Our Family Easter Bread – As shared by my sister, Debbie Jenkins

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 Debbie's Easter Bread 2016

Hello – this is the Italian Easter BreadPane di Pasque.  I was going to make it with the colored Easter eggs but AJ said, “grandma don’t do all that work for us kids because we want to find the eggs not eat them and I will just throw it away.”  So…I went ahead and made without the colored eggs.  This recipe was in Great Grandma Scrivani’s recipe box.  Grandma was French and German but Grandpa Scrivani was from Genoa Italy and Grandma cooked all Grandpa’s favorite Italian dishes.

This one is for making several loaves of bread and Grandma would send loaves home with everyone who came for Easter so I did the same and in keeping with tradition will be sending loaves home with the kids.
6 lbs flour
1 and 1/2 tsp salt
4 c warm water
2 1/4 oz active dry yeast
2 c whole milk
4 eggs
1 c butter
1 tbs olive oil
1 tsp almond extract
2 tbs vanilla extract
1 and 1/2 tbs anise seeds
2 c sugar
In a large mixing bowl dissolve yeast in 4 cups of warm water with a pinch of sugar. Set aside for approx 10-15 min.  Melt butter in milk, scald milk, remove from heat, set aside until warm – not cool.  In separate bowl mix the eggs and sugar. Add the egg/sugar mixture to the yeast and mix, then add anise seeds.
Add the flour and mix with wooden spoon then kneed until dough is elastic.  Meaning, the dough should be smooth and pliable but not sticking to your hands but not dry or crumbling – I add the 1 tbs olive oil if dough a little dry.  Lightly oil a very large bowl with olive oil, form dough into ball, put in bowl then flip over, cover with damp cloth and let rise in warm place (not in the sun) until dough doubles.  Takes about 30-40 minutes.  After the dough has doubled, punch it down 2-3 times, put in same bowl, cover with damp cloth and let rise again until doubled, another 30-40 minutes.  Lightly oil bread pan or pans for baking with olive oil.  Shape into plain loafs or braided loaves – I braided mine.  After I separated my dough into 7 balls, I would separate each ball into 3 smaller balls and roll those into 3 strips about 7-9 inches long depending on pan you are using, pinch all three strips together at one end and tightly or loosely braid depending on how you want your bread to look –  my strips were about 7 inches long and I loosely braided.  Place in prepared pans.  Bake at 325 for 40-45 minutes – baking time does vary slightly depending on pan but take a look at 40 min and if additional time needed you will know.  The top should be golden brown when ready for the egg wash.  Remove from oven and brush on egg wash and bake for another 3-5 minutes.  Egg Wash is 1 egg with 1 tbs of water.   This makes about 7  1lb loaves.  If using a bundt type pan I put two of my 7 balls of dough together to create the three strips and braided.  That worked for me very well.
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