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pane di pasqua
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Pane Di Pasqua (Easter Egg Bread)

A sweet bread dough gets braided and an Easter egg gets placed in the middle to make Pane Di Pasqua (Easter Egg Bread)
Prep Time1 hr
Cook Time30 mins
Resting Time1 hr
Total Time1 hr 30 mins
Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: bread
Servings: 8 individual breads (or 1 12-inch bread)
Calories: 842kcal

Ingredients

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

Instructions

  • 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. 

Notes

  • Measure your flour accurately. Overmeasuring your flour could result in a tough dense bread. I recommend using a kitchen scale. If you don't own one, then be sure to fluff up your flour first. Then spoon into your measuring cup and level with a flat edge. For a full tutorial on how and why to measure your flour accurately, read this post here
  • Make sure your liquids are at the correct temperature before adding the yeast so it doesn't kill the yeast. The temperature of the milk should be somewhere between 105-110°F. For a full tutorial on yeast and how to proof it, you can read that here
  • You also want to make sure your eggs are at room temperature. I place mine in a bowl of warm water for 10 minutes before cracking them. 
  • If you are making small wreaths you will need to hard boil your eggs first. The wreaths will cook too fast before the eggs get a chance to hard boil. If you are making a large wreath there is no need to hard boil the eggs first. Just color and place in the center. 

Nutrition

Serving: 8servings | Calories: 842kcal | Carbohydrates: 123g | Protein: 19g | Fat: 29g | Saturated Fat: 16g | Cholesterol: 167mg | Sodium: 646mg | Potassium: 258mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 19g | Vitamin A: 930IU | Calcium: 109mg | Iron: 7mg