Monday, April 18, 2011

Easter Bread - Oh Yum

I grew up helping my Italian grandmother make Easter Bread every year. It's a anise seed egg based bread that is to die for, tastes great right out of the oven with butter on it and even better toasted the next day or so for breakfast. I asked my cousin Jim if he'd like to come over and learn how to make it, he grew up in Ohio so wasn't there for the actual baking - Nani (our grandmother) lived next door to me so I helped with all baking that went on. So, today was bread baking day. I forgot to take a picture of the fixings starting with 5 pounds of flour in Nani's official metal bread making bowl but I've got a picture of it later down the line. She used to make Italian bread in it on an almost weekly basis while I was growing up. Jim started the mixing in the metal bowl, or let's just call it a wash tub because that's basically what it was, so he used a wooden spoon to get it mixed together, then I took over kneading in the tub. Then we dumped it out onto the counter and Jim started the real kneading process.

Next we put it back in the wash tub to raise for over an hour. Sorry I didn't get many pictures along the way but my hands were dough covered much of the time.
After the dough doubled in size we started cutting off chunks to roll out and braid into loaves. We made our loaves a bit smaller and ended up with 17 in total. The braided dough sat and rose for another hour, then we brushed it with an egg yolk and baked it- the smell was incredible.
Here are some of the loaves. My friend Yvonne could smell the bread baking all the way from her house so she came over with fresh farm eggs for Jim and left with 2 loaves........after sampling some warm bread with butter here at the house.
And here are more sitting in the wash tub we mixed the dough in - it's a huge wash tub, I think there 10 of the loaves in it right here. Nani always made us kids our own special easter bread - she braided the dough, wound it in a circle and put a hard boiled egg in the center and put two small strips across the eggs securing ti to the loaf. I can't remember much about that egg, it must have been as hard as a rubber ball after being hardboiled and baked! Someday I'll have to decide who to pass the wash tub on to - it's a pretty important bit of family history - I'd have to be assured that whoever gets it after I'm gone learns how to bake Easter Bread and carries on the tradition.


  1. You can't post about a delicious anise easter bread and then not also post the recipe. That's just mean!

  2. Delicious....simply delicious...I ate 1/2 of one loaf when I got home...and I think the little boys finished it up....they don't know there is another one hiding!!!! Thank you so much Jim and Cindie for making your Grandmother's Easter Bread and sharing it!!!!


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