Topped with a dyed egg and filled with a scattering of candied fruits, nuts, and anise seeds, you’ll enjoy this Italian Easter Bread.
For the Bread:
- 2 1/2 – 3 cups unsifted all-purpose flour, divided, plus more for dusting
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 package (1/4 ounce) active dry yeast
- 2/3 cup whole milk
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 eggs, plus one egg yolk
- 1 cup mixed candied fruits
- 1/2 cup chopped blanched almonds
- 1/2 teaspoon anise seed
- 3 raw eggs, dyed in various colors
For the Glaze and Sprinkles (Optional):
- 3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
- 1 1/2 tablespoons whole milk
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup multicolored nonpareils
For the Bread:
- In a large bowl, combine 1 cup flour, the sugar, salt, and yeast.*
- Heat milk and butter in a saucepan over low heat until the liquid is just warm and the butter is completely melted.
- Add the milk mixture to the dry ingredients, and stir with a sturdy spoon. Add the 2 eggs.
- Gradually add the flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until a very soft, slightly sticky dough forms. You may not need to use all of the flour.
- Turn the dough onto a lightly floured work surface. Knead by hand for about 5-8 minutes, until very smooth and elastic.
- Shape into a ball, and place in a bowl lightly greased with butter or oil, rolling it around to coat the entire ball in a thin film of fat. Cover, and let rise until doubled, about one hour.
- Punch the dough down, and turn onto the same lightly floured work surface. Knead in the fruits, almonds, and anise seed.
- Divide the dough into 3 equal parts. Divide each part into halves – there should be 6 pieces total. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes. Roll each piece of dough into about a 12-inch rope. Place two ropes together, and pinch one end. Twist the ropes together. Form into a ring on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone mat. Repeat with the other 2 sets of ropes, making a total of 3 bread rings.
- Cover, and let rise again until doubled, about 1 hour.
- Carefully place a dyed egg in the center of each dough ring. Whisk together the egg yolk and 1 tablespoon water. Carefully brush the top and sides of the bread, avoiding the dyed egg.
- Bake at 350°F for 20-25 minutes, until puffed and golden brown on the outside. Remove from the baking sheet and let cool completely.
For the Glaze and Decorating (Optional):
- Whisk together the confectioners’ sugar, milk, and vanilla. Let sit and thicken slightly, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes.
- Once the bread is cool, spread the glaze evenly around the top of each ring. Let harden slightly before garnishing with sprinkles. Serve and enjoy!
*Instead of by hand, you can mix and knead the dough in a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment.
- Prep Time: 3 hours
- Cook Time: 25 minutes
- Category: Bread
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: Baked Goods
Keywords: Italian Easter bread, eggs, Easter recipes, anise, almond