Grab a seat, my culinary explorers! Today, I am going to take you on a journey to one of the most traditional and mouth-watering Italian Easter bread recipes that have ever existed. Get ready to indulge in my Nonna’s Easter Bread, aka Pizza Di Pasqua.
There is something unmistakably special about Nonna’s Easter Bread. Steeped in tradition and filled with history, this bread recipe has been passed down from generation to generation for centuries. The sweet and aromatic smell of cinnamon, granulated sugar, and lemon permeates the air as the bread bakes to perfection.
But why should you care about this recipe? That’s easy! If you’re looking for an indulgent treat this Easter but don’t want to miss out on the savory punch of cheese bread, then look no further than Nonna’s Easter Bread. Trust me when I say it is worth every single calorie.
So, step into your kitchen, grab your apron and let’s get started on making one of the most flavorsome pieces of Italian Easter heritage cuisine you’ll find!
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
You know what I love about Nonna’s Easter Bread (Pizza Di Pasqua)? It’s not just another ordinary bread recipe. This Italian Easter bread is more than just a loaf of bread; it’s a symbol of traditions that have been passed down through generations. Made with simple ingredients such as flour, eggs, sugar, and yeast, this bread is a spectacle to behold.
The thing that sets this bread apart from all others is that it can be made in so many different ways depending on where you come from in Italy. The pizza rustica from northern Italy and the crescia from Umbria are just two examples down south, the Neapolitans call their loaf casatiello or tortano, but they are all bred from the same idea- to celebrate Easter with something special. You’ll find this bread made differently throughout Italy, but all with one thing in common- the love and effort gone into making this special food.
One reason why you’ll love Nonna’s Easter Bread (Pizza Di Pasqua) is that it has a texture that makes it hearty and filling, perfect for sharing with family and friends. The recipe calls for bread dough or brioche dough made with hard-boiled eggs braided inside of it. This gives the bread a unique texture and appearance, which looks impressive on any table. You’ll feel accomplished after trying your hand at this braided bread.
This dessert comes with plenty of options too: Lemon flavor, cinnamon, or Grand Marnier? They’re all in there! And let’s not forget about the cheese—it provides a delightful finish; some Italians prefer to add salami and other meats to theirs for a savory option Some even enjoy them with sugar crystals on top – like me!
So go ahead and indulge yourself in something sweet and memorable this Easter season- Nonna’s Easter Bread (Pizza Di Pasqua) will not disappoint you!
Here are the ingredients you will need for Nonna’s Easter Bread:
- 4 eggs
- A pinch of salt
- The zest of 1 lemon
- A pinch of cinnamon
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 4 cups flour (can use bread flour or all-purpose flour)
- 1/2 cup canola oil
- 2 eggs, large
- 1 packet (7g) of instant yeast
- 3/4 cup warm water
- 1/2 shot glass (approx. 1 ounce) of Grand Marnier or rum (optional)
Note: The difference between pizza dough and bread dough is the flour. Pizza dough typically uses higher protein flour, while bread dough can use either all-purpose flour or higher protein bread flour.
For this Italian Easter bread recipe, you can use either bread flour or all-purpose flour. Bread flour will make the bread more chewy and dense while all-purpose flour will make it lighter and fluffier.
You can also add other ingredients like Italian cheese to make it a cheesy bread, known as pizza rustica, crescia or pizza chiena, or even hard-boiled eggs for a braided Easter egg bread called pane di Pasqua.
The Recipe How-To
Now that we have gathered all the ingredients, it’s time to start making this Nonna’s Easter Bread, also called Pizza Di Pasqua. This traditional Italian bread is perfect for the Easter holiday or any occasion really.
1. Making the Dough
First, we need to make the dough. In a large mixing bowl, combine 3 ¾ cups of all-purpose flour, 1 tbsp of granulated sugar, 1 tsp of salt, and 2 packs of active dry yeast. Mix well to combine.
Then, add in 1/3 cup of canola oil, 3 large eggs, and half glass of Grand Marnier or rum. Gently mix again until the dough comes together.
Knead the dough for around 10 minutes until it’s smooth and elastic. If you have a stand mixer with a dough hook attachment, now would be a great time to use it.
Form into a ball and place into a greased bowl, cover with cling wrap or a damp cloth towel and set aside in a warm place free from drafts for an hour or until doubled in size.
2. Forming the Bread
Now that the dough has risen, it’s time to form the bread. Punch down the air from the dough, then knead for another minute.
Divide the dough into two equal parts. Now take each part and roll it out into a rope shape approximately 20 inches long.
Cross one strand over the other to form an X-shape. Continue braiding until you reach the end of each part of your dough rope.
Take both braids and start forming them into a circle. Tuck one end under, then bring it over and tuck it under again to form a wreath.
If you desire, add sweet easter hard-boiled eggs equidistantly around the wreath.
Preheat your oven to 350°F (180°C) while you let your wreath rise for another hour on its baking sheet covered in cling wrap or damp cloth towel.
Before placing it in your preheated oven, brush egg wash consisting of beaten egg yolks mixed with milk onto your wreath so that it browns nicely as it bakes up golden brown- crispy outside but soft inside.
Bake for approximately 30-40 minutes until deep golden brown outside and baked firm inside.
Transfer pizza rustica onto wire rack and let cool thoroughly before slicing.
Now that this Nonna’s Easter Bread recipe is done, have fun decorating this traditional Italian bread with icing sugar drizzles and delicious sprinkles; Or serve toasted slices smeared with olive oil seasoned with lemon zest- Or both! Your imagination is your only limit when it comes to enjoying this bread!
Substitutions and Variations
Cooking is all about making a recipe work for you. It’s important to not be afraid to experiment and try out substitutions and twists. Here are some ideas to personalize your Nonna’s Easter Bread:
– Cheese: Italians love their cheese, and this bread is no exception. Try using pecorino romano or fontina cheese for a different flavor profile.
– Spices: While cinnamon is the traditional spice used in this recipe, don’t let that stop you. Feel free to use cardamom or nutmeg instead, or a combination of spices that you love.
– Alcohol: If you don’t want to use Grand Marnier or rum in your recipe, consider swapping it with brandy or amaretto.
– Flour: While bread flour is the go-to for making this bread dough fluffy, you can use all-purpose flour if needed. The dough may come out a bit denser, but it will still taste great.
– Sweetness: If you like your bread sweeter, increase the amount of sugar. If you prefer it less sweet, reduce the amount of sugar or sub in honey.
– Eggs: This recipe calls for two eggs, but feel free to add more or less depending on what you prefer. More eggs can produce a richer dough, while fewer can create a denser bread.
Remember that cooking is an art form, so don’t be afraid to experiment and create your own unique variation of Nonna’s Easter Bread (Pizza Di Pasqua).
Serving and Pairing
Welcome back, my fellow culinary adventurers! Now that you’ve whipped up a batch of my Nonna’s Easter Bread (Pizza Di Pasqua), let’s talk about how to serve and pair it.
First off, let me tell you that this bread is a versatile little devil. Whether you’re serving it as a snack or as part of a larger meal, it’s sure to impress your guests. And trust me, I know a thing or two about impressing people – I am Stephen King, after all.
One classic way to enjoy Easter bread is to slice it and slather some butter over the warm, fragrant edges. Want to take things up a notch? Serve it alongside some jam or honey – the sweetness of the bread will be perfectly complemented by their flavors.
But wait, there’s more! This bread is also an excellent vehicle for savory toppings. You can coat it with garlic butter and herbs for a fragrant and comforting snack. Spread it with some tomato sauce and add your favorite toppings for a DIY pizza party extravaganza.
As far as pairings go, there are lots of options that will work well with this bread. A crisp white wine or a chilled beer are always good choices for casual gatherings among friends. For something more formal, go with an earthy red wine like Pinot Noir to complement the richer flavors of the bread.
In terms of meal pairing, Easter bread is so versatile that it can be eaten any time of day – breakfast, lunch or dinner. Pair it with scrambled eggs and bacon in the morning for a hearty breakfast. Or serve it as an appetizer before dinner along with some charcuterie and cheese board.
One last thing: because this is a sweet bread, don’t forget to leave room for dessert! This would pair great with another classic Italian Easter treat: Ricotta Pie. Trust me, your guests will thank you for ending the meal on such high notes!
That’s all I have for now – happy exploring!
Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating
You know when you catch a whiff of something baking and suddenly you’re transported to childhood memories of your nonna’s kitchen? Well, picture that with the aroma of Nonna’s Easter Bread. The sweet, fluffy bread is simply unforgettable, but it can be time-consuming to make. Luckily, it’s also easy to make ahead of time, store and reheat.
Making the dough the day before is simple; just wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and store it in the refrigerator. If you’re prepping it more than one day ahead, portion the dough into balls, wrap them well and freeze them until you need them. When you’re ready to get baking, take the dough out of the fridge and let it come to room temperature before continuing with the recipe instructions.
Once your Nonna’s Easter Bread is baked and cooled, you can easily store it for later or prepare it for reheating. I prefer wrapping it in plastic wrap and then in aluminum foil before freezing or refrigerating, but a sealed container will work too. Keep it in the freezer or fridge for up to 7 days, and take it out when you’re ready to reheat.
When reheating frozen Nonna’s Easter Bread or chilled bread from the refrigerator, place the loaf in a preheated 350-degree oven for 10-15 minutes until warmed through. For frozen portions that were made ahead of time, allow some extra baking time, usually from 20-25 minutes.
The best part about this recipe? It seems to get even better after a day or two. The flavors meld together perfectly to create a truly irresistible dish that is perfect for any occasion – especially Easter! Make-ahead, store and reheat Nonna’s Easter Bread – trust me on this one.
Tips for Perfect Results
If you’re looking for tips on how to make the perfect Nonna’s Easter Bread (Pizza Di Pasqua), you’ve come to the right place. Here are some tips and tricks that will ensure that your bread comes out just perfect.
One of the most important things to keep in mind when making this bread is to use the right type of flour. Ideally, you should use bread flour or purpose flour made with higher protein content, as this will give your bread the perfect texture and rise. Using plain all-purpose flour can lead to a heavier, denser bread.
Another important tip is to make sure your yeast is fresh and active. Check the expiration date on your yeast before using it, and proof it before adding it to your dough mixture. Proofing yeast means letting it sit in warm water with a pinch of sugar until it becomes foamy and bubbly. If your yeast does not proof, it won’t work and will not make your bread rise.
Along with using fresh ingredients, try not to overmix the dough, as this can lead to tough or dense bread. Keep mixing to a minimum and be gentle when handling the dough.
When kneading your dough, take your time and use plenty of elbow grease. Knead until the dough is smooth and elastic, which should take roughly 10 minutes.
Another tip for achieving a beautiful loaf is to let the dough rise properly. This means giving it enough time in a warm spot free from drafts. If your kitchen is too cool or drafty, try preheating your oven for just a few minutes then turn it off before placing the dough inside.
Finally, don’t forget that patience is key when making this bread. This isn’t something that you can rush through- take your time and let the process unfold naturally.
Follow these tips and tricks, and you’ll be sure to have an unforgettable Nonna’s Easter Bread (Pizza Di Pasqua) experience for yourself!
Before diving into the FAQ, let me remind you that baking bread can be a delicate process, and it is common to have questions when trying a new recipe. Therefore, I have compiled the most frequently asked questions and concerns about Nonna’s Easter Bread to clear up any confusion and help you achieve delicious results. So, let’s get started!
What is Italian Easter bread made of?
Let me introduce you to a scrumptious Easter treat, the Traditional Italian Easter Bread. This bread is made using a soft and sweet brioche dough which is then shaped into festive wreaths or braids. It is adorned with colorful eggs baked right into the bread and generously sprinkled with nonpareils. A true celebration of the Easter holiday!
What is the difference between pizza dough and Italian bread dough?
When it comes to Pizza and Bread dough, there exists a slight difference. The disparity arises due to the use of a higher protein flour in Pizza dough while Bread dough incorporates a regular flour. However, they both comprise the same primary ingredients, including yeast, flour, salt, and water. This slight difference determines their unique characteristics and end result.
What’s the difference between frozen bread dough and pizza dough?
When it comes to the dough for pizza and bread, there are some key differences to keep in mind. Generally, pizza dough is made with a higher protein flour, such as bread flour, whereas bread dough can be made with both bread flour and all-purpose flour, depending on the recipe. The protein content of the flour affects the texture and structure of the dough, so choosing the right type of flour is important for achieving the desired result.
How do you make pizza with a loaf of bread?
As a culinary explorer, I have discovered a unique way of creating a pizza base by using slices of bread. To start, I take a frying pan and cover it with slices of bread. Next, I press down on the bread to make it ultra-thin and to combine it into one mega slice, forming a pizza-like foundation. Once the bread is flattened, I add my desired toppings, turn on the heat, and let the bottom of the pizza cook until it becomes deliciously crispy. This innovative approach to making a pizza base is a game-changer and worth trying out.
So, what are you waiting for? This Nonna’s Easter Bread Recipe (Pizza Di Pasqua) can definitely be your showstopper dish this Easter. It’s got everything you’d want in an Easter dish – rich flavors, beautiful aroma and a beautiful texture to please your palate and eyes alike.
If you’re looking for something different this Easter, then give this recipe a try. Not only is it delicious, but it’s also easy to make, and the ingredients are pretty common. You can turn it into a sweet easter bread or savory cheese bread by making simple subsitutions. Just keep in mind the tips and tricks I’ve shared with you and customize it to your liking.
Let yourself be inspired by the nonnas of Italy who have been making this bread for generations, and enjoy the wonderful aroma that will fill your home as you bake this delicious dish. So go ahead and give it a try, I promise you won’t regret it!
Nonna’s Easter Bread (Pizza Di Pasqua) Recipe
- 8 ounces warm water
- 2 teaspoons yeast
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 3 eggs, beaten
- 3 1/2 ounces canola oil
- 1 ounce Grand Marnier (optional) or 1 ounce rum (optional)
- 4 cups flour
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 lemon, rind of
- 1 pinch salt
- 1 egg, beaten to use as a wash on the bread before baking
- Traditional Method:
- Mix warm water, 1 tsp sugar, and yeast together and let sit for ten minutes or so (or until foamy) to proof the yeast.
- Sift together flour, sugar, cinnamon, lemon rind, salt. Place in a large bowl and make a hole in the middle of the dry mixture.
- In a separate small bowl, beat 3 eggs and add in the canola oil, the yeast mixture, and the Grand Marnier (if you're using it) and mix it all together and dump it into the hole you created in the center of the dry mixture.
- Work with this as you would pizza dough. Slowly beat in flour with a fork and when it is stiff enough to knead, put flour on your hands so it doesn't stick and add in the rest of the flour. Once all the flour is incorporated, you may want to transfer the dough to a floured surface to continue kneading.
- Decide whether you want to shape the dough into on large loaf (in which case you will need to place it into a GREASED lasagna-sized pan to rise and bake) or whether you want to try placing it in 2 or 3 GREASED loaf pans. I personally only make one loaf, thus I don't know the baking times for the smaller loaves. If you make it in a large pan, you should shape the dough into a circle so that it grows into a nice shape since it will not quite "grow" into the pan.
- SEE INFORMATION ABOUT BAKING AND RISING UNDER THE BREAD MACHINE INSTRUCTIONS.
- Bread Machine Method:
- Place ingredients in bread machine in the order recommended in your bread machine's manual (My order was: water, 3 beaten eggs, oil, liqueur (if using), 2 cups flour 1 tsp cinnamon, 1 cup sugar, lemon rind, 2 cups flour, yeast (in a whole formed in the flour), salt and sugar (1 tsp) along the edges of the pan.
- I put it on the dough cycle just until it finished kneading (about 35 minutes or so) as I wanted it to rise in the pan I would be baking it inches.
- Turn it onto a floured surface to shape it and place it in a greased pan (see note above under traditional method concerning options on pan size).
- Baking and Rising instructions for both methods:
- Take the greased pan or pans and cover them with a clean dish cloth and put in a warm place to rise for 4 hours. I usually let the stove warm slightly while I am working with the dough, turn off the heat, and put it in there to rise but be careful not to let the oven get too hot. It only needs to be warm, not hot.
- After 4 hours, take dough out of oven and pre-heat oven to 300. At this point, beat an egg and brush it over the top of the loaf/loaves.
- If you have shaped the dough into one large bread, it will take between 45 minutes and 1 hour to bake. When it is done, the top will be somewhere between a golden colour and a dark brown. Mine took about 55 minutes this year.
- If you have gone with the smaller loaves, you will simply have to keep an eye on things since I am not sure how long they would take to bake. I would estimate about 30 minutes.
Your Own Notes
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Mishra Vikas is a digital nomad who loves to explore the world and learn about its cultures. As a programmer, backpacker, and cook, he enjoys sharing his adventures and cooking up delectable dishes. Writing about his experiences, creating tasty recipes, and discovering new places are some of his favorite activities. He’s an avid traveler and passionate chef, always on the lookout for an exciting new journey.