Pane Di Pasqua or otherwise known as Easter Egg Bread is a rich sweet dough braided with colorful hard boiled eggs stuck right in the center. You can make 8 small breads or one giant Easter Egg bread.
With any holiday, there are fun family traditions. For me, growing up Easter meant getting a new dress for church. Mine was usually gawdy with lots of flowers on it. My choice.
My mother would hide our Easter baskets somewhere in the house. I always had so much fun searching for mine.
And there was always a fabulous Easter dinner. Traditions are grand. But here’s the thing, starting new traditions. Also just as fun. I can’t say growing up that we had Easter Egg bread.
But after making this bread and diving into one and devouring it seconds later. I really wish my childhood had been filled with it. Because, oh my word, it’s fabulous.
Pane di pasqua, or more simply Easter Egg bread starts with a rich brioche sweet dough that gets braided, and fun pastel colored eggs fit snugly down in the dough and baked.
This recipe starts with a sweet bread dough made in your stand mixer. This is a rich dough which means milk, sugar, and eggs are added to your flour and yeast mixture. You will also add in softened butter to the dough mixture.
This recipes make a lot of dough, friend. So be warned. You will want to add the rest of your flour in a large mixing bowl, and not your stand mixer. Your stand mixer, although it’s a beast. Might not be able to hold all the dough.
You will need to knead this dough by hand. Just remember, fold, push, turn. In other words, fold the dough in half, and push it away with the palm of your hands, and give it a quarter turn. Repeat this until it’s smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes. Don’t worry about overkneading. It’s pretty tough to do when kneading by hand.
While the dough is resting, you can get to making the pastel eggs. I mean, not gonna lie this part was fun. A chance to be a kid again. Yes please. Now I grew up using those fizzy pastel tablets. But seriously all you need is some boiling water, food coloring, and vinegar. If you are making one large braided bread, you don’t need to hard boil the eggs first. If you are making small braided breads, then you will need to hard boil the eggs first, because the bread won’t be in the oven long enough to hard boil them.
To braid the small loaves, just make two ropes and twist them together and pinch them into a circle. If you’re making a large bread, divide the dough into 3 pieces and roll them into long ropes and braid them.
If more help in making this recipe and all homemade bread recipes, then check out this Ultimate Guide!
When making this bread here are a few more posts that you might find helpful:
- How To Measure Your Flour Correctly
- Yeast 101: What are the different kinds of yeast?
- How To Proof Yeast Video
For More Bread Recipes Check Out These!
- Traditional Challah Bread
- Quick and Easy One Hour Cinnamon Rolls
- Raspberry Sweet Rolls
- Brown Sugar Brioche Cinnamon Rolls
To Make This Recipe For Pane Di Pasqua (Easter Egg Bread) You Will Need:
- Stand Mixer
- Large Mixing Bowl
- Measuring cups and spoons
- Cookie sheet- I love these aluminum rimmed cookie sheets from Nordicware
- Digital thermometer– I use this to tell the temperature of my bread to make sure it’s done.
Pane Di Pasqua (Easter Egg Bread)
For the sweet bread dough
- 1 1/2 cups warm whole milk
- 2 packages active dry yeast
- 4 large eggs lightly beaten
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 8 3/4 cups all purpose flour divided
- 1 cup unsalted butter softened
For the dyed eggs
- 3 cups boiling water
- 1/2 teaspoon food coloring I used blue and pink
- 1 Tablespoon distilled white vinegar
For the egg wash
- 1 teaspoon whole milk
- 1 large egg lightly beaten
- 1 1/2 tablespoons sesame seeds optional
To make the bread dough: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine warm milk and yeast. Let the mixture stand until it's foamy, about 10 minutes.
With the mixer at medium speed, beat in eggs, sugar, and salt into yeast mixture until combined. With mixer on low speed add 4 cups flour, beating until combined. Add butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating until combined. Transfer dough to a large bowl, and stir in 4 cups flour with a spatula or wooden spoon until combined. (This is a large amount of dough, so you may need to transfer to a large mixing bowl to accomplish this).
Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface, and knead until smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes. Add remaining 3/4 cup of flour as needed. (Dough should not be sticky).
Spray a large bowl with cooking spray. Place dough in bowl , turning to grease top. Loosely cover and let rise in a warm, draft free place until doubled in size, about an hour.
While the dough is rising- prepare your dyed eggs. If you are making a large wreath there is no need to hard boil your eggs first. If you are making the individual twists, then you will need to hard boil them first before dying. Place a wire rack on top of a sheet tray lined with paper towels.
In a medium bowl, whisk together 3 cups boiling water (I used two colors so I used two bowls with about 1 1/2 - 2 cups boiling water) and food coloring. Stir in vinegar. Gently lower eggs for wreath or 8 for individuals into water mixture until desired color is reached about 1 minute. Let dry completely on prepared rack, and refrigerate until ready to use.
Pre-heat oven to 350oF.
Lightly punch down the sweet bread dough. Cover and let stand for 5 minutes. On a lightly floured surface, turn out dough.
For wreath: Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spray with cooking spray. Divide dough into 3 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a rope about 26 inches long. Place strands vertically in front of you. Pinch 3 ends together at top. Braid ropes together until you've reached end of strands. Join two ends together forming a circle, pinching ends to seal. Transfer to a prepared pan. Gently tuck 5 dyed eggs between strands of dough. Cover and let stand in a warm draft free place until puffed, about 30 minutes.
In a small bowl, whisk together a milk and remaining 1 egg. Brush dough with egg wash, avoiding eggs.
Bake until golden brown and an instant read thermometer inserted in the center registers 190oF, 30 to 35 minutes, loosely covering with foil to prevent excess browning if necessary.
For individual twists: Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper, and spray with cooking spray.
Divide dough into 8 equal pieces. Divide each piece in half. Roll each piece into a rope about 12 inches long. Place 2 strands vertically in front of you. Pinch ends together at top. Twist 2 pieces together, until you've reached the ends of the strands. Join two ends together forming a circle, pinching ends to seal. Transfer to prepared pans. Repeat with remaining dough. Place 1 dyed egg in center of each circle. Cover and let stand in a warm draft free place until puffed about 30 minutes.
In a small bowl, whisk together milk and remaining 1 egg. Brush dough with egg wash, avoiding eggs. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.
Bake until golden brown and an instant-read thermometer inserted in center registered 190oF, 20 to 25 minutes.
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