Italian Easter Bread (Anise Flavored) Recipe -
Italian Easter Bread (Anise Flavored) Recipe
  • READY IN 2 hr

Italian Easter Bread (Anise Flavored)

Recipe by  

"Growing up, this was the best treat of Easter morning (and still is)! One bite of this light, fluffy, sweet bread and you're twelve years old again! Bakery quality in two hours. Try this South Philly Italian tradition and keep the heritage alive...Buona Pasqua a Tutti!"

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Ingredients Edit and Save

Original recipe makes 1 loaf Change Servings
  • PREP

    15 mins
  • COOK

    20 mins

    2 hrs


  1. Mix 1 cup of flour with sugar, salt, and yeast in a bowl, stir well. Place milk and anise extract into a small saucepan over low heat, and warm to about 110 degrees F (43 degrees C). Make a well in the center of the flour mixture with your hand, and pour in the milk mixture; swirl with your hand in a circular motion to combine the flour mixture with the milk mixture. Mix in butter and eggs, one at a time, then mix in remaining flour until dough begins to pull together.
  2. Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface, and knead until soft but elastic, about 8 minutes. Cover with a damp cloth, and let dough rest for 10 minutes; cut dough into halves.
  3. On floured work surface, roll each half into a ball, then shape the balls into 2 long pieces, about 1 1/2 inches thick and 18 to 20 inches long. Pinch the 2 top ends together, and loosely twist the pieces to form a twisted loaf; pinch the bottom ends together, and tuck the two ends underneath the loaf. (Alternately, form the twist into a ring, and pinch the ends together.)
  4. Grease a baking sheet, lay the loaf onto the prepared sheet, and cover with a damp towel; let rise until doubled, about 1 hour. Brush loaf with beaten egg, and sprinkle with colored decorating dragees.
  5. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Bake the decorated loaf in the preheated oven until golden, 20 to 25 minutes. Watch closely towards the end of the baking time that the bread does not begin to burn. Transfer to wire rack immediately after baking to cool.
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Reviews More Reviews

Most Helpful Positive Review
Apr 19, 2011

ABSOLUTELY FANTASTIC! If I could give this recipe more stars I would! This was my first year attempting Easter bread, and I chose this recipe because it sounded the most like what I was looking for, and it really, REALLY exceeded my expectations. I did do a few things slightly different, due to what I had and such...I am lazy, lol, so I mixed everything up in my bread machine on the dough cycle. Also, I only had pure anise oil, which is waaaay stronger than anise extract, so I used 1/4 teaspoon and that was perfect. I had an orange that was really to tart to eat, but I didn't want to waste the entire thing, so I zested it and threw that in the mix as well~YUM! Finally, I decided that I wanted a sweet glaze on top, so I baked it plain and then made a simple glaze of powdered sugar, vanilla and milk and drizzled that on top before topping with the colored sprinkles. The dough for this bread was wonderfully soft and super easy to work with. It smelled amazing while baking, and once I was able to cut into it, it had the most wonderful, light and airy texture that I just loved! This will be a new Easter staple for my family...I am sooo happy that I found this recipe! Thanks for sharing. :)

Most Helpful Critical Review
Apr 23, 2011

I have been making a version of this bread for about 30 years and it is one of my signiture and requested favorites. I have never been completely satisfied with the recipe I used, however, as it was heavier than I wanted, so I tried this one. It, also, is heavier than I am looking for and also not sweet enough; good, but not great. The search resumes!


28 Ratings

Apr 25, 2011

This dough was VERY easy to work with. I actually misread the ingredients and only added 1 egg initially. Thankfully, I caught my mistake. I was worried that adding more wet ingredients after the dough had come together would mess with the consistency, but it still worked out well. As another reviewer said, I used vanilla because I had no anise extract (although I'm sure the anise would've been delicious). Finally, I made a cinnamon glaze (1 cup powdered sugar, 1 tbsp margaine, 1 tbsp milk, 1 tbsp cinnamon) to go on top. Yum! The bread also reheated well the next morning with a couple seconds in the microwave.

Apr 22, 2011

This bread is absolutely fabulous. I put it in my bread machine on the dough cycle, then baked. My family and I really enjoyed it! Thank you so much for sharing!

Aug 24, 2011

this is the easiest and best italian easter bread i have ever made. just took a loaf out of the freezer and toasted it for breakfast. still as good as the day i made it 7 months ago.

Apr 25, 2011

This bread was wonderful. I used my stand mixer with dough hook for kneeding. I wanted for Easter morning, but didn't want to get up early. I made night before and put in fridge to raise overnight and worked beautifully. Put it on round pizza stone after kneeding, covered with plastic wrap sprayed with a little cooking spray so dough wouldn't 7 AM it was perfect to bake, just left out for 10 mins to bring to room temp and baked. This could be changed in so many ways with different extracts and/or shapes. Yummy!!

Apr 24, 2011

Baked for Easter. Unbelievable!! I could have eaten the entire thing. I will be baking this bread through the entire year. Thank you.

Jun 30, 2011

This recipe was awesome!! I made exactly as directed and got rave reviews!


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  • Calories
  • 212 kcal
  • 11%
  • Carbohydrates
  • 35.4 g
  • 11%
  • Cholesterol
  • 63 mg
  • 21%
  • Fat
  • 4.6 g
  • 7%
  • Fiber
  • 1.2 g
  • 5%
  • Protein
  • 6.6 g
  • 13%
  • Sodium
  • 288 mg
  • 12%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

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