Saturday, April 19, 2014

Italian Easter Bread

It's been more than a week I haven't posted anything
Have been feeling sick, down with flu - again! Can't believe I just had flu one month ago and now it happened again :(
Anyway, I am feeling better since yesterday, still in recovery resting at home while DH brought the kids out

Itchy hands led me in the kitchen with an excuse that it's a must to bake in all occasions, including Easter LOL
Hot cross buns was in my mind at first, but having baked them for the past two Easters, I decided to try Italian Easter bread

Contemplating whether to use the recipe from Laura Vitale or Brown Eyed Baker (BEB)
Basically both recipe are really similar, so finally I decided to try out the latter, since I saw some orange juice used. It's also possible to add on orange juice when using Laura's recipe, just replace the water with orange juice, and soak the yeast in warm milk instead - will give it a try next time :)

Please don't laugh. I failed in shaping the bread to a beautiful braided ring like what Michelle from BEB did.
Look at that! Why it's not round? Where are the lines from the braid? I wonder...
FYI, that was the fourth attempt of shaping, but still it's far from satisfactory hiks...
But not too worry, failure like this is always accepted on my side as a challenge. Will definitely give this a try everytime I bake bread!

Okay, aside from the weird braided ring bread you just saw, look below and you'll agree by just looking. This bread is soft, fluffy and yummy with a hint of orange taste
It's should be better if it's a little sweeter to my liking. But Nutella spread helped my that only complaint :)

What you need:
(I made only 1/4 recipe below, slightly modified)

320g bread flour
90ml fresh milk
25g sugar
1 medium orange, zested and juiced (about 50ml)
1 1/8 tsp dry yeast
57g butter, melted
2 eggs
1/4 tsp salt
a drop of anise oil (I skipped)

This recipe used glaze which I skipped (I believe this explained why I felt the bread was not sweet enough):
1/2 cup icing sugar
15ml fresh milk
colourful sprinkles (I used chocolate rice)

  1. Heat the milk in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring occasionally, until it is warm to the touch, but not hot. If you have an instant-read thermometer, the temperature of the milk should be about 45degC
  2. While the heat is warming, place the sugar in a small bowl and add the orange zest. With your fingertips, rub the zest into the sugar until it is completely incorporated and the sugar is moistened
  3. Once the milk reaches the correct temperature, stir in the sugar and zest mixture, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Add the yeast, stir, and let sit for 10 minutes
  4. I used my breadmaker to do the kneading. I poured in the yeast mixture in the pan, followed by orange juice and eggs. And then pour the dry ingredients - flour and salt
  5. Let it knead for 5 minutes and then add in melted butter and let it knead for 30 mins
  6. Take out the dough from the pan and on floured surface knead a little more, about a minute or two (I added a bit more bread flour)
  7. Place the dough in an oiled bowl, turning to coat, and cover the bowl loosely with plastic wrap. Place in a draft-free area and allow to rise until doubled in volume, about 1 hour.
  8. Meanwhile, line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside
  9. Turn the dough out onto a clean surface and divide in two. Roll two pieces of dough into about 15-inch long ropes. Loosely twist the ropes together. Transfer the braided rope to one of the prepared baking sheets and bring the ends together to form a ring, twisting and pinching the ends together to seal. Brush the tops of each with melted butter, loosely cover with plastic wrap, and let rise until nearly doubled in size, about 45mins
  10. While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 180degC. Just before putting in the dough into the oven, plant one raw egg in the centre hole. Brush all over with fresh milk. Bake until golden brown on top, 30 to 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely
  11. Once the bread are cooled to room temperature, you can glaze them (if you desire). Whisk together the powdered sugar and the milk, adding more if necessary to reach the desired consistency. Use a pastry brush to brush the glaze onto the top and sides of the bread, and decorate with sprinkles. If you have leftovers, wrap well in plastic wrap

And there you go, your Easter bread is done :)
Now, look below, see my weird looking bunny? I saw this idea from yoyomax 12, she baked a cute bunny buns. I followed by making just one using 1/3 of the dough and I got one alien-like bunny LOL

Just roll the dough into 1 long rope, cut into three parts - long, medium and short
Shape the short one to a ball and you get the tail. Shape the long one to a circle and you get the body (with small hole at the centre for the egg). Shape the medium one to something similar to bunny face and ears. Attach all three together using beaten egg
Just before baking, place a raw egg at the centre of the body, brush all over with fresh milk and bake. When it's warm, I pressed one chocolate chip for the eye, and drew eyelashes, nose and lips using edible marker. Sprinkle icing sugar on the tail
My poor bunny nose was stuck at the pan's side, hence the flat nose hahaha...
You may view the step by step HERE She has tons of ideas. One of my favourite Youtubers bakers I follow :)

This poor bunny with a fish-like body need a nose job LOL

Soft and delicious. Texture a little bit changed the next morning, but it's back after warming up in the microwave for 15 seconds. Just like when it's fresh from the oven! :)
Oh and the eggs? It's perfectly cooked just like any other hard boiled egg :)

And since this bread is using orange as one of the ingredient, I am submitting this post to Little Thumbs Up organised by Bake For Happy Kids, and My Little Favourite DIY, hosted by Ann of Anncoo Journal at this post 


  1. Cute bunny bread with the egg in the middle!

  2. Glad you are feeling better.. Take lots of fluid as the weather is quite crazy nowadays. Love your creativity with the egg in the center of the bread.. and your bread texture is perfect. Happy Easter to you and family, Alice.

  3. WOW! This Easter bread looks so cute and yummy! Thanks for sharing the recipe. Would love to try it one of these days :)



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