This Easter Bread from my italian grandma's recipe is a bit labor intensive to make, but well worth the work. It lasts a good week and it's perfect for french toasts!
I can only imagine what life was like in the pre war era and also during the war. My parents survived World War Two and it is always an emotional experience for me to hear all the stories. But even in these hard times families still made time to celebrate and be resourceful to keep recipes and holidays alive. My grandmother was a tough woman raising many kids, running a household and trying to stay alive during the German invasion in World War Two. She had many old recipes passed on from generation to generation one which my mother still does to this day, along with her two sisters. The recipe I am going to share with you is Easter Bread or as we say in Italian Pane di Pasqua. It is traditional for Easter but we enjoy it in different times of the year.
It is subtly sweet with a hint of anise, so light so fluffy, great with your morning coffee, or a nice tea. You can slather it with butter, have it with some jams, I had it this morning with an apple pear ginger marmalade from H&R Farms (at the Old Strathcona Farmers Market), or even can make such a wonderfully delectable French toast. It is a bit labor intensive and takes a few days to make it, but well worth the work. It also lasts a good week and longer if after a few days you put it in the fridge. But not is it so good to eat, it is beautiful to look at. I am glad that my mom shared this recipe with us, it is important to keep some traditions alive and I know my grandmother would be happy to see the fruits of her labors still bringing happiness to our tables. As for the braiding be adventurous and creative. In the olden days my mother and her brother and sisters would paint boiled eggs and after they had dried they would place it in the center of the bread and then bake it. Sounds like it would have been a lot of fun, I could hear all the laughter and talking, the creative juices flowing as these kids would create beautifully decorated eggs and they would be the center of the Easter bread and the pride they would have to see the finish product. So Thank you Grandma Antonia Coppola, and to everyone else enjoy this one!Print
- 6 cups flour
- 5 eggs
- 1 cup milk
- 1 cup of sugar
- 1cup of canola oil
- 1 pouch of yeast
- 2 tablespoons anise seeds or you can use anisette liquor
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 teaspoon lemon extract
- Warm up milk.
- Place the pouch of yeast into the milk and let rise a bit.
- Wisk eggs, sugar, oil, anise seeds, or anisette, vanilla, lemon extract.
- Mix in milk and yeast mixture.
- Add a little flour at a time till it becomes hand workable.
- On a lightly sprinkled board work dough into a smooth pliable consistency.
- Cover with a few dish towels and let sit over night.
- In the morning cut up dough and work into round pieces and braid together bringing the two ends form into a circle and place on a baking sheet.
- Cover with some light towels keeping them warm.
- Let rise 6 hours.
- Preheat oven to 325° F.
- Carefully place the baking sheets with the bread into the oven (don't want the rise to fall).
- Bake 15 minutes in a convection oven or 25 minutes in a regular oven.
- Take out of oven and let cool fully before putting it in a plastic bag.
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