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Traditional Easter Bread Recipe

User Rating 5 Star Rating (1 Review)


Easter bread
Till Westermayer/Flickr
This is my 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.

Makes 4 Small Loaves of Easter Bread

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes


  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup warm water (100 degrees F.)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tsp aniseeds
  • 1 1/2 tbsp anise extract
  • 1 1/2 tsp lemon extract
  • 1 tbsp lemon zest
  • 1 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 6 tbsp melted butter
  • 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. Whisk in the rest of the ingredients, except for the flour. 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 6-12 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 in 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 silicon mat, or parchment lined baking sheets. Cover very loosely with plastic wrap, and let rise for 2 hours. Bake at 350 degrees F for 25 minutes or until golden brown. Remove and cool on wire racks.

Once cooled completely the loaves can served as is, or frosted with a simple lemon icing.
User Reviews

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 5 out of 5
Just Like I Remember, Member lonitynn

Excellent recipe. I have tried to make ""Easter Bread"" several times using other recipes and it never came out right. This one is GREAT !!!!! It turned out perfect on the first try!!! I will continue to use this recipe and be sure to pass it on to family and friends. If you are going to make it, be patient with the rising....it takes a LONG time....the 2nd rise also took a long time but the end result was soooo worth the wait.

15 out of 16 people found this helpful.

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