Italian Easter Bread

Makes 1 loaf


2/3 cup whole milk

1 stick unsalted butter, cubed

5 tablespoons sugar, divided

3/4 teaspoons active dry yeast

2 large eggs, at room temperature

2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 tablespoon butter, melted

1 tablespoons anise liquor

6 colored eggs (optional)

Methodof Preparation:

  1. Heat milk and butter over medium heat until simmering. Transfer to a bowl and stir in 1 tablespoon sugar. Sprinkle active dry yeast over milk and whisk to blend. Let sit until about 5 minutes. Add eggs; whisk until smooth.
  2. In a bowl combine flour, milk mixture, 4 tablespoons sugar and salt, mix until combined. Knead on a floured surface until dough is soft and silky, about 5 minutes.
  3. Place the dough in a medium bowl brushed with melted butter. Brush top of dough with remaining melted butter; cover with plastic wrap. Let dough rise in a warm area until doubled in size, 1-1 1/2 hours.
  4. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Punch down dough and divide into 3 equal pieces. With lightly floured hands, roll each piece on a lightly floured surface into a 16 inch long rope with tapered ends. If dough begins to bounce back, cover with a kitchen towel and let rest for 10 minutes to allow dough to relax.
  5. Arrange ropes side by side lengthwise onprepared sheet and pinch top ends together. Braid dough. Pinch bottom endstogether to secure. Tuck colored eggs between braids, spacing evenly. Looselycover with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel. Let rise in a warm, for 45-50minutes. Brush top of dough with egg wash. Bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes. Letcool on a wire rack.