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Pane de Pasqua (Italian Easter Bread)
Anise extract lends a subtle licorice flavor to this bread, but you can substitute vanilla extract, if desired. Be sure not to braid the dough too tightly in step 3, as doing so can cause it to split as it rests and bakes. This dough will need to rise for about 1 hour and 45 minutes before being baked.
1/2 cup warm milk
1/4 cup sugar
2 1/4 tsp. active dry yeast
3 1/4 cups (16 1/4 oz.) all-purpose flour, plus more as needed
1 tsp. salt
3 large eggs
4 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted and cooled
Zest and juice from 1 orange
1/4 tsp. anise extract
6 dyed hard-boiled eggs
1 tsp. water
2 Tbsp. rainbow sprinkles
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Pane de Pasqua (Italian Easter Bread)

Pane de Pasqua (Italian Easter Bread)

Pane de Pasqua (Italian Easter Bread)
  • Servings:Serves 16
  • Prep Time:35 minutes
  • Cook Time:35 minutes
1. Whisk milk, sugar, and yeast in a small bowl until dissolved, then let sit until foamy, about 5 minutes. Whisk 2 cups flour and the salt in a large bowl. In a medium bowl, whisk two eggs, the butter, orange zest and juice, and anise extract until well combined.
2. Stir yeast and egg mixtures into dry ingredients, then add remaining 1 1/4 cups flour and mix until dough comes together. Transfer to a lightly floured surface and knead until soft and smooth, 5 to 10 minutes, adding more flour as needed if dough is sticking to counter. Place in a large greased bowl and turn to coat, then cover and let sit in a warm area until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
3. Line a baking sheet with parchment, then grease and set aside. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and divide into three equal pieces. Roll each piece into a 24"-long rope, then arrange ropes parallel to one another and pinch one set of ends together. Loosely braid dough, then transfer to prepared baking sheet and form into a ring, pressing ends together to seal. Nestle dyed eggs into braid, then cover dough loosely and let rise until puffed but not quite doubled in size, about 45 minutes.
4. Center a rack in oven and heat to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, whisk remaining egg with water, then brush over top and sides of dough, avoiding dyed eggs; top evenly with sprinkles. Bake until ring is lightly browned and sounds hollow when tapped, 25 to 35 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack before serving. Store at room temperature for up to 2 days.
Source: Hannaford fresh Magazine, March-April 2021