This traditional bread is served throughout the Mediterranean for Easter. In Italy, they call it Pane di Pasqua; in Spain, Mona de Pascua; and in Greece, they call it Tsoureki. Learn how to make this sweet treat.
This recipe is time intensive, but totally worth it. Wow your Easter guests with this bread that features dyed eggs that cooks in the oven along with the bread. While intimidating looking, the recipe uses standard breadmaking techniques. If you have made challah bread, you can make Easter bread!
- 1 cup warm water
- 2 envelopes of dry yeast
- 1 tablespoon of sugar
- 1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup of sugar
- zest of 1 orange or lemon
- 2 tablespoons of orange juice
- 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 4 1/2 cups of all purpose flour (separated)
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1 egg yolk
- 2 tablespoons of milk
- 6 dyed, uncooked eggs
- Slivered almonds
- Start the dough
- Mix the yeast with 1 cup of warm water and 1 tablespoon of sugar. Wait a few minutes and then mix in 1 1/2 cups flour to form a sticky mix (you can do this in a food processor).
- Set the dough aside to rise for 1 hour.
- In the next steps, you will make a batter that you will add to the dough.
- Mix the olive oil, salt and sugar in a mixer.
- Add the orange juice, orange zest and vanilla extract.
- Beat in 2 eggs.
- You should now have a creamy batter.
- Mix the batter with the dough after it has risen.
- Add 3 cups of flour, one at a time. Mix by hand until it starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl.
- Turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead until the dough is no longer sticky.
- Divide the dough into two greased bowls and cover with a tea towel. Let rise for 2 hours.
- Punch the dough down after 2 hours and let rest for 10 minutes.
- Form the dough into 1" thick ropes. Twist two ropes together and form them into small wreaths. You can also form the bread into a large wreath, a braided loaf or figure eights.
- Place a dyed egg in the center of the wreath.
- Cover the formed loaves. Allow the dough to rise for 2 hours.
- Bake in a 350° F oven for 10 minutes.
- Mix one egg yolk with two tablespoons of milk. Brush the mixture onto the breads (gently so they do not collapse). If desired, sprinkle with slivered almonds.
- Bake for 10-15 more minutes until done. You can check for doneness by piercing it with a skewer, it should come out clean when done.