Friday, March 26, 2010

Italian Easter Bread

Italian Easter Bread

Italian Easter bread makes a spectacular and festive addition to an Easter table setting. My tradition has been to make the bread dough Easter morning before church, cover it and let the dough rise. Then Easter day, after church, I assemble and braid the dough into a ring with eggs and let it rise again. The Easter bread is baked off around 4 pm or so, just in time for dinner. Of course, if you plan to have Easter dinner earlier in the day, you could move up your baking schedule to either earlier in the morning, or the day before.

To color or not to color the eggs?
My mama recalls the Easter bread Granddad would bring home came from an Italian Bakery in New York City. She remembers it  having white eggs, not dyed - similar to how Ferrara's Bakery makes their Easter bread today. 

Traditional Greek Easter bread, tsoureki, incorporates red dyed eggs to symbolize the blood of Christ. I like baking the bread with pastel colored eggs - the choice is yours. The eggs are placed uncooked in the bread dough and will become hard cooked when the dough is baked in the oven. I find it works best to color the eggs the night before Easter, so the color can thoroughly dry.  

Growing Anise
Anise seeds add a hint of traditional Italian licorice flavor to the Easter bread dough. Anise (Pimpinella anisum) plants are lovely and easy to grow in the yard or garden. 

The plants grow similar to fennel with flowers that bloom in umbels. After flowering the blooms will go to seed. The seeds can be collected by cutting off the umbels and drying them on sheet pans. Anise seeds enhance breads and baked goods, such as Anise Biscotti and Pizzelles.

Check out my recipe!

Related Links
Diana's Anise Biscotti 
Copyright © 2010 Wind. All rights reserved.

No comments: