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Christian Vegetarian Association Presents:
Traditional Italian Easter Bread
This particular Easter treat hails all the way from Italy.
My great-grandmother used to make it at Easter time and, judging by
the fact that the card in our family recipe box is for four loaves,
she made a lot. Apparently my great-grandmother was one of
those people who would feed you the instant you walked in the door
no matter what your age, size, or shape. This sweet, slightly
buttery bread is perfect toasted for breakfast or enjoyed as a snack
with a cup of coffee.
My mom often talks about how all the
kids in the family would get their own individual mini-loaf of
Easter bread, topped with just a bit of icing. The recipe
below is a pared-down version of the one I remember from my own
childhood and makes one large loaf or four mini-loaves. Give
them as gifts, take them to potlucks, or keep them all for
yourself–because this bread really is that good. The four
loaves I made this morning are headed to a church breakfast
tomorrow, where I hope everyone will enjoy them!
bread is traditionally a bit yellow since the original recipe calls
for a lot of eggs. If you want, you can toss in a pinch of
turmeric or a few drops of yellow food coloring before mixing the
dough for a more authentic shade.
1/4 cup warm water
1/4 tsp sugar
1 1/2 + 1/8 tsp. active dry yeast
1/2 cup nondairy
1/4 cup non-hydrogenated, nondairy margarine
1 1/2 tbsp. ground flax seed + 3 tbsp. water
cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tsp. anise extract
1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
1 tsp nondairy milk
water as needed
1) Combine the water, 1/4 tsp.
sugar, 1/4tsp. flour, and yeast in a measuring cup or small bowl and
set aside. This should get very foamy while you prepare the
rest of the recipe.
2) Heat the nondairy milk in a small
saucepan over medium-high heat until hot, but not boiling. Add
the margarine and whisk until melted. Remove from heat, add
the sugar and whisk well. Set aside to cool.
an electric hand mixer, beat the flax seed and water until thick and
frothy. Add to the milk mixture and whisk to combine.
4) In a large bowl, combine the flour and salt. Add the milk
mixture, yeast mixture, and anise and stir to form a soft dough.
Knead until smooth and elastic, but not overly sticky, adding more
flour if needed. Cover with a towel and set aside in a warm
place to rise, about 1 hour.
5) Punch the dough down and
knead it again for a minute or two, adding a bit more flour if it’s
too sticky. Grease a loaf pan or 4 mini loaf pans, form the
dough into the desired loaves, cover, and rise again for 1 hour
6) Bake at 350°F for 40-45 mins until both top and
bottom are browned and the bottom sounds hollow when you tap it.
Set aside to cool.
7) Once the bread is cool to the touch,
prepare the icing. Combine the confectioner’s sugar, vanilla
exrtact, and nondairy milk in a small bowl. Add water a little
at a time until the icing is smooth but not runny. Drizzle
over the bread and allow to harden.
Your question and comments are welcome
Copyright 2008 © Christian Vegetarian Association. All rights