Italian Easter Bread

Italian Easter Bread, or Pane di Pasqua is a  braided brioche type yeast bread with eggs cooked within.
Italian Easter Bread

Italian Easter Bread

By Sue Lau | Palatable Pastime

I don’t know why the very fist time I saw one of these breads, I wondered how they kept the eggs from overcooking during the bake cycle, since hard-cooked eggs were put on top, and if they didn’t, how did they keep the indentations from rising and filling up? <laughs>

Yeah, yeah, even I have a blonde baking moment. Or should I say “senior baking moment”? AARP seems to think  I am already over the hill.

Sometimes when I go to Findlay market, and park in the west lot, I walk past the old guy who sits on the sidewalk singing for his money for supper, and he speaks to almost everyone going past (it does tend to help with fundraising). Except of course if you say to Sue “How’s it going  today grandma?”  And in fact, that was the very first time anyone ever called me that and no, I am not a grandmother. Yet. But this past weekend I went down there (stalking the elusive morel mushroom  I suppose, as Madison’s market occasionally has them) and I parked in the west lot, and on the walk in, old guy was there as usual. And it was a lucky stroke of fate that I was somehow upgraded from grandma to just mamma. “How are you today, Mamma?” That’s revolting too, but it was an upgrade. That guy really needs to work on his conversation. Because I am NOT over-the-hill just yet. Heh. And I recall some of my female friends going berserk at being called ma’am. Come on down to Findlay. Give us your tired, your poor, your indignant grandmas and red hot mammas….Hahahahaha!

Well, anyhoo,  I chose this recipe because today is a double-up of blogging groups I am participating in, both #BreadBakers, which I do on a monthly basis, and #EasterRecipes, which is a weeklong event a bunch of us are going in on together, and we do various ones as we think up ideas and find willing guinea pigs (participants).  Bread Bakers, for this month is having the theme of Italian bread, and Easter of course combine to come up with this idea.

I’d not made this one before, although I have made brioche in the mixer and it turned out great. This seems to be an Italian version of brioche (brioche being French), but as I have found out, many things French also have an Italian counterpart (like ragout and ragu) so there is definite culinary overlap.

I really was confused about the eggs until I saw some recipes for this. And actually, I was following a recipe from Bake from Scratch (magazine) with few minor tweaks I didn’t think were necessary and some were. But when the bake temp at the time they suggested was massively off, I actually panicked a little bit, wishing I’d used the brioche I worked up for King’s Cake instead. But nothing could be done at that point but continue baking,  probe check, bake some more, probe check and then some more…all the while I am peeking at those sprinkles and the eggs, thinking the sprinkles were going to melt and who knows what would be inside those eggs? Brown ping pong balls maybe. I mean, this is why I hate using recipes from cookbooks and magazines. And I have seen those cookbook and magazine authors…case in point- (Martha Stewart: “Who ARE these…bloggers, anyway?”) insult the blogosphere, but you know, everything that goes around, comes around. Bad recipes abound, no matter who writes them.

Anyway, 50% longer bake time, accurate to a probe temp, and the sprinkles are still intact, if the crust was only slightly  darker than I wanted, but then, to test the egg.

The eggs don’t slip out like you’d think. You kind of peel the bread away from them, But the egg inside was acceptable enough (you can see in the photos)- not as perfect as the eggs I do for salads and deviled eggs (I take pride in my eggs!) but, close enough.

The bread is lightly sweet, and although I didn’t do it here, think it would be good with a thin icing drizzle. As it is, break out your homemade jams and French butter (what? you only have Welch’s grape and Country Crock spread you say?), well, it is Easter, what you put on your table for the holiday is your business, and as well, what you do for everyday morning breakfasts too. Whatever you like, is what I like to say.

But this is definitely perfect for Easter brunch, with some eggs built right in. Just don’t forget, since it is a big loaf, to refrigerate this after brunch if there are leftovers, and as well beforehand if you make this the night before. It’s the dyed eggs. They require refrigeration. So just pop this into a covered cake keeper and find some room in the fridge.

Italian Easter Bread

Join me tomorrow as I continue posting Easter Recipes with my offering of Peeps Whoopie Pies, which are sandwich cookies with a peeps stuffing. On Thursday I will be sharing my recipe for champagne and citrus flavored Mimosa Bundt Cake with the #BundtBakers group and the #EasterRecipes group as well. Friday I will be sharing a springtime version of Frosted M&M’s blondies, for a perfect Easter bar cookie. Join me each day!


Italian Easter Bread

Italian Easter Bread

  • Servings: 6-10
  • Difficulty: advanced
  • Print

Italian Easter Bread

For the eggs:

  • 6 large uncooked eggs
  • 6 cups hot water
  • 6 tablespoons vinegar
  • 6 teaspoons food coloring


  • 1-1/2 cups whole milk, warmed to 105°F.-110°F.
  • 2 (0,25 ounce) packages of active dry yeast
  • 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 pounds, 5 ounces all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, cut into 16 pieces (1 tbsp. each)
  • 1 egg white, lightly beaten
  • cake sprinkles


  1. Stir vinegar into one cup hot water and add 1 teaspoon of food coloring of your choice and stir. Make as many cup colors as you like, up to 6.
  2. Carefully dip raw egg into coloring and let it sit until desired color is reached, then drain,  pat dry and set the colored raw eggs aside.
  3. Heat the milk and check the temp with a probe thermometer. Whisk in the yeast and add a pinch or two of sugar; let yeast sit for 10-15 minutes or until bubbly.
  4. Place the yeast milk into a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook.
  5. Add the beaten eggs, sugar and salt and mix on low until combined.
  6. Add the flour one cup at a time, allowing it to work in, until you have added all of it. If your mixer is small and cannot hold it all, continue mixing this in a large mixing bowl. I have a 6-qt. KA mixer and it was fine with lots of extra room.
  7. Scrape the mixer bowl sides down and start adding the butter- I just cut it off the stick with a knife and added those one at a time to the mixer while it was running, continuing to mix until the butter disappeared.
  8. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and shape into a ball.
  9. Place dough ball into a mixing bowl that has been sprayed with nonstick spray. Cover loosely with plastic and set in a warm place to rise until doubled, about one hour.
  10. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  11. Punch down the dough and let rest 5-10  minutes.
  12. Lightly flour a work surface, divide the dough into thirds and roll each piece out into a rope 24 inches long.
  13. Place the ropes next to each other and pinch the ends together on one side.
  14. Braid the three ropes, coiling the dough around and tucking the end of the braid under the first part to hide it.
  15. Place parchment paper on a baking sheet and place round dough on top.
  16. Lightly brush with egg white, then tuck the eggs into the dough gently, pressing them down where the dough sinks. Sprinkle with cake sprinkles.
  17. Allow to rest until the oven is hot.
  18. Bake the bread for 30-40 minutes until the bread is browned, then removed from oven, gently pressing the eggs down and covering the bread with a foil tent to prevent more excess browning.
  19. Bake for another 30 minutes or until a probe thermometer reads 190° in the center or thickest part of the bread (the hole in the middle of mine filled up so I tested there, as the temp was lowest there).
  20. When done, removed from oven and slide the parchment sheet onto a wire rack  to allow the bread to cool.
  21. Refrigerate bread within 2 hours of not eating all of it right away.

From the kitchen of

Italian Easter Bread


Italian Breads

#BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. Follow our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated each month on this home page.We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient.If you are a food blogger and would like to join us, just send Stacy an email with your blog URL to Food Lust People Love

#EasterRecipes are listed below


This week, thirteen bloggers are sharing 46 recipes and tips to help you serve up deliciousness this Easter. Follow #EasterRecipes on social media to see what we’re serving up!


11 responses

  1. I was totally chuckling reading your post. I have a thing for eggs too, so i totally get it. Your bread looks great. It’s my favorite to make around Easter. thank you for participating this month.

  2. You’re not the only one who wondered about the eggs. I always imagined I’d have an exploding eggy mess in my oven so I always avoided baking with them. But this is so cute and colorful and tempting that I might have to go for it!

  3. What a pretty bread, Sue! So festive! And I love your idea of the drizzle of icing. I’ve never made an Easter bread like this before. But after seeing yours, I’m definitely looking forward to trying it!

  4. Those eggs don’t look half bad “mamma.” Lol! I’ve always wondered too! I’ve made a similar bread, but I’ve always left out the eggs out of fear. I may have to try this next Easter!

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