stories
- Polish Bobka Easter Bread by Seduction in the Kitchen
- Russian Kulich by That's My Home
- Springtime Sweet Bread by Cooking club
- Strawberry Fritters by Cindy's Recipes and Writings
- Tsoureki (Greek Easter Bread) by Simply Veggies