An Italian Easter tradition is this very festive and impressive Easter Bread with colored eggs on top!
It is definitely worth the effort and comes out perfectly every time.
I don’t color the entire hard-boiled eggs on top of the bread because I don’t like the coloring to get onto the bread. Just rubbing the egg with food coloring after the bread has cooled works fine for me!
Italian Easter Egg Bread
- 6 cups flour
- ½ cups sugar
- 2 packages (1/4 ounce each) yeast active dry
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1½ cups milk
- 6 tablespoons butter
- 3 eggs
- 1 egg for the egg wash on top of the dough
- 3 eggs hard boiled, for decoration
- Preheat the oven to 375°.
- Grease or spray a baking sheet pan or cover it with parchment paper.
- In a mixer on lowest speed, or by hand, combine the flour, sugar, yeast, and salt. Set aside.
- In a saucepan on top of the stove, heat the milk and butter to 120 – 130°. Use a candy thermometer to get an accurate temperature.
- Add this to dry ingredients and mix on low speed just until moistened.
- Add 3 eggs and mix until smooth.
- Change to a dough hook attachment and beat on low speed until it forms a soft dough. Add extra flour if needed.
- Let it continue to knead with the dough hook until smooth and elastic, about 6 to 8 minutes. Alternatively you can knead the dough by hand.
- Place the dough into a large greased bowl, turning it once over to grease the top of the dough.
- Cover the bowl with a tea towel and let it rise in a warm place until doubled, about 45 minutes.
- Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and divide the dough into thirds.
- Shape each dough portion into a 34-inch rope.
- Place the ropes onto the prepared baking sheet and braid the three ropes. Bring the ends together to form a ring.
- Pinch the ends to seal the dough.
- Gently separate the braided ropes to tuck the three hard-boiled eggs into the openings.
- Cover the bread with a tea towel and let it rise until doubled, about 20 minutes.
- In a small bowl, make an egg wash by beating together a tablespoon of water and one egg. Use a pastry brush to brush the egg wash over the dough.
- Bake at 375° for 28 – 32 minutes or until golden brown.
- Place the pan on a wire rack to cool for30 minutes.
- Using a paper towel and food coloring, squeeze a few drops of food coloring onto the paper towel and rub the tops of the hard-boiled eggs. Be careful not to touch the bread with the food coloring.
- When food coloring is dry on the eggs, use a knife around edges of the pan to loosen the bread and carefully invert bread upside down on a wire rack, then quickly invert bread onto a serving plate.
- Store the bread covered at room temperature.