Easter Sweet Bread, Colomba di Pasqua

Easter “Dove” Bread

colomba_pasqua_italian_easter_bread_web_img | paulasitaliankitchen.com

This is Easter’s version of Panettone! Yay – another reason to make a similar bread besides Christmas time. This rich, buttery sweet bread is traditionally made with candied orange pieces. I use the dried candied fruit like I use for my Panettone. Any chopped fruit will do — dates, raisins, figs.

I usually free-form the shape of this bread into the “dove”, but this year I found paper molds at Fante’s. They simplified the process a bit, but I think my free-form style looked just as much like a dove as the paper molds! The paper molds are really affordable at under $1 each. Plus, I love Fante’s! The pizzelle iron I have (it’s my great-grandmother’s) came from Fante’s. And my Mom has purchased several bocce ball sets from them over the years. They are our go-to source for many things Italian.

I believe the origin of this bread is the Lombardy area of northern Italy. It’s been my tradition to make it at Easter to go with our ham dinner. It’s a delicious, slightly sweet accompaniment to this wonderful meal. It’s equally as good toasted either at breakfast with your coffee, or for dessert with honey drizzled over it and served with an espresso. Yum! I think it would also make good french toast.

Italian Easter Sweet Bread, Colomba di Pasqua
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Easter Sweet Bread - Colomba di Pasqua
Recipe type: Bread/Pane
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 2 large loaves
  • ½ cup milk, warmed to 80-90 F
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ⅛ teaspoon orange oil or extract (optional)
  • 3-1/2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
  • 2-1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • orange zest from one large orange
  • lemon zest from one large lemon
  • ½ cup sliced almonds, plus 1 tablespoon more for garnishing
  • 1 cup candied fruit or chopped dried fruit
  1. Add all ingredients above to bread pan, in order given.
  2. Select the dough cycle.
  3. Press "start" to begin mixing, kneading, and first rise.
  4. When cycle is complete, remove dough from bread pan and shape.
  5. Divide dough into 4 pieces, 2 slightly larger than others.
  6. Roll large piece into a log and lay lengthwise in your paper mold or on a cookie sheet.
  7. Make an indentation in the center. Roll a second, smaller piece into a log and set it crosswise in the indent.
  8. If you're free-forming on a cookie sheet, pull the ends of the crosswise piece up slightly into a crescent shape to form somewhat of a "dove" shape.
  9. Repeat with the remaining 2 pieces of dough.
  10. Cover and let rise for an hour. Paper molds - dough should fill mold and reach the top of the mold. Cookie sheet - dough should double in size.
  11. Prepare glaze -- see notes section for recipe.
  12. When dough is doubled, place rack in middle of oven and preheat to 350 degrees F.
  13. Place loaves in oven (Paper molds -- place on a cookie sheet for easy transfer to and from oven).
  14. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown all over.
  15. Remove from oven and let cool completely before slicing.
While dough is rising, prepare glaze --

Almond Glaze Ingredients:
1 egg white
1/4 cup whole unblanched almonds or 3 tablespoons almond flour
2 tablespoons white sugar
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 tablespoon sliced almonds
1-1/2 tablespoons raw sugar crystals

Almond Glaze Preparation:
1) In a food processor, add the egg white, unblanched almonds, white sugar, and almond extract.

2) Pulse until all ingredients are well blended.

3) Brush mixture on the loaves, sprinkle with sliced almonds, and raw sugar crystals.




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