A traditional Italian Easter Bread recipe that’s easy to make! A holiday bread with a colorful egg in the middle that’s fun to decorate with family.
Prep Time: 2 hrs 20 mins
Cook Time: 35 mins
Total Time: 2 hrs 55 mins
Servings: 18 servings
- 1 ¼ cups milk
- ⅓ cup unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
- 2 ¼ teaspoons rapid rise instant yeast, 1 package
- ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs, beaten
- 4 cups all-purpose flour, divided, plus more for kneading
- 1 large egg, beaten plus 1 teaspoon water
- 3 dyed easter eggs, raw or hard boiled
- colored sprinkles
In a small saucepan, add milk and butter. Heat to 120 to 130°F (49 to 54ºC), stirring until the butter melts. Do not allow the milk to go above 130°F (54ºC).
In a large mixing bowl, combine yeast, salt, and sugar. Add the eggs and whisk together. Add the warmed milk and butter mixture. Add 2 cups of flour.
Attach a dough hook to a stand mixer and combine on medium speed until smooth, about 2 minutes. Scrape the sides with a spatula as needed to incorporate the flour.
Slowly add the remaining 2 cups of flour to the mixer on medium-low speed and scrape the sides as needed. Knead until the dough is stiff and slightly sticky, about 12 minutes.
Place the dough on a lightly floured board and hand knead for about 3 to 4 minutes, adding a little more flour to prevent sticking. Do not use more than ¼ cup of flour.
Shape dough into a ball, cover with a dish towel and allow to rest for 10 minutes.
Divide into 6 pieces. Roll each piece to form a 1-inch wide rope, about 14-inches long.
Taking 2 pieces, braid the rope, pinching the ends together and then loop into a circle. Make sure the ends are securely joined together.
Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet (2 per sheet), providing enough room to rise.
Loosely cover the baking sheet with plastic wrap or a dish towel and allow to rise in a warm area, like a proofing box, until it doubles in size, 45 to 60 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350°F (177ºC). Set the rack in the middle position.
Whisk together the large egg and 1 teaspoon water. Brush each braided bread with the egg wash.
If desired, top the bread with sprinkles.
Gently place one dyed egg in the center of each braided ring. Do not press into the dough, it will sink as it bakes.
Bake one tray at a time until golden brown, approximately 15 to 18 minutes.
Quickly transfer the baked bread to a cooling rack.