E for Easter Bread
Once again I am blogging my way from A to Z as part of the 2015 April A to Z Challenge! Come blog through the alphabet with me!
I love special holiday traditions. They are something my kids look forward to every holiday.
Several years ago we started making Italian Easter Bread every Easter. Now the kids remind me to make it even though most of them do not even like to eat this sweet bread.
We haul out the bread maker that we only use once a year and make the dough with the machine. Then the kids and I braid it and put it together. We usually dye raw eggs and put them in between the folds of the bread. The eggs cook inside the oven along with the bread. This year we were able to use blue eggs from our Ameraucauna hens and didn’t have egg dye oozing out into the bread.
I posted a picture of our bread on Facebook and brought a second one to our family dinner. I was surprised by the reactions I got from friends and family who had never seen Easter bread before. My family is a tiny part Italian, but mostly Irish, while Spouse is all Italian. We adopted the Easter bread tradition from his family, but I really didn’t know a lot about it.
So I looked it up.
Italian Easter bread is very symbolic. Depending on the region of Italy, it can be baked into many shapes and forms. Usually the bread includes eggs baked into the bread. The shape I learned was a braided wreath.
The wreath represents the thorn of crowns worn by Christ. It is formed by braiding three pieces together that represent the Holy Trinity and attaching the ends of the braid to one another. The eggs have two meanings: 1) eggs are a symbol of rebirth and 2) eggs used to be forbidden during Lent, so placing them in the Easter bread symbolized the end of Lent.
If you want to make your own Easter bread, you can follow the recipe I use from SparkRecipes. I follow the directions for making the bread (including coating the bread with butter), but I do not use the glaze. Instead I either leave the top of the bread plain or Spouse sprinkles turbinado brown sugar on the top before baking. Some people like to add raisins to the recipe. We like it plain.
Tip: Always make sure there are enough eggs in the bread so each kid can have one. Even if they don’t eat it. It’s a symbol that you love them. And will prevent fighting.