italian easter bread
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italian easter bread

Makes 4 loaves of light and tender Italian Easter bread (about 800 grams per loaf)
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Ingredients

  • 6 eggs
  • 2.5 cups granulated sugar
  • 1.5 cups warm water
  • 1.5 cups warm milk
  • grated lemon zest from 2 lemons
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups oil (vegetable or canola)
  • 4.5 teaspoons of instant yeast (2 envelopes)
  • 10 to 12 cups of all purpose flour
  • egg wash (1 beaten egg with 1 tablespoon of water added)

Instructions

  • Note that this makes 4 loaves of bread, so you may want to make half of the recipe to start.
  • In a small bowl, add the yeast to warm (but not hot!) milk and water, stir, and set aside
  • In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs and sugar until light and fluffy (several minutes)
  • Add the lemon zest, extract, and oil to the egg-sugar mixture and beat until combined.
  • Add the milk, water and yeast mixture to the batter and mix until combined.
  • Begin adding the flour slowly. Add only enough flour to make a very soft dough. Beat very well to allow the flour to be absorbed and avoid adding too much flour. You should aim for a dough that is soft like your earlobe.
  • Consider weighing the flour instead of measuring it in cups (grams per 1/4 cup usually listed on the flour nutrition information)
  • Place dough in large bowl or dough bucket, cover, and allow to rise until double (2 to 3 hours)
  • Punch down the dough and let it bulk rise again for 2 to 3 hours.
  • After the dough has risen a second time, punch it down again and form your loaves.
  • To form the loaves, begin by dividing the dough according to how many loaves you'd like to make (2 pieces if you made 1/2 the recipe or 4 pieces if you made the whole recipe).
  • For each loaf, you will then further divide each piece into 3 pieces. Roll each piece into a rope that is about 1 foot long and then braid the pieces together. You can tuck the edges under and leave the loaf long or roll the braid to form a round shaped loaf.
  • If you are decorating with eggs, dye your eggs, and allow them to dry
  • Place loaves on parchment lined baking sheets, and brush them with the egg wash.
  • Once the egg wash is dried, press the dyed easter eggs on top of the loaves.
  • Cover loaves loosely with plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight.
  • When you are ready to bake, take loaves out of the refrigerator and heat oven to 325 degree F
  • Place loaves in center of oven.
  • Baking until golden - for me, this was ~40 minutes (make sure to begin checking loaves at 20-25 minutes and cover loosely with aluminum foil if they are browning too quickly)
  • Enjoy!