Njom Week 2: Italian easter bread

Late for Easter, I know, I know.  I’ve been sitting on this post for the last few days, as I’ve been freaking out about other much more major things that need to be finished within the next month.

I’m by no means Italian in any way, shape, or form, but since becoming obsessed with food (because let’s face it, it is an obsession), I’ve been intrigued by Italians and these other cultures that like to put entire eggs (shell and all) in their breads.  As a result, it’s only natural that I’ve wanted to try attempting to make some myself.  I ended up going with a fantastic Italian sweet bread recipe.

Italian Easter Bread
Source: The Italian Dish
Makes 6

1 package Rapid Rise yeast
1 1/4 cups scalded milk, cooled to room temperature
Pinch of salt
1/3 cup butter, softened
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup sugar
3 1/2 cups flour (approx.)

1 egg, beaten with 1 tsp of water
6 dyed Easter eggs (don’t have to be hardboiled… they’re supposed to cook while the bread bakes, but I found mine didn’t cook all the way through)
Nonpareil sprinkles

In a large bowl of a mixer, combine the yeast, warm milk, salt, butter, eggs, and sugar. Add about half of the flour and beat until smooth with a dough hook. Slowly add the remaining flour to form a stiff dough. You’ll probably need more than 3 1/2 cups of flour. (I think I used around 4 in the end, but I honestly didn’t keep track.) Just keep adding flour a bit at a time until the dough is no longer sticky. Knead until smooth, either with the dough hook attachment of your mixer, or on a floured board by hand. Place in a greased bowl, cover, and let rise in a warm place until doubled (about an hour).

Punch dough down, and divide until 12 pieces. Roll each piece to form a 1″ thick rope about 14″ long. Taking two pieces, twist to form a “braid,” pinching the ends, and loop into a circle.

Place on a greased baking sheet. Cover and let rise until double (about an hour). Brush each bread with the egg wash. Sprinkle sprinkles on the tops of the breads. In the middle of each bread ring, gently place an Easter egg, making an indentation with the egg.

Bake 350° F until golden, about 20-25 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.

The Easter eggs in my bread went to waste, it seemed. Some of them were too large to cook through entirely while the bread was baking. (That must be what I get for using non-grocery store eggs?) So while Sean and I ended up not eating any of the eggs, the bread was gobbled up! It’s a perfect sweet bread. And I’m always a sucker for sprinkles.

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One response to “Njom Week 2: Italian easter bread

  1. I have made the same bread, and it is a wonderful recipe….
    I use small eggs which I have dyed as well. I make sure they are room temperature. Usually, I braid them into the bread dough when I shape the dough for the second rise (wrap the braided dough around the egg). Often, I put a small cross of braided or twisted dough across as well to hold the egg in place (optional).
    Just before baking, I do a double egg wash for extra shine…(make sure you let the first egg wash dry before putting on the second one). Then I sprinkle coloured crystal sugar (you can find it in the bulk store) and the sprinkles.
    I have never had a problem…all the eggs were cooked perfectly.
    Absolutely delicious with nippy cheese such as potuguese San Jorge cheddar……..Hope this helps you…..Enjoy!!!

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