An Italian Easter Bread is one of the very traditional Italian bread recipes . It's baked in the shape of a dove. It's to symbolize new life in Christ, the resurrection, and the Easter message. So - to get the dove shape you can do one of two things:
There is no hard fast rule saying you HAVE to shape the bread like a dove. But, that's the tradition. That's what makes it an Italian Easter Bread versus a normal bread. What you might find more "normal" about this is - it's real close to panettone recipe.
The bread is sweet and it's made the same as my panettone recipe EXCEPT the raisins AREN'T put in. For awhile I used to make bread several times a week. With my kids moving away - I rarely make it anymore. So, (not that I'm trying to talk you out of making this) you can buy a NICE loaf of Italian Easter bread at Dean DeLuca, Italian Bakeries, Target (Some seasons), World Market and the likes. That's if you want to save some coin and a little effort this Easter.
Now, I did put the recipe here in case you want to give it a go. Oh, one more thing - the toppings. There is no hard fast rule or tradition that uses one certain topping. I've seen any of these used:
Just put them on BEFORE you bake the loaf. Enjoy and thanks for stopping by -
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* 2 cups butter softened
* 1 1/2 cups of sugar
* 4 eggs
* 1 cup milk
* 1 Tablespoon vanilla
* 1 Tablespoon brandy (see below)
* 1 Tablespoon rum (see below)
* 1 Tablespoon grated lemon peel
* 1 Tablespoon anise (see below)
* 4 cups flour
* 4 teaspoons baking powder
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 3/4 cup candied orange and lemon peel (found in MOST baking sections)
* A handful of a topping of your choice
* Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
* Cream together butter and sugar
* Add the eggs one at a time - beating well after each addition
* Add the milk, lemon peel, and all the liqueurs (anise, rum, brandy)
* Blend well
* Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt
* Gradually add to the cream mixture
* Fold in the candied orange and lemon peel.
* Pour into your "dove" pan.
* Make an egg wash (1 egg yolk, 1 tablespoon of milk)
* Place your topping on the bread
* Cover with the egg wash
* Bake about me
You "can" - but that wouldn't make it a traditional Italian Easter Bread. It would be more of our Christmas bread recipe - which is called panettone.
This is what we also use in panettone. (Remember I said these two breads were similar?) However, you can leave any or all of them out. Anise is the liqueur that taste like black licorice (even though there is none in it), and you are well acquainted with rum and brandy. And Italian Easter Bread is more about the tradition and the shape. It's just always been made much like a panettone recipe - but YOU DON'T HAVE TO PUT all of these liqueurs in. (The tradition is more about the shape than the liqueurs.)
Yup. The zest just gives the bread more of a flavor - a zing. The candied peel you will actually taste and chew.
Not here. This is more of a simple recipe. You can always do the long way around if you want. I'm sure somebody somewhere has this recipe made with yeast. I don't.
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