Nonna D'Ambrosi's Easter Bread
This Easter Bread was made by my Mom and my Grandmother since before I was born. Its distinctive anise flavor with a hint of cardamon is unique. When it's toasted on Easter morning, the whole house feels special and everyone is drawn to the kitchen table! When my Mom died in 1977, I carried on the tradition of making it. My own children have grown up with that special Easter aroma and have loved it so much that they insist that I freeze one bread every year so that we can have it the following Christmas. We slice it, toast it and spread it with warm butter. To say that it melts in your mouth is an understatement!
For 3 Batch(es)
For the Bread:
- 1 cup melted butter
- 6 room temperature, extra large eggs that are well beaten
- 1 1/2 cups lukewarm milk
- 2 packages active dry yeast softened in 1/4 cup warm water (105-115 degrees)
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups flour plus enough flour to make dough kneadable (Gold Medal all purpose)
- 2 tablespoons anise extract
- 1 tablespoons anise seed
- 2 teaspoon cardamon
- 1 1/2 tablespoons grated lemon rind
- 2 tablespoons emon juice
- 2 cups confectioner's sugar
- 1 tablespoons milk
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Put butter, eggs, milk, yeast, sugar and salt in large bowl.
- Add flour (enough to make soft dough).
- Add flavorings and more flour (enough to make dough kneadable)
- Knead for ten minutes.
- Cover with lightly moistened dish towel and let rise in greased bowl for two hours away from any drafts.
- Punch down and knead briefly.
- Cover with lightly moistened dish towel and let rise in greased bowl for one hour away from any drafts.
- Punch down and form three braided round loaves, each formed around a room temperature egg (colored if desired)
- Place loaves on greased baking sheets.
- Cover with lightly moistened dish towel and let rise for one half hour away from drafts.
- Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes.
- Bread is done when it sounds hollow when "knocked".
- Place loaves on wire racks to cool and IMMEDIATELY drizzle with frosting (see below) and sprinkles.
- Mix together all ingredients adding more sugar to make a soft, (a bit liquidy) consistency.
The flour amounts depend on humidity and temperature. Just add enough to make a good kneading dough without making it too dry!