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Italian Easter Bread

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Italian Easter Bread

A slightly sweetened bread flavored with orange, fennel, and raisins then baked with a dyed egg nestled in the center.

Italian Easter Bread recipe

Recipe Keywords:


servings: 4

total time: 2 hours

recipe by: 


  • 4 large RAW eggs
  • natural egg dyes (see notes below for examples)
  • 1/2 cup warm milk
  • 1 packet (2 1/4 tsp) active dry yeast
  • 3 cups bread flour plus extra
  • 6 TBSP unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 large eggs
  • zest and juice from 1 large orange
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/2 tsp ground fennel seed
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 large egg, beaten


  1. Place the 4 raw eggs into a natural liquid dye and refrigerate until ready to use.

  2. Add the warm milk to a large mixing bowl and sprinkle the yeast on top. Stir in the flour, butter, 2 eggs, orange zest, orange juice, raisins, fennel, and salt until thoroughly combined and a dough is formed.

  3. Knead the dough by hand on a well floured surface for about 5 minutes. Add a little bit more flour if dough is too sticky.

  4. Form the dough into a ball and place in a large clean bowl. Drizzle the dough ball with the olive oil and flip the dough a few times to cover in the oil. Loosely cover the bowl and set in a warm place to rise for about 1 hour.

  5. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

  6. Punch the down the dough to deflate and separate into 8 equal size balls. Roll each dough ball into a rope roughly 12-inches long. Lay two of the ropes side by side and twist them together then wrap the ends around to meet to form a round nest shape and pinch together at the ends to seal. Lay the nest shaped dough on the lined baking sheet and continue the same process with the remaining dough ropes.

  7. Brush the tops of the dough nests with the beaten egg. Nestle a dyed raw egg vertically in the center of each dough nest and let sit for 30 more minutes.

  8. Bake the breads in the preheated oven until bread is golden brown and eggs are hard cooked, 20 to 25 minutes.

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