Easter Pane Di Pasqua


You know what? I love making breads like these, and I think it’s because I don’t do it often. I am more of a rustic loaf kinda guy, and to plait pretty breads like these is really pleasing. I enjoyed making them, and teaching them in this years Easter Bread Making Course, and I’ll enjoy passing them on to you too. I hope you have as much fun making them as I did.

Pane di pasqua is a traditional Easter bread from Italy. Sweet buns are right up my street! This bread is super fragrant thanks to the citrus zest and star anise powder, and it’s absolutely delicious!

Raw eggs of various colours are traditionally baked into the dough and the addition of sprinkles of any kind is optional. I went for the slightly classy pearl sugar, since I am such a classy boy.

Give these a go this Easter, with family and friends. I have described below how I made each shape in the photo, but have fun with it and create your own designs unique to you.

Happy Easter!


Pane di pasqua

This recipe will make four to eight pane di pasqua, depending on the design you like the most.


Dough: Easy       Shaping: tricky

4 hours


For the dough

375g      Strong white bread flour

5g           Salt

50g         Caster sugar

1tsp       Ground star anise

Zest of 1 lemon

Zest of 1 orange

20g         Fresh yeast

180g       Room temperature milk

1              Medium egg

35g         Soft butter

To finish

8              Medium eggs

                Food colouring

                Pearl Sugar

1              Egg for egg wash



1.       Weigh your flour, sugar, salt, spice and zest into a large mixing bowl. Mix them together then add the butter broken into pieces, and the egg.

2.       Weigh your yeast and then milk into a jug, mix to soften the yeast.

3.       Pour your liquid into the dry mixture and bring everything together into a dough.

4.       Knead your dough well for 8 minutes. Then, shape it into a ball, place it back into the bowl to rest with a cloth on top for 60-90 minutes.

5.       While your dough rests, colour four of your remaining eggs. In a cup place 120g of boiling water and enough food colouring to make it really vibrant. Lower in your egg and let it sit for 5 minutes. Then lift it out and drain.

6.       When your dough has risen nicely, turn it out of the bowl and get ready to divide it up. With your dough, you’ll have enough to make two of each of the following:



You need: 2 x 50g pieces of dough and 1 egg

Roll out your dough into two sausages around 40cm long. Twist them around each other and roll the ends with a little pressure to stick together. Bring the ends together into a ring and place your egg in the middle.



You need: 2 x 50g pieces of dough and 1 egg

Roll out your dough into two sausages around 40cm long. Twist them around each other and bring them round into a small ring only just big enough for the egg to nestle in nicely. Now pinch your four strands together close to the egg and plait the remaining dough. Right over left of the right hand pair, right over left of the left hand pair, and left over right in the middle. Repeat until all the dough is used and tuck the ends underneath.

Figure of 8


You need: 1 x 100g piece of dough, 1 x 50g piece of dough, 2 eggs

Roll out the large piece of dough into a sausage around 55cm long, and the smaller piece around 45cm long. Using the large piece bring the ends together into a ring. Then twist in the middle into an “8” shape. Repeat with the smaller piece. Now, egg wash the larger piece and place the smaller one on top. Pop your two eggs in the two holes.

7.       Let your pane di pasqua rest nicely for 45-60 minutes, preheat the oven at this point to 180°C Fan/Gas Mark 5. Just before you bake, very carefully egg wash the dough and sprinkle over some pearl sugar to stick.

8.       Bake for 20-25 minutes, then cool on a wire rack.