Italian Easter Bread Rolls

These lightly sweetened Italian Easter Bread Rolls rise beautifully and boast a lovely golden brown color. A perfect way to display Easter eggs!

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About two years ago during the spring & Easter season, I happened upon  Italian Easter Bread recipe. It was shortly after we had come across this Egg Twist Bread in an old recipe book. We quickly fell in love with that bread recipe and when I saw this Easter bread, I know that bread would be perfect for pairing with a decorated Easter egg. Colorful….pretty…unique….just what everyone wants on their Easter dinner table alongside potatoes and ham.

So Maddie and I set out to make that bread in a beautiful twisted circle with a dyed Easter egg on top.

And the bread tasted delicious. But the bread did not look as beautiful as it tasted. The dye from the egg ended up sweating all over the bread during the baking process. Which resulted in something like this:

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Still delicious, but not very pretty, right? We tried different techniques and different dyes an embarrassing amount of times in order to combat this problem. Which led to another problem of eating entirely too much sweet Italian Easter Bread. Which is embarrassing in a completely different way.

So two years ago we spent all Easter season with pink and purple fingers from coloring Easter eggs (which the kids did not mind at all) and colorful sprinkles dotting our kitchen floor from making and eating Italian Easter Bread.  But we never shared that recipe with you, our faithful readers, because I just wasn’t happy with the looks.

Here we stand, two years later, with a simple solution that makes me wonder why in the world we didn’t think of it two years ago. Sometimes it takes forever for a lightbulb to go off.

Soft, twisted bread dough baked to a golden brown with a dyed Easter egg placed in the center of the ring after it bakes. No dye all over the dough as it rises, which makes a beautiful homemade roll.

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For this recipe I used Bob’s Red Mill Organic Unbleached All Purpose White Flour. It’s a high protein flour that produces well-textured baked good and allows dough to rise beautifully. Think fluffy and light. It’s versatile and can be used in all of your cooking and baking. Bob’s Red Mill makes some of my favorite flours (coconut and almond, anyone?), plus chia and flax seeds for all of your healthy baking needs.

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This homemade bread dough is soft and easy to work with. You can use a stand mixer with the dough hook to knead it, but because it is so easy to work with, I often like to make this bread without a mixer. Good old fashioned kneading by hand. I know…I’m so retro.

Mix up and knead your dough, being careful not to add too much flour. You’ll want the dough to be a little sticky, but not so sticky that it sticks to your fingers.

Allow the dough to rise until double, then split it into 20 pieces. Roll each piece of dough into a rope.  Twist two ropes together, then form a ring and pinch the ends together to seal.

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My favorite part of these lightly sweetened rolls is their pretty golden brown color. To get that look you brush the tops with a whisked egg before the second rise. You can also sprinkle some nonpareils on top. They’ll stick to the egg wash nicely.

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Allow the rolls to rise once more, then bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or until they are golden brown.

This is one of the easiest homemade bread recipes I’ve ever made. They turn out fluffy and golden brown every.single.time.

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My kids go crazy for these simple Italian Easter Bread Rolls. They can smell this bread baking from a mile away! They love devouring it and I love making their spring day just a little happier.

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italian-easter-bread-rolls-recipe

Italian Easter Bread Rolls

5 from 8 votes
These lightly sweetened Italian Easter Bread Rolls rise beautifully and boast a lovely golden brown color. A perfect way to display Easter eggs!
Servings 10 servings
Prep Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 35 minutes

Ingredients
 

  • 1 cup warm milk
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 package Red Star active dry yeast
  • 3 large eggs one kept out to brush on top of bread
  • 1/2 cup butter softened
  • 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour plus extra for kneading
  • Sprinkles optional
  • 10 hard-boiled eggs

Instructions
 

  • Warm the milk in a bowl in the microwave for just about 1 minute. Add in the sugar and salt, then stir the mixture. Allow it to sit until it is warm, but not too hot (if you have a thermometer, it should measure about 105-110 degrees in order to proof active dry yeast).
  • Add 1 package of yeast right to this milk. Allow the yeast to proof for about 5 minutes. It should get nice and frothy.
  • Add the softened (almost melted) butter and the eggs. Stir this well.
  • Gradually add in the flour,1 cup at a time. Add in the last ½ a cup and start to knead the dough with your hands until the last ½ cup of flour is incorporated in. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and continue to knead the bread for about 7 minutes until it is smooth and elastic. Add a bit more flour as you need to during kneading. The dough should still feel sticky, but it will not stick to your hands. During needing, I added less than ¼ cup of additional flour. If you add too much flour, your bread will be dry.
  • Place this dough in a greased bowl and cover it. Allow the dough to rise in a warm place until it has doubled, about 30 minutes.
  • Split the dough into 20 small pieces. Take two pieces and roll them into a long ropes about 10" long.
  • Pinch the ends of two ropes together and twist them together completely, then make a circle, pinching the ends together to form a ring. Place the rings on a nonstick baking sheet.
  • Continue with the remaining pieces of dough until you've formed 10 twisted rolls.
  • Beat the remaining egg and brush the tops of the rolls. This is what gives the bread such a lovely golden color. Sprinkle with sprinkles if desired.
  • Allow the dough to rise for another ½ an hour, then bake the bread dough for 15 minutes (or until golden browin a 350 degree oven.
  • Remove the rolls from the oven and immediately place a colored egg in the center of the roll, pressing down slightly.
  • Serve the rolls warm.

Video

Notes

Be careful with the hard boiled eggs. We do not eat our hard boiled eggs because we're not careful about keeping them cold. If you are going to eat them, be sure to eat them right out of the refrigerator and keep the eggs refrigerated at all times.

Nutrition

Serving: 160g | Calories: 429kcal | Carbohydrates: 55g | Protein: 15g | Fat: 16g
Author Julie Clark
Course Bread
Cuisine American
Calories 429

braided bread with an easter egg on top

About Julie Clark

I'm Julie Clark, CEO and recipe developer of Tastes of Lizzy T. With my B.A. in Education and over 30 years of cooking and baking, I want to teach YOU the best of our family recipes.

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Comments

  1. Yay! These are so pretty 🙂 My mom and I always used to make a similar treat for Easter. We haven’t made them in a few years, but I think we’ll have to bring the tradition back!

    1. I’ve never tried using gluten free flour for this recipe and am really unsure about using it in any recipe. I think there are some gluten free flours that use the same ratio, but I’m not sure. Sorry I couldn’t be of more help. I’m trying to learn better gluten free baking methods! 🙂

  2. Love Italian easter breads.. these look delicious & are something I need to make this year.

  3. Hi, I made these yesterday and they turned out AWESOME! Your instructions and photos were really hellpful! I have never made a braided bread before and feel a great sense of accomplishment. Thanks sooooo much! (I made these without the boiled eggss on top)

  4. 5 stars
    Made these today. The dough was fabulous to work with! They came out perfect. So soft and tender and delicious! Thank you for the recipe!

    1. You can cover and move them after the shaping and on the baking tray into the refrigerator overnight.
      Next morning bring them to room temperature for 1 hour, brush with the egg wash and bake as normal.
      I do that with my cinnamon rolls etc all the time. Works like a treat and the goodies are always fresh for morning tea!

  5. Hi
    If I want to bake them in the morning, do I put them in the fridge the night before after the first or second rise? Thanks!

    1. I would refrigerate after the first rise. Then let them do their second rise in the morning.

  6. Well I just watched the video and answered my own question about shaping the circle lol! But, still want to know if I can use instant yeast. Thanks! I’ve been wanting to make these for years.

    1. Yes! Just follow the instructions on the back of the package of yeast you have as far as adding it.

  7. 5 stars
    My dough and rolls turned out amazing! They are so pretty and the rolls taste so good! I used raw, dyed eggs and they did not hard boil. The whites were runny after baking and removing from the rolls. Any suggestions on cooking the eggs completely? Also, I dyed raw eggs and put them in the fridge for several hours before adding them to the rolls and baking. I brushed the rolls with the egg wash and waited 30 minutes before tucking the eggs into the dough. I had no bleeding of the egg dye. I just need to figure out how to fully hard boil the eggs as they bake in the dough.

    1. We used eggs that were already hard boiled. I haven’t tried with raw eggs. Sorry!

    2. I made these again tonight. I boiled the eggs in water for 5 minutes and slightly cooled them before putting them in the egg dye. I added them just prior to baking and am happy to find that after baking the eggs in the dough for about 20 min, the eggs are hard boiled!

  8. Can I use bread flour?? Or is all purpose flour better??? I cant find the one you call for and I am doing this today!!
    Thanks!!!

    1. Well, then, we will see!! I used it since I had seen it on another recipe..
      Praying it worked!!!
      Thank you… Happy Easter!!!

  9. 5 stars
    I just made these for tomorrow’s Easter dinner. My house smells like heaven. They came out perfect. I was able to steal a little nibble and they’re soooooo good. I can’t wait to serve them yo my family. I’ll be keeping this recipe.

  10. I tried making these because they look so good but could never get the yeast to proof. I threw out the milk/salt/yeast twice. My yeast is good as I use it almost every day for bread and I measured the temperature with a thermometer. Doesn’t adding the salt up front kill the yeast?

    1. I’ve never had that happen but maybe it is because of the yeast you use? Try adding the salt later if you think that is the case.

    2. @Jennifer yes, if you are using instant yeast, salt can impact the rise. It’s best to use active dry, let it bloom for 5 minutes or so and then add. Hope that helps!

  11. 5 stars
    This looks delicious!
    I have a small family, so would it be possible to freeze half the batch after making it? How would you go about that and how would you bake it after it thaws?
    Also, how many days do these stay fresh for and how do you recommend keeping them fresh? In a ziplock, in the fridge, etc. Obviously I don’t bake very often lol, but I want to start!

    1. Yes! You can freeze them. Wait until they are cooled, then wrap once in plastic wrap and again in foil, or you can place them in a plastic bag or storage container. When you are ready to serve them, allow them to defrost at room temperature before opening the package. That will help them stay fresh!

      And we just store them in an airtight container at room temperature. They’ll keep for about 2-3 days.

    2. Thank you! I was going to make them today to take some to my Dad tomorrow and I was wondering how to keep fresh and how long they’d keep; so thank you for answering my questions even before I asked! Happy 🐣

  12. So— very confusing regarding the # of eggs used in dough. Is it THREE plus one held out to brush on rolls? Or— TWO used in dough, with 3rd for brushing?
    Need help.
    Thanks for all.

    1. Thanks for clarifying this.
      I finally noticed your video running in the upper corner of my screen. Watching Very Carefully, several times, I could see that you added TWO eggs into dough.
      Made these as Easter gifts for neighbors & friends& they were ADORED!
      Love the recipe. 🐇💕😎

  13. 5 stars
    hello Lizzy,
    i made this yesterday and it was SUPERB. Followed the recipe to a T and it came out perfect. i made 1 ring and cooked it for 25 min. i recommend this recipes to anyone.
    which i could attach the picture, i came out beautifully.

  14. Hi ,i did the dough about an hour ago and it doesn’t seem to be rising much.
    Covered it well and put in oven with the light on,no heat of course.Used instant yeast 2 and 1 /4 teaspoon.
    What could be wrong?

    1. Was the milk at the right temperature? It sometimes takes a little longer to rise.

  15. 5 stars
    Italian Easter Bread Rolls Recipe is marvelous! Was easier to make than I thought it would be. My “nests” turned out beautifully. Each one of my children and grandchildren received one for this Easter. Will certainly be making these again. Thank you so much for sharing this recipe. It’s a keeper for me!

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