Every Easter my Nonna would bake this bread. This isn't her actual recipe. As far as I know, no one in my family has it. I have few memories of her, for I was young when she passed away. I remember every time we went to her house, she always had food and was always saying, "Mangia."
My Nonna in front of her Mary statue, in her back yard.
If you don't have your families recipes written down, do it now! You never know when life will lead you down a road you don't want to be traveling on. There were so many lost recipes when she passed!
Anyway, off of my soapbox............I remember this bread every Easter. I did some research on other Easter breads and then made this recipe. My mother tasted it and told me to add some additional ingredients, based on what she remembered. Here is the complete recipe:
2 1/4 teaspoons yeast
Pinch of salt
1 1/4 hot milk, brought back down to room temperature
1/3 cup soft butter
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 cup dried fruit cut into small chunks
4-5 cups flour
6 dyed Easter eggs
1 extra egg to make an egg wash
To begin, color the eggs. You do not need to boil them. The eggs will cook in the oven, with the bread.
In your mixer, with your dough hook, add the yeast, salt and milk. ALERT! If your milk is too hot, it will kill the yeast. Make sure to bring it down to room temperature.
Let the yeast activate. This means that it will start to foam and/or bubble. This is what will make the bread rise.
Add the butter, sugar, eggs, baking powder, cinnamon, dried fruit and 2 cups of the flour. Mix the ingredients together and then slowly add the remaining flour. You will know when you have added enough flour when the dough forms a ball on the dough hook.
Put the dough in an oiled bowl. Cover and let it rise for 1 hour. Punch the dough down and divide into 12 parts.
Take each of the 12 parts and make a long rope. Take two ropes and twist them.
Complete the twist and make into a circle. Place the egg in the middle of the bread circle. Let that rise 30 minutes.
Take the extra egg, and whisk it with a little water and sugar. Brush that on top of the bread. Sprinkle the bread with...............sprinkles.
Bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes or until golden brown.
Sierra was introduced to Easter bread!