Easter is this Sunday, and Loretta Paganini is in the kitchen to make a Traditional Easter Egg Bread!

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Loretta Paganini School Of Cooking



Easter Bread

For starter:
1 cup high gluten bread flour
2 1/2 tsp. dry yeast
1/3 cup water
For dough:
3 cups unbleached high gluten bread flour
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1/3 cup sugar
4 egg yolks
1 tsp. salt
1/4 lb. of unsalted butter at room temperature
For filling:
1/2 cup golden raisins or cran-raisins or apricots
3/4 cup candied orange peel
4 Tbsp. melted butter
6 colored hard-boiled eggs
Egg glaze prepared with one egg white and 4 Tbsp. powdered sugar mixed together

Blend ingredients for starter together, cover and proof for 30 minutes. Place 3 cups of flour on a work surface and make a well. Add the warm milk to the center, followed by egg yolks and salt. Mix together and then add in the sugar and mix thoroughly. Incorporate a small amount of flour and then add the butter and mix well. Gradually incorporate the remaining flour. Knead and beat the dough by slapping it on the counter for about 10 minutes. Pat the dough down with your hands to make a circle. Add the starter dough to the center and fold the dough around the starter. Knead and beat the dough until the entire starter has been incorporated evenly into the dough. There should not be any starter dough visible.

Place the dough on the work surface and roll it out (without kneading the dough) in a rectangle approximately 9 x 15 inches and 1/4 inch deep. Brush the dough with butter and spread with raisins and chopped orange peel. Roll the long side of the dough up jellyroll style. Cut the roll in half lengthwise with a sharp thin knife dusted with flour. Separate the two pieces so that the cut side is face up.

Braid the dough, making sure that the cut side remains face up. Place the braid on a cookie sheet and shape into a wreath. Pinch the ends together to maintain the shape of the braid. Brush the braid with melted butter, cover loosely and set in a warm place until doubled in size. Add the hardboiled eggs. Bake for 20-30 minutes in a preheated 400°F oven. Turn bread halfway through the baking process. Remove the bread from the oven and brush with the glaze and allow to dry.

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