Traditional Easter bread recipes are different in every culture and every country. There is a lot of symbolism in these breads. For example, when braided from three strands, it is a symbol of the Holy Trinity. When shaped into a wreath, the bread symbolizes the crown of thorns. We have selected 3 ideas that you can try this year – from hot cross buns to Italian and Spanish Easter bread, each one deserves a place on your festive table!
Table of Contents
Hot Cross Buns Recipe
- 2 envelopes (1/4 ounce each) /14 g active dry yeast
- 2 cups warm whole milk
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 1/3 cup butter, softened
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
- 6 to 7 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup dried currants
- 1/2 cup raisins
- 1 large egg yolk
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1-1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
- 4 to 6 teaspoons whole milk
- In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in warm milk.
- In a large bowl, combine eggs, butter, sugar, salt, spices, yeast mixture and 3 cups flour; beat on medium speed until smooth. Stir in currants, raisins and enough remaining flour to form a soft dough (dough will be sticky).
- Knead the dough until smooth and elastic. Place in a greased bowl, cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled.
- When the dough has doubled, turn it onto a lightly floured surface. Divide the dough and shape 30 balls. Arrange the balls on greased baking sheets leaving 2 inch/5 cm between the balls. Cover and let rise for 30-45 minutes in a warm place. In the meantime, Preheat oven to 375F/190C.
- Cut a cross on top of each bun with a sharp knife. Whisk egg yolk and water and brush the buns.
- Bake until golden brown, 20-25 minutes. Transfer the baked buns to wire racks to cool.
- In a small bowl, mix confectioners’ sugar and milk to the desired consistency. Pipe a cross on top of each bun. Serve them for the festive Easter brunch or dinner.
Italian Easter Bread Recipe (Pane di Pasqua)
- 6,7oz/200ml milk
- 1,7 oz/50g caster sugar
- 1 x 7g/ 1/4 ounce sachet active dried yeast
- 1 tsp fennel seeds, grinded
- 4 ½ cups/ 550g strong white bread flour
- 1 tsp fine sea salt
- 3 medium eggs
- 2,5 oz/75g melted butter, cooled
- zest of 2 lemons
- 3,5 oz/100g cut mixed peel
- oil, to grease
- 1½ tbsp colored sprinkles
For the colored eggs:
- 5 medium eggs
- food coloring
- Prepare the colored eggs. For each color, add coloring to small bowls of water and immerse the egg. After that, dry on kitchen paper.
- Line a baking tray with baking paper.
- Prepare the bread. Mix milk, sugar and yeast, stir and set aside for 10 minutes.
- In the bowl of a freestanding mixer put the flour, ground fennel and salt.
- Whisk together the eggs, melted butter and lemon zest.
- Add the yeasty milk plus the egg and butter mixture to the bowl. Knead the dough until soft and smooth. Finally add the mixed peel. The dough will be quite soft and sticky.
- Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl, cover and let prove in a warm place until doubled in size.
- Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and divide into three. Roll each part into a long rope. Pinch the strands together at one end, plait and pinch together at the other end.
- Transfer to the tray and shape into a wreath. Carefully open the strands and place the colored eggs.
- Beat the remaining egg and brush the wreath. Scatter with sprinkles and let rise in a warm place for 45 minutes to 1 hour.
- Preheat the oven to 350F/180°C.
- Bake the bread for 25 minutes, or until golden.
- Remove from the oven and transfer to wire rack to cool.
Spanish Easter Bread (Mona de Pascua)
- 10,5 oz/300 g flour
- 1,7 oz/50g white sugar
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 4 oz/115 g warm whole milk
- ¼ oz/7 g active dry yeast yeast
- 1,5 oz/45g sunflower oil
- 1 egg
- 4 boiled eggs
- 1 beaten egg for brushing
- In a large bowl mix the dough ingredients. Knead with freestanding mixer (hook attachment) or by hand until the dough is smooth and elastic.
- Shape the dough into a ball, place it in a greased ball, cover with cling film and let rise until it doubles in volume.
- After the dough has doubled, remove it from the bowl and degas it.
- Divide the dough into 4 equal parts and shape into balls.
- With your fingers, make a hole in the center of each ball so that you can fit the eggs into the hole.
- Transfer the shaped dough to a baking tray lined with baking paper and place an egg into each circle.
- Brush with the beaten egg, cover and let rise until doubled in volume, about 1 hour.
- Preheat the oven to 350F/180C.
- Brush the bread with egg wash once again and sprinkle with colorful sprinkles.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden and transfer to wire rack to cool completely.