Apr 14, 2015

Pane di Pasqua - Italian Easter Bread Wreath #BreadBakers

Pane di Pasqua - Italian Easter Bread Wreath

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.

Pane di Pasqua - Italian Easter Bread Wreath

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


  1. The night before making the bread, mix the starter ingredients. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let sit for 10 to 15 hours. 
  2. 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. 
  3. Place the dough into an oiled bowl, cover, and let rise for 60 to 120 minutes, until very puffy and almost doubled.
  4. 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. 
  5. Braid the three pieces of dough and then coil them around to form a wreath. 
  6. Place the wreath on a parchment paper lined baking sheet, and cover with oiled plastic wrap.
  7. Let rise for one to two hours, until quite puffy. 
  8. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. 
  9. 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.
  10. Cool on a wire rack. 
  11. Make the glaze. It should be pretty thin. Brush the glaze on the wreath and add sprinkles!!

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  1. What a pretty loaf! It sure would be great for Mother's Day or any day for that matter.

  2. This has been on my bucket list of things to make for SO long! This is inspiring me to take the plunge! So pretty. :)

  3. It is great seeing all these bright and Spring looking breads! I've seen loaves like this before but never had the courage to braid it and go the extra mile with the whole eggs baked into the braid. Yours came out wonderfully!

    1. I still have to brave the whole eggs! Mastering braiding and coiling it into a wreath was enough!

  4. Beautiful!
    Have you tried making it with the egg in the middle? (That part always makes me nervous for some reason)

    1. Thanks Cher! I have not been that brave either!

  5. Yes, I find that enriched doughs stale pretty quickly too. These days, I make most of my enriched dough with the Tangzhong method so it stays fresh for several days. Unless I want French toast or bread pudding (both of which I adore)!

    I love all the festive sprinkles. Such a pretty braid, Karen!

    1. I definitely need to remember that. I love traditional Tangzhong bread but haven't adapted it to these breads. Thank you!!!

  6. This would be perfect at any brunch, year round. I love the orange vanilla flavor combination, Karen. And sprinkles make everything better!

  7. I would love to get my hands on the Fiori di Sicilia. Sounds like a wonderful aroma. Very beautiful bread.

  8. A perfect addition to a brunch buffet and I love the idea of sprinkles that can be changed up to fit an occasion.

  9. What a lovely wreath! Thank for sharing with #BreadBakers. I love pane di pasqua!

  10. This looks beautiful and sounds delicious. The sprinkles make it so festive. Perfect for the holiday!

  11. Your bread looks delicious and love the colour sprinkles

  12. Beautiful loaf! so festive! Never attempted this type of bread, maybe I'll go for it next year.. ;-)

  13. Sprinkles! And Fiori di Sicilia! What could be bad? Such a pretty bread, Karen. The idea of making bread pudding or French toast makes me want to bake up two right now. One to eat on its own and one for all that other good stuff. Definitely on the Mother's Day horizon.

  14. Your sprinkles make me happy, that's for sure. This does look like the perfect Mother's Day treat. It's so pretty, Karen!

  15. Love the colorful sprinkles, prefect for the holidays!

  16. Such a beautiful bread deserves to be eaten all year round and not just during Easter!! Love the spinkles and the lovely colour of this loaf!!

  17. What a beautiful bread. I think fiori di sicilia makes anything and everything taste good :-)

  18. Love your pretty loaf, Karen! I can't wait to make my own.

  19. Very Beautiful bread, you have it there...

  20. yummy and pretty loaf of bread............


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