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Italian Easter Bread is a braid circle loaf decorated on top with dyed Easter eggs.

Italian Easter Bread {Pane di Pasqua}

  • Author: Rebecca Neidhart


Italian Easter Bread (also called Pane di Pasqua) is a tender, slightly sweet loaf with colorful Easter eggs pressed into the top for a stunning centerpiece loaf of bread.


  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • Zest of lemon
  • 5 cups (700 g) all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup (8 oz.) whole milk
  • 1 pkg. (2 1/4 tsp./7 g) yeast
  • 4 large eggs
  • 8 Tbsp. (114 g) very soft butter
  • 5 raw eggs, dyed


How to Make Italian Easter Bread

Warm the milk slightly and place it with the sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer and sprinkle the yeast over the top. Allow the yeast to sit for about 5 minutes, or until it’s foamy.

Once the yeast has foamed, add the beaten eggs and lemon zest and stir them in, using the dough hook attachment for your mixer.

Add the flour and salt to the mixer and stir until combined. With the mixer still running on medium low speed, add the softened butter in small chunks, allowing each one to be incorporated into the dough before adding more.

Once all of the butter is in the dough, turn the mixer speed up to medium and beat it for 4-5 minutes, or until it is a smooth ball of dough on the hook. It will be a fairly loose dough, so will fall back off the hook once the mixer has stopped.

Cover the dough with plastic wrap and set it aside to rise in a warm area for 2-3 hours.

How to Braid and Decorate the Bread

Begin by dividing your loaf into three equal sections (a scale helps make them the same size). Next, roll each section of the dough into a 24″ long rope. Try to keep it as even as possible while rolling.

Lay the three sections of bread dough next to each other and press the ends together. Bring the right piece of dough over the center piece. Then bring the left piece over the center (which was originally the rope on the right). Continue this pattern, alternating the dough ropes on the left and right going over the center one, until you’ve reached the end of the dough.

Next, bring around the ends of the braid to meet, creating a circle with them. Tuck the ends in together to continue the braided look, pinching any ends to prevent them from splitting apart.

Carefully lift the braided bread crown onto a large parchment-lined baking sheet. Gently press uncooked, dyed Easter eggs onto the top of the loaf.

Place the loaf inside a large, clean bag and allow it to rise for another 1-2 hours. It won’t double in size, but will look puffy. When you press a finger into the loaf, the indentation you leave you come back slowly.

Baking the Italian Easter Bread

When the bread is close to finishing rising, preheat the oven to 350°F. Place an oven rack in the center of the oven.

Beat an egg until smooth then use a pastry brush to brush the egg wash over the entire loaf, avoiding wetting the easter eggs.

Bake the loaf for 30-35 minutes, or until the outside is golden brown. Remove it from the oven and allow it to cool for about an hour before slicing.