Italian Easter Egg Bread

I know… I am so late in posting this. It has almost been a week since Easter has ended but I feel that this recipe is worth sharing. Along with the Pastiera di Grano, this delicious bread has also been an Easter tradition in my family. As a child, waking up to this bread was one of my favorite parts about the holiday.

The sweet egg bread is braided and wrapped around hard boiled eggs. Traditionally, the eggs are dyed light pastel colors, making the bread very colorful. We decided to go for a more rustic look using brown eggs. We did this because A. we were too lazy to dye the eggs; and B. food dye is not the best thing for you.

Please take note that this recipe is an EASY BREAD MACHINE VERSION. In my eyes, there is nothing wrong with taking a couple of shortcuts 🙂

The dense doughiness of this bread is best accompanied with a nice slab of (REAL) butter. But then again, what isn’t good with butter?

Ingredients and Instructions:

Place ingredients into your bread machine in order given:

1&1/4 cups equal parts milk and water (warmed but not hot)

4 tbsp sugar

2 tbsp butter (softened to room temp)

1 whole egg (whisk in gently to liquids with fork)

1 tsp grated orange zest

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp ground anise seeds or anise extract ( can substitute 1 tsp vanilla)

1 tsp salt

4 cups flour

2 tsp or one packet of dry yeast

Set of dough only cycle, check after 5 minutes, if dough looks too wet add a bit more flour, if too dry add a bit more water.

Divide dough into 3 equal parts, form into ropes and braid, form into circle and tuck in 5 or 6 raw eggs as in a nest. You can also do individual nests if you prefer. Coloring eggs is optional, this year we used brown eggs to create a rustic look. You can refrigerate covered overnight and take out about 1/2 to 1 hour before baking in the morning. Brush with egg water wash just before baking and sprinkle with raw sugar if you like.

Bake at 375 degrees for about 35 to 45 minutes. Bread will tap hollow when done. Eggs will bake with the bread.

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