I’ve never made Easter Egg Bread before but I plan to this weekend. I’ve got an excellent savory recipe for it and I’ll serve it with charcuterie and Ontario cheeses and maybe a few hard boiled eggs dyed with beet juice. It’s festive looking and easy to prepare and set out for guests and this savory version makes it great for cocktail hour. This traditional Italian bread varies region to region and often a sweet version is prepared. You can make a long braided loaf, do individual little braided wreaths or a large braided wreath. Coloured eggs are pretty but simple white eggs work well too and might be best for a savory version.
Savory Easter Egg Bread
2/3 cup warm milk (105° to 115°F)
1/4 cup sugar
1 (1/4 ounce) package active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled to room temperature, plus more for greasing
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1⁄ 3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting and kneading
1 ounce finely grated Pecorino Romano (about 1/4 cup)
1 ounce finely grated Grana Padano (about 1/4 cup)
3 large hard-boiled eggs
- Whisk the milk, sugar, and yeast in a small bowl and set aside until foamy, about 5 minutes. Whisk in the butter, 2 eggs, and salt. Stir in the flour until a soft dough forms. Dust a work surface with flour and knead dough for 10 minutes, until smooth and elastic. Gather the dough into a ball.
- Lightly butter a large bowl, set the dough in it, and turn over to coat in the butter. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and set aside to rise, about 1½ hours.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Flatten the dough, add the grated cheese and knead lightly until well incorporated. Divide the dough into two equal pieces; roll each piece into a 14 -inch-long strand. Pinch these two strands together at one end, then twist them together six times lengthwise to make a single coiled strand. Form the strand into a circle and pinch the ends to seal.
- Lightly butter a large rimmed baking sheet. Transfer the coiled ring to it. Press the hard-boiled eggs at three equidistant spots around the coil, using the natural indentations caused by the crossing of the strands.
- Whisk the remaining egg and 2 tablespoons water in a small bowl until foamy. Brush lightly over the bread. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and set aside to rise again, about 1 hour. Make sure the rack is in the centre of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Bake until golden brown and hollow-sounding when tapped, 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool for 15 minutes or to room temperature, about 1 hour. To serve, slice the bread into wedges and surround these on a platter with charcuterie, cheeses and hard boiled eggs.