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Italian Easter Bread

Cristale Adams is an online author and publisher. Her articles vary in topics and focus on real life. She always enjoys learning new things.


Italian Easter Bread

Traditionally, Easter bread is baked in the shape of a wreath, to represent the crown of thorns that Jesus wore during his crucifixion. Easter bread is also made with three braided ropes. Each rope represents a piece of the holy trinity. The egg within the center of the braided bread ropes represents the new life after Jesus rose from the tomb and conquered death.

This bread recipe is native to Italy and is directly related to the nuns during the medieval era. This bread would be prepared during Holy Week and there would be 40 eggs to represent 40 days of Lent.

Easter Bread Variations

Many different countries celebrate Easter with their own type of Easter bread. For example, every eastern European country has it's own particular type of Easter bread. Some of the most popular variations include:

  • Frosting or glaze
  • Powdered sugar
  • More than one dyed egg and bigger wreaths
  • Ricotta cheese or cinnamon with almond extract (Babka)
  • Sausage and egg stuffed (Spanish)
  • Raisins (Croatian)

The shape of the Easter bread can also resemble a dove to symbolize peace.

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Cook Time

Prep timeCook timeReady inYields

6 hours 20 min

20 min

6 hours 40 min

4 Easter Bread Rolls


  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flower
  • 1 dash salt, optional
  • 1 lemon zest
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup milk, warm
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 3 eggs, room temp
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 2 - 4 uncooked, dyed
  • 2 - 4 tablespoons sprinkles, optional


  1. In the mixing bowl of a stand-up mixer only, whisk together flour, salt, zest, and sugar. Then slowly add milk then yeast while mixing it all together with a fork. Then add 2 eggs. Knead for about 1 minute using the dough hook attachment on the mixer, just until combined. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it rise for 2 hours; every 30 minutes fold both ends into the middle (repeating 4 times) total within 2 hours.
  2. Add butter a little at a time, on medium-high speed with the dough hook, knead to combine all the butter. Let the dough rest for 10 minutes. Knead again for 5-6 minutes until smooth and the dough does not stick to the sides of the bowl. Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate again for 1-2 hours.
  3. Move the dough onto a lightly floured flat surface. Divide the dough into 4 separated parts. Roll each part then divide it into two separate ropes that are about 9 - 11 inches long, or 3 ropes that are smaller. Join the ropes at the top and twist the ends one over the other. Join the ends together in the form of a wreath, which is simply a circle.
  4. Repeat with the remaining dough ropes. Place the dough wreaths on a cookie sheet lined with parchmnet paper only. Cover cookie sheet and let rise in a warm draft free area for a couple of hours.
  5. Preheat oven to 390 degrees. Beat egg and water together in small bowl. Brush the wreaths with egg mixture then add sprinkles. Place a dyed uncooked egg (optional) to the center of the wreath. Bake for approximately 20 minutes or until golden brown. Immediately remove the baked wreaths onto a wire rack to cool down. Let cool before serving!


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© 2022 Cristale Adams

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