This is an Italian-American family's traditional Easter bread recipe, but most "old world" cultures have their own similar versions. This rich and aromatic bread served with a simple icing makes for a festive and delicious Easter treat.
- 1 package active dry yeast
- 1/4 cup water (100 F)
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup milk
- 4 eggs
- 1 teaspoon
- anise seeds
- 1 1/2 tablespoons anise extract
- 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon extract
- 1 tablespoon
- lemon zest
- 1 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 6 tablespoons butter (melted)
- 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (plus more as needed)
- In a large mixing bowl, dissolve the yeast in the warm water with a small pinch of sugar. Let sit 10 minutes.
- After the 10 minutes, whisk in the rest of the ingredients, except for the flour.
- Once everything else has combined, stir in the flour, one cup at a time, to form a wet, sticky dough.
- Turn onto a lightly floured surface. Knead for about 5 minutes, adding flour as needed to keep the dough from sticking to the surface, to form a smooth and elastic dough. Place in a lightly oiled bowl. Lightly oil the surface of the dough, and cover the bowl with a damp towel. Place in the oven with the light on. The dough needs to rise until doubled in size, which will take between 6 to 12 hours. This is a slow rising dough and may be left overnight.
- When doubled, punch dough down and turn onto a lightly floured surface; divide into four pieces. Shape into four small oval loaves. If desired, each piece can be cut into three strips and braided to give it a traditional Easter bread appearance.
- Place loaves on a silicon mat or parchment lined baking sheets. Cover very loosely with plastic wrap, and let rise for 2 hours. Bake at 350 F for 25 minutes or until golden brown. Remove and cool on wire racks.
- Once cooled completely the loaves can be served as is, or frosted with a simple lemon icing.
|Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)|
|Total Fat||6 g|
|Saturated Fat||2 g|
|Unsaturated Fat||2 g|
|Dietary Fiber||0 g|