How to Make Italian Easter Bread
- Mix 1 cup of flour with sugar, salt, and yeast in a bowl and stir well.
- Place milk and anise extract into a small saucepan.
- Cook over low heat, and warm to about 43°
- Make a well in the center of the flour mixture with your hand.
- Pour in the milk mixture.
Note: Swirl with your hand in a circular motion to combine the flour mixture with the milk mixture.
- Mix in butter and eggs one at a time.
- Mix in remaining flour until dough begins to pull together.
- Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface, and knead until soft but elastic; about 8 minutes.
- Cover with a damp cloth, and let dough rest for 10 minutes.
- Cut dough into halves.
- On floured work surface, roll each half into a ball, then shape the balls into 2 long pieces, about 1 ½ inches thick and 18 to 20 inches long.
- Pinch the 2 top ends together and loosely twist the pieces to form a twisted loaf.
- Pinch the bottom ends together and tuck the two ends underneath the loaf.
- Grease a baking sheet, lay the loaf onto the prepared sheet, and cover with a damp towel.
- Let the dough rise until it doubles; about 1 hour.
- Brush loaf with beaten egg, and sprinkle with colored decorating dragees.
- Preheat oven to 175°
- Bake the decorated loaf in the preheated oven until golden; 20 to 25 minutes.
Note: Monitor closely to make sure that the bread does not begin to burn.
- Transfer to wire rack immediately after baking to cool.
In 2011, Italy made the largest Easter egg on record. It was 10.39 metershigh and weighed 7,200 kg.