My Grandma had an Easter tradition that involved the whole family in the kitchen. We would all take part in making the Easter bread each year. She would mix all the ingredients using a Kitchen Aid mixer and make my dad knead the dough because her hands weren't strong enough.

After spending hours waiting for the dough to rise, she would let my sister and I braid the bread. And she didn't just make one loaf, it was always at least four, so we were braiding for a while. We all loved being in the kitchen together which is why it was so devastating when my Grandma died. 

The next Easter we all felt like something was missing without the traditional Easter bread there, but we didn't do anything about it. A few years ago, I decided I was going to try to make the Easter bread on my own.

Unfortunately, I was unable to find my Grandma's Easter bread recipe, so I went to Pinterest for help. I found a recipe that seemed close to the ingredients my Grandma used but it wasn't perfect. I have made a few edits to the recipe I found, but it is still a work in progress to make it taste like my grandma's bread. It will never be the same without her in the kitchen, but it's a tradition I plan to carry on with my own children one day.

Italian Easter Bread

  • Prep Time:30 mins
  • Cook Time:20 mins
  • Total Time:50 mins
  • Servings:2
  • Medium


  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 package rapid rise instant yeast
  • 1/2 cup salted butter softened
  • 5-6 cups flour divided
  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup salted butter melted
wheat, bread
Dana Fowler
  • Step 1

    Warm the milk in the microwave for 45-60 seconds until just warm, not hot. Add in the package of rapid rise instant yeast and stir. Set aside.

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    Dana Fowler
  • Step 2

    Using an electric mixer, beat together the softened butter and 2 cups of the flour on medium-speed until the mixture resembles a sandy texture. Then one at a time, beat in the 3 eggs. Slowly add in the milk/yeast mixture and sugar until combined. Add in the vanilla extract.

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    Dana Fowler
  • Step 3

    Using the dough hook (or your hands, it's arm day), add in the rest (3-4 cups) of the flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until the dough is stiff, and no longer sticky (however, it will be slightly tacky). Knead dough in mixer until smooth.

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    Dana Fowler
  • Step 4

    Place the dough in a well-oiled bowl (butter works really well for this), cover with a warm towel, and let rise in a warm place until at least doubled in sized (about 1-1 1/2 hours).

    #SpoonTip: A good way to get a warm space is to turn your oven on the lowest setting (150ºFahrenheit) then turn it off just before you're ready to put the dough in.

    Dana Fowler
  • Step 5

    Once fully risen, punch down the dough with your fist. Divide the dough into 6 even portions. On a well-floured surface, roll each portion into a 12” long strips. Take 3 of the strips and braid together then do the same with the remainder of the strips.

    bread, pastry, dairy product, dough, flour
    Dana Fowler
  • Step 6

    Place the loaves on baking sheets lined with parchment paper or oiled foil. Using a pastry brush, brush the tops of the dough with the melted butter. Cover with a warm towel to rise again for another hour. Preheat oven to 350ºFahrenheit about 15 minutes before the loafs are done rising.

    Dana Fowler
  • Step 7

    Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown. Let them sit on the baking sheets for 5 minutes, then remove and place on a cooling rack until cooled completely. Then find some friends to help you eat the bread!

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    Dana Fowler