Plus salt which is very important for all yeasted doughs and must not be omitted. Salt helps control the rise and is very important in making bread taste good.
What is strong bread flour?
Strong bread flour is made from hard wheat varieties and has more gluten than regular flour. Gluten is important in baking with yeast because it creates the elasticity in the dough and gives structure and strength to the bread when baking.
You may not have these exact ingredients but you still want to make Italian Easter Bread. The ingredients in this sweet bread are traditional but you can vary some ingredients according to what you have in the kitchen and your tastes. Here’s a few options:-
Plain, all purpose flour or 00 flour can be substituted for the strong bread flour. Don’t use cake flour. It won’t make good bread. Substitute finely grated rind of one orange for the candied peel. Ground anise seeds can be used instead of grinding your own. If you don’t like the liquorice taste of anise, substitute 1/2 or 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon or any other ground spice that you like. Active, dried yeast can be used instead of instant yeast. Simply dissolve in the tepid milk and allow to stand for 5 minutes to activate. If you only have salted butter, use that. Reduce the salt by half. How to make coloured eggs.
Use raw eggs for this bread. The eggs will cook in the oven just like hard-boiled eggs. Colour two eggs red, blue and green and one of yellow in the following method.
For each colour – spoon two teaspoons of white vinegar and 20 or 30 drops of food colouring into a small bowl. Add one cup of hot water from the kitchen tap. Carefully place the desired number of eggs into the coloured hot water without cracking or breaking the eggs. Spoon coloured water over the eggs and move them around in the water until coloured which should only take 5 minutes. Set on paper towels to dry. Allow eggs to dry for one hour.
This method is also perfect to colour hard-boiled eggs for Easter baskets or gifts.
This is meant to be a sticky dough. Using a stand mixer makes it easier to mix.
Mix 4 cups flour, sugar, orange peel, instant dried yeast, ground anise seeds, salt, milk and eggs. Add butter a bit at a time. Add more flour if needed to form a not too sticky dough Allow to dough rise in a warm place until doubled. Scrape the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and divide into three equal portions. Roll out each into a long (about 24in/60cm) rope. Plait the dough. Carefully twist into a ring, join the ends and allow to rise. Brush with egg wash. Push the eggs onto the dough and bake.
Drizzle cooled bread with icing and scatter with coloured sprinkles to decorate.
Instructions without a stand mixer
To make this dough without a stand mixer:-
Mix the ingredients in step 2 in a bowl with a wooden spoon using ALL the flour stated in the recipe. Turn the dough out onto a floured board. Using a dough scraper or a flat stiff spatula, scrape up the dough and turn it onto itself. Every now and then pick up the dough and slap it down. Continue this kneading style for 8-10 minutes. Return the dough to a clean bowl and proceed with step 4. Variations
Vary this bread with a few additions to make this recipe your own.
add chocolate chips or chopped chocolate to the dough. dried fruit such as raisins, currants or apricots are delicious additions vary the spices – try mixed spice, cardamom or cinnamon make two smaller loaves. or make four or six small sweet breads. Put one egg in the middle of each small bread. Can I make this recipe in advance?
This sweet Easter Bread is best eaten on the day of baking. However, that would be hard to do if you have lots of other food to prepared. In that case, bake in the afternoon the day before. When cool, put in an airtight container and refrigerate overnight. The next day, allow the bread to come to room temperature while still in the airtight container so that the icing doesn’t sweat. Before serving, slices can be warmed in a microwave oven for a few seconds, eg 2 slices for 30 seconds on high. Alternatively, leave uniced and refrigerate as above. The next day, wrap in foil and warm in a 300F °/150C°oven for 15-20 minutes or until heated through. Serve warm.
Can I freeze this sweet bread?
While homemade bread is best eaten the day they are made or shortly after. However, leftovers can be frozen. This makes a BIG loaf so unless you have lots of hungry mouths to feed you may have leftovers. Before freezing, remove any remaining eggs and use for egg sandwiches or egg salad. Wrap the bread well in two layers of plastic wrap before place in a sealed airtight container or clip-seal bag. I like to slice any remaining bread before freezing. This is convenient when you just want one or two slices. I love to toast a couple of slices straight out of the freezer for breakfast.
Easter Egg Nests
Malted Chocolate Easter Cake
Ricotta Easter Pie from She Love Biscotti
Sugar-Free Salted Caramel Cheesecake Easter eggs from Mad Creations Hub
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This updated recipe was first published on 1 April, 2013 using all red eggs.
Print Italian Easter Bread This Italian Easter Bread is Italy's answer to Hot Cross Buns. Full of symbolism and tasty as well! Whether you use multi-colored eggs, red eggs or uncolored eggs, this bread will be the crowning of your Easter table Course Bread, Breakfast, Snack Cuisine Australian,, Greek, Italian Keyword italian easter bread Prep Time 20 minutes Cook Time 30 minutes Rising time 2 hours Total Time 2 hours 50 minutes Servings 20 servings Calories 234kcal Author Marcellina Ingredients 4 ½ cups flour ½ cup sugar ⅓ cup finely chopped candied orange peel 2 ½ teaspoons instant dried yeast 1 teaspoon anise seeds (or more according to taste) ½ teaspoon salt 1¼ cups whole milk 2 eggs at room temperature ½ cup butter at room temperature Egg wash 1 egg beaten with 1 teaspoon water Icing 1 cup icing (powdered) sugar 2 teaspoons lemon juice 2 teaspoons water Dyed eggs 5 eggs food colouring 8 teaspoon white vinegar To decorate coloured sprinkles Instructions Grind anise seeds with mortar and pestle as finely as you can. Warm milk until just tepid. Place 4 cups flour, sugar, orange peel, instant dried yeast, anise seeds and salt into bowl of stand mixer. Attach the dough hook. Add in the milk and eggs into the mixer. Turn the mixer on slowly. When the dough comes together add the butter, one tablespoon at a time until well incorporated. If the dough is very sticky add more of the additional flour. Knead until smooth and elastic. Remove the bowl, cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 1/2 hours. Scrape the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and divide into three equal portions. Roll out each into a long (about 24in/60cm) rope. Plait and carefully twist into a ring, join the ends and place on a tray lined with silicone baking paper. Allow the dough to rise in a warm place until double again which should only take about 30 minutes. In the meantime heat the oven to 180C. When risen, brush with egg wash. Arrange the eggs on the dough and push in slightly. Bake for about 30 minutes until well browned and cooked through. Cool on a rack. Make icing Sift the powdered sugar into a small bowl. Stir in the lemon juice and enough water to make a runny icing. Drizzle icing over the bread but not on the eggs. Scatter with coloured sprinkles How to colour eggs Colour two eggs of red, blue and green and one of yellow in the following method. For each colour - spoon two teaspoons of white vinegar and 20 or 30 drops of food colouring into a small bowl. Add one cup of hot water from the kitchen tap. Carefully place desired number of eggs into the coloured hot water. Spoon coloured water over the eggs and move them around in the water until coloured which should only take 5 minutes. Set on paper towels to dry. Allow to dry for one hour before use. Notes You can eat the eggs as they will be cooked along with the dough. Naturally don't leave them sitting out with in the dough for hours and then expect them to still be good. You can remove the eggs and refrigerate then place them back in for serving. This bread was based on this Easter Bread by the Italian Dish but also various other sources. Nutrition Calories: 234kcal | Carbohydrates: 36g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 79mg | Sodium: 134mg | Potassium: 89mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 14g | Vitamin A: 262IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 33mg | Iron: 2mg
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