Italian Easter Bread is a soft sweet bread with an Easter egg baked in the middle and topped with sprinkles. This simple braided bread recipe includes easy step-by-step photos and a video. Your guests will be impressed and enjoy having their own edible Easter nests!
6dyed, uncooked, Easter eggs (will cook in the oven)
Mix together the yeast, milk, salt, butter, eggs and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Add 2 cups of flour and beat until smooth, with the paddle attachment. With the mixer on low speed, continue to slowly add the rest of the flour just until a dough forms. Switch to the dough hook attachment and knead on low speed until the dough is smooth and elastic. Add more flour as needed so that it is tacky, not sticky. Alternatively, the dough can be kneaded on a floured work surface, by hand. Transfer to an oiled bowl, turning once to coat both sides. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm, draft-free place until doubled, about 1 hour.
Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone liner. Punch down the dough and divide into 12 equal pieces (about 3.5 oz each). Roll each piece into a 14-inch rope.
Twist two ropes to form a "braid", then join the ends to loop into a circle while pinching the tips together. Place on the prepared baking sheet.
Repeat with remaining dough ropes. Cover with a clean towel and let rise again until nearly doubled, about 1 more hour.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Brush the tops of the dough "nests" with the egg wash. Decorate with the sprinkles.
Place one egg in the center of each nest, pressing down lightly to secure. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes, until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.