April 8, 2015

14 | 52 Italian Easter Bread (aka Sweet Yeast Wreaths, aka Easter Nests)

I know. Easter is over.
(I hope y'all had a good one!)

But these little wreaths are just called 'Easter'. They can, in fact, be made any time.
They're also called 'Italian' while I am not so sure that they are only that.
And they're called 'Bread'. When clearly they are wreaths.

So again - don't let the name fool you. Make them any time. And call them whatever you want. 
I would go with 'Sweet Yeast Wreath'. Or, if you want to keep the Easter theme: 'Easter Nests'. 

Italian Easter Bread (aka Sweet Yeast Wreaths, aka Easter Nests)

Makes 4-6 wreaths

1 package dry yeast
300 ml (1 1/4 cups) milk
76 g (1/3 cup) butter, softened
2 eggs, beaten
100 g (1/2 cup) sugar
500 g (4 cups) flour
1 egg combined with 1 tablespoon of water
6 raw (dyed) eggs (optional if it is not Easter)
sprinkles/pearl sugar (optional)
  • Combine yeast, warm milk, butter, eggs, sugar, and about half of the flour in large bowl. Using your dough hook, knead until smooth. Add more flour until you get a firm dough (it might be a bit more or a bit less than 4 cups) and knead until it is nice and smooth. Cover and let rise for 1 hour. 
  • Divide into 8 or 12 pieces, roll each piece into a thick rope, 'braid' two ropes together and form a circle/wreath/nest, pinching the ends together.
  • Place wreaths on baking sheet with lined parchment paper. Cover and let rise for about another hour. 
  • Brush each wreath with beaten egg combined with 1 tablespoon of water. Put on sprinkles or pearl sugar, if you are using them. Place 1 raw egg into the middle of each wreath, carefully pressing it down.
  • Bake at 175ºC (350ºF) for about 20-25 minutes, until golden brown. Let cool on rack.
My modifications:
I used whole wheat flour for 1/3 of those 4 cups of flour. I didn't intend to but then ran out of the regular flour.... And a bit of whole wheat never hurts, right? It just made the dough a bit darker.
I also didn't dye the eggs. And I omitted the sprinkles.
Because I had enough things to do on Easter Sunday morning as it was, I made the dough the night before and let it rise in the fridge overnight.

The taste:
Good. But for my taste, they are too sweet to eat with anything savory (like cheese or lunch meats) but not sweet enough to really be a sweet bread. They are somewhere in-between and that bothered me a tiny bit. I wouldn't make them again like this. Either sweeter or not sweet at all.

What's your favorite Easter brunch (baking) recipe?

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