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Italian Easter Bread – Pane Di Pasqua | With Video Recipe

This tiny nest looking loaves are one of the prettiest breads I have ever made. These are soft, lightly sweet and a perfect spring treat.

Pane Di Pasqua - Italian Easter Bread

Pane Di Pasqua  or  the  Italian  Easter Bread  is   one of the  prettiest   breads  I have  made.  With the  egg  perched  right in the middle  these  look  like  one fancy  bird  nest !    I have  made a  few  without  the  egg  –  and  they ended  up looking  like  pretty flowers. See  that got  me  in trouble – now  we can’t  decide    which is  the  prettier !  Guess  I just  have  make  few  more …

Traditionally Easter breads  are  rich,  as they  are celebratory breads marking the  end  of  lent.  To me  this  particular  version resembles  spring  flowers  and all the brightness  to  look forward to  after  the  winter –  which incidentally  was non existent  this year.  The  sprinkles   are  just  so  right  for  the  season, but  I am  partial to the  sparkling  sugar,and  that is what  I put on the  braids  without  the  eggs – a  bit  like  the  powdery snow  being  brushed  away to  the  sidelines  by  the  peeking pretty spring  blooms .

I have  made a  basket of mini wreaths here, but  you  can make a large  wreath as  well.   These   will be  pretty impressive  centerpiece on  the  Easter  table !   With a  little  bit  of  dough woven in the middle   to fill the  gap and  placing  the   eggs  there you  could  even  make  this into a  large  bird’s best.  But I was  watching  the   little birds  checkout  nesting  spaces  in the yard  and  these  tiny  nests seemed  perfect.

The colored egg in  the  middle  is  symbolic. Eggs,  while  dormant  still contains  life  and  cracking it open is  symbolic of resurrection. Many places,  especially  Greece,  dye the  eggs  red  – representing Jesus’s  blood.  The  ones,  on these  Italian  breads, on the other hand are  dyed  in all colors.

Pane Di Pasqua - Italian Easter Bread

The  bread  dough is  enriched  with eggs, sugar and  butter. I have  cut  back a little  on the  sugar  but  you  can  definitely double  the   amount of  sugar  used in my recipe.  In addition to all these  orange zest ,  anise , spice extracts  and   dried  fruits   can  also be  added. All these  additions  mean  that  the  dough  rises  slowly, much slower  than the   usual  bread  dough.  So if  making  these  plan to spend  some  extra  time.

The  dough is  also a  little  wet,  which is  good as  it  ensures  that  the   braids  do not  come  apart   while  baking.  But  for  the  same  reason, I prefer  to use  the  machine  for  most part of  kneading.  It  can   definitely be  done  by hand, jut  be ready  for  sticky fingers.  Even though   the  machine  does  most  of the  heavy lifting,  one  still has  to  finish the kneading  by hand and  of  course  shape  by hand.

Making Pane Di Pasqua - Italian Easter Bread

This  bread is  lightly sweet,  if  you are looking  for a  sweeter loaf,   double  the sugar given in the  recipe  and  once the bread is  out of  the oven   give it a  sugar  glaze.  If  glazing  after  baking   add  the  sprinkles only after  glazing.

The braids  do not  have  to  be  perfect.  Twist  two ropes  together   and   tuck the  ends  into  each other  to  form a  circle.  Watch the  video  for  more  details

Pane Di Pasqua - Italian Easter Bread

The  egg is  dyed  raw  and goes  into the  oven  raw.  It  gets  cooked  in the oven  perfectly.  Use the  spoon to  crack open the  shells :-).  Yes,  that  is  why there is a  spoon  with the  bread.  I  think  these  rolls   spent close to 25  minutes in  350°F  oven and  the  eggs  were  cooked  perfectly – just  set  and no  black  ring  around  the  yolks.

How to dye the  raw eggs 

I am  at a  disadvantage  here.  This is  not  my area  of  expertise  and  to be honest  I end  up making a  mess  every time. I am  surprised  that   the  colors on my fingers  did not  show up in the video.

This is  how  Id do it –  if  anyone  has a  better  way I would  love to hear about it  !

In a  small mug  or  cup  large  enough to  hold   the  egg, place 1  tsp white  vinegar  and about  10 drops  of  food  coloring.  Pour a  little hot  water – few  tablespoons and  mix.  Now add the  egg, if  the  water  does  not  cover  the  egg add more hot  water  and  stir  with a  tooth pick to  ensure  that  the  color is  uniform.  Let  it  sit  for  5  minutes.  Remove  from the  bowl ,  wipe  with paper towels to.  Spray  oil  on top   and  store  till needed. .

Pane Di Pasqua - Italian Easter Bread

Pane Di Pasqua

By Syama
Soft and  lightly sweet  Italian  Easter  Bread 
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Rising Time 2 hrs
Total Time 4 hrs
Course Bread
Cuisine European


  • 3 1/2 – 4 C AP Flour / Bread Flour 400 g
  • 2/3 C Milk Full fat or Skim
  • 1/4 C Sugar
  • 1/4 C Butter Unsalted
  • 2 Eggs Large
  • 2 1/4 Tsp Active Dry yeast 1 pkt
  • 1/2 Tsp Fine Sea Salt
  • 1 Tbsp Orange/Lemon Zest Optional
  • 1 Tsp Anise/Almond Extract Optional

Egg Wash

  • 1 Egg
  • 1 Tsp Water

To decrate

  • Sprinkles / Sparkling Sugar / Pearl Sugar As Needed
  • Raw Dyed Eggs As Needed (4- 6)


  • 1 C Icing Sugar
  • 1 – 2 Tbsp Water/Milk
  • 1/2 Tsp Vanilla Extract


Bloom Yeast/ Make Quick Sponge

  • Warm the  milk to 110°F or just  warm to  touch.   Make sure that  the  eggs  and  butter are at  room temperature. 
  • Take 1 C flour and 1/4 C sugar in the mixing bowl. Stir to combine. Sprinkle the yeast on top and pour about 1/2 of the milk. Mix and set aside for 10 minutes. The mix would have visibly puffed up by then. 

Knead With Stand Mixer

  • Add the remaining  milk ,  eggs , butter , salt  and   2 1/2  C flour  to the  bowl .  Attach the  dough  hook and  stir to combine  for  30 seconds. Increase  speed  to low  and  knead for 2  minutes  scarping  down the  sides  in between.  The  dough  will be   very sticky.   After  2  minutes  of  kneading if  the  dough is  still sticking  to the  bowl add the  remaining  flour.  Turn the  machine  back  to  knead  and  add the  essence  and  zest.  Knead  for  2  to  3  minutes. 
    Turn the  dough  out  to a   floured  work surface  and  knead  by hand  for  about 1  minute.  Form into a  smooth  ball. 

Knead By Hand

  • Mix  flour , salt   and  butter  into a  pile  on  a  well floured  kneading  surface . Make  a  well in  the  middle  and  add  the  yeast mix . Beat  the  egg a  little and  add to the  mix.  Slowly  incorporate  the  flour  into the  wet  mix  in the middle  adding  as  much of  the  milk as  necessary.  Once  the  dough has  comes together  add  the   softened  butter , essence  and zest. Knead  for  about  10 minutes  until  the  dough  feels  soft and  elastic  and  visibly  shiny.  It  should  no longer  stick  to  the  surfaces. If  needed  add a  few  more  tablespoons  of  flour.

Bulk Proof / First Rise

  • Place the dough in a greased bowl and turn it over once to coat all sides  with oil. Cover with plastic wrap (wet  towel or a  fairly tight lid) and allow the dough to rise in a warm place, about 1 hour  and 30 minutes.   

Shape and Rise

  • Gently punch down  the  risen  dough to  deflate.  Transfer to a  floured  work surface and  pat  down  to a   thick rectangle. Divide into  12  even pieces. 
  • Roll each piece to form a rope of about 14 to 16 inches in length. Take two ropes and twist them together. Loop the twist into a circle and interlace the ends and tuck them under. transfer the circle onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  
  • If making the filled circles, pinch off a piece from the rope before connecting the ends. Roll the pinched piece into a ball and place in the center. 
  • Cover with plastic wrap p and set aside to double in size , about 30 minutes. 


  • Place  the  oven  rack in the  center.  Preheat the oven to 350°F (170°C).
  • Beat 1 egg with 1 tsp of water to make the egg wash. Using a pastry brush brush the tops of the risen loaves. If not using the glaze sprinkle sugar or decorative sprinkles on top. Place the colored raw eggs in the middle of the risen circles. 
  • Transfer to the oven and bake for 20 to 25 minutes. 
  • Transfer to a cooling rack.

Glaze (Optional)

  • Mix the  confectioner’s  sugar,  vanilla  extract  and  milk/water together to  form a  thick paste.  Drizzle  over  the  warm  loaves.  Decorate  with  sprinkles 


  • Use flour  with  good  protein content. 
  •  You could  let  the  dough  rise  slowly in the  fridge (first  rise/bulk proof) overnight. 
  • Double  the  sugar  for a  sweeter  version.   In this  case the  dough will need  longer  than   90 minutes to   double  in  size. 
  • You can  easily double or  triple  the  recipe. 
  • When  making  the  quick sponge  make  sure  that  you mix  the  flour  and  sugar  together  before  adding  yeast. 
  • If  doubling  sugar,  add the  extra  sugar  along  with  the  extracts. 

Important: Values are only estimates. Actuals vary depending on ingredients and serving size.

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Pane Di Pasqua - Italian Easter Bread

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Recipe Rating

Pane Di Pasqua - Italian Easter Bread | Delight Baking

Thursday 29th of October 2020

[…] This recipe was inspired by Pane Di Pasqua. […]


Sunday 1st of April 2018

I love a good sweet bread!! My family always dies them red (we’re Greek) so this would be perfect to make for next weekend! We then play a game by cracking the eggs to see who has the strongest egg! :)


Monday 2nd of April 2018

Wow , that is so neat ! I see the significance of red. This is such a fun bake , for us and the kids!

Brian Jones

Sunday 1st of April 2018

Oh my they sound really superb, I reckon no egg for me, but hey both look stunning!


Sunday 1st of April 2018

Thank you ! I would go with the no egg one too , if it weren't for Easter :-)


Saturday 31st of March 2018

These Easter breads look amazing - so colourful and cheerful - my kids would adore these - might get some time to do it over this Easter period ;-) a definite must make - thank you so much for sharing this yummy and such good looking recipe. ;-)


Sunday 1st of April 2018

Thank you ! I hope you get time to make it :-)