Happy Easter to the world! It is a wonderful day for He is risen! There is a common greeting among Christians on this day. It goes like this…. I say “He is risen!” and then someone replies with “He is risen indeed!” I love the springtime and Easter where we celebrate the greatest act of love ever known to mankind.
I know some are not believers in Christ for whatever reason. I respect that. Some have been wronged by other believers, hurt by family or friends, endured something horrific or tragic, or maybe you believe, that scientifically speaking, God simply can’t exist (If that is the case then hop over to my husband’s blog The Worldview of Jesus where he discusses common arguments against God and the historicity of Jesus). I understand how you feel. I’ve been in each and every one of those positions in my life. I have fought, struggled and denied the existence of God. I believed every mindless bumper sticker propaganda against Him. But, three years ago I turned it all over to Him and He has changed everything. I am a very different person today than I ever was before. So on this day I am thankful for the sacrifices made 2,000 years ago when the son of God died for ALL of mankind. Not just those that believed in Him but all of those that could or would come to believe in Him. No matter their past, their struggles, their secrets, their burdens, their infidelities, their sexual orientations….no matter what. His love is unconditional. He died to save all mankind on this amazing planet. That’s a hard thing to wrap your head around, at least it was for me.
Today, as part of our Easter dinner, I wanted to make something different and unique that we’ve never had before. I wanted to find something that represented the meaning of Easter. I stumbled upon a recipe for Italian Easter Egg Bread. I immediately knew I had to make this. It looked delicious, it was unique and had a back story and you just gotta LOVE a good back story! There are different variations of Italian Easter bread depending on its origins of Italy. I’m not exactly sure where this form originated from but it is beautiful, sweet and perfect for any Easter table.
I have adapted the recipe as a combination from a couple different versions I found online. In all variations of this bread, the dough is split into three equal parts and then rolled into long ropes. Then each rope is braided together. There is great meaning behind this. Each rope represents a piece of the holy trinity: the father, the son and the holy spirit. It is then placed in a circle to symbolize the crown of thorns that the Roman soldiers bestowed upon Jesus.
It is my hope that you find peace, grace and the love of Jesus on this Easter day. He Is Risen!
Italian Easter Egg Bread
- 1 package of quick rise yeast
- 1 1/4 cups of milk
- a pinch of salt
- 1/3 cup of unsalted butter
- 2 eggs beaten
- 1/2 cup of sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla
- grated orange zest
- 3 1/2 cups of flour (give or take)
- 1 egg beaten with 1 tsp of water
- 5-6 colored eggs (cooked or not, they will cook in the oven when the bread is baking)
- In a small saucepan warm the milk and butter together. You want to warm it until the butter melts. You do not want it to boil or be to hot because it will kill the yeast when you add it in the next steps.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine yeast, salt, eggs and sugar. Then add the warmed milk and butter.
- Next, add about half of the flour and mix with a bread hook and beat until smooth. Mix until smooth. Then add the remaining amount of flour and mix until a stiff dough forms. Do not be very concerned with adding the exact amount called for. The thing to watch for is making sure the dough isn’t sticky any longer. Knead with a dough hook or by hand until it is smooth.
- Roll dough into a ball and place in a greased mixing bowl. Cover and allow it to rise until it has doubled in size, about an hour.
- After it has risen, punch the dough down.
- Divide the dough into three equal parts and roll each piece out until it’s about 20 inches long.
- Lay the three pieces next to one another and braid. Attach the two ends together.
- Let the dough rise again until it is doubled, again about an hour.
- After it has risen, add the eggs to the folds of the braid.
- Paint the dough with the egg wash and sprinkle the dough with colored sugar or sprinkles.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 25-35 minutes until it is golden brown.