Very Traditional Italian Easter Bread
If you’re looking for the best and most traditional Italian Easter Bread we got you covered: baking bread is a tradition for us Italians, and Easter is no exception.
Bread is one of the most important things for Italians at Easter time: no matter if you’re a Catholic or not, we grew up with the idea that bread is sacred and we need to treat it with respect and love. Easter bread is something baked traditionally all over Italy, in different ways but, most of the time, in the same shape.
In the past, it was linked to Christ’s resurrection and the fact that it was baked after the fast of the Lent made it rich and extremely flavored. Today, the religious meaning is not that strong anymore but the Bread is unmissable on Easter.
There are various types of Italian Easter bread: for example, in Napoli the “pane di Pasqua” is called “casatiello” and it’s a big piece of bread filled with charcuterie and cheese, extremely rich in taste and flavor.
This very traditional Italian Easter Bread is is sweet, soft and extremely scented: the dough is prepared with eggs and eggs are also used as decoration. It’s common to put the Easter bread in the middle of the dinner table and let guests take their pieces with their hands, eggs included: that’s because eating means sharing and bread is considered the food par excellence to share in Italy.
The same bread can also be prepared in individual pieces, to be served to each person around the table or to be gifted.
With the following recipe, part of our family traditions for years, you will make 8 Individual Easter Breads but with the same dough, you can also make one big Italian Easter bread ring.
The secrets for a perfect Italian Easter Bread
- Always give the dough a good rest. The rest allows the flour to absorb more of the water, resulting in softer bread;
- Never add too much flour when kneading but remember that a good soft Easter bread comes from wet dough;
- Always use good quality flour: flour is a well-needed ingredient for this Easter bread and has to be chosen carefully. If you can, use Italian flour (called 00) but if you can’t use an all-purpose flour of good quality;
- Usually, to make crusty bread you need to create steam in the oven. In the case of this Easter bread, this is not necessary, ’cause your bread has to be soft, not crunchy. So, do not put any water in the oven;
- If you want a surface, brush your bread with a beaten egg white before cooking it;
- Once ready, this bread lasts for at least one week if well kept into a paper bag. You can also freeze it, and use it when you want. Better to be eaten as soon as it’s ready.
Easter Bread in the World
Every country, or at least the majority of the countries, have their own version of an Easter bread. Here a few, divided by countries:
- Hot Cross Buns: From UK and Ireland, get our recipe here.
- Babka: Typical of Ukraine and Poland.
- Paasbrood: The Dutch version of a classical Easter bread
- Tsoureki: From Greece, extremely similar to the Italian Easter Bread (eggs included)
- Pao Doce: Typical of Portugal, with quite a lot of saffron.
- Pinca Sirnica: Typical of Croatia, get the recipe here.
- Choereg: Typical of Armenia, get the recipe here.
- Easter Challah: From Germany, get the recipe here.