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My family has been making this Easter bread for generations. It's origins are in a family bakery owned by my great-great aunts off the boat from Italy. My mom and I are the only remaining individuals who know how to make this, so I'm posting it hoping to share it with others. It is made the old world way, so it is not quick, but it is delicious and well worth the work and wait.

Recipe Summary

15 mins
45 mins
9 hrs
10 hrs
6 loaves


Original recipe yields 20 servings
The ingredient list now reflects the servings specified
Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Combine flour, sugar, and anise seed together in a very large bowl; create a well in the center.

  • Mix warm water and yeast together in a bowl. Let stand until the yeast softens and begins to form a creamy foam, about 10 minutes.

  • Beat warm milk, eggs, and butter together in a bowl; stir into yeast mixture. Add milk mixture to the well in the flour mixture. Knead flour-milk mixture using your hands until dough and your hands are no longer sticky. Cover dough with a clean cotton cloth and let rise, 8 hours to overnight.

  • Grease and flour 6 loaf pans.

  • Punch dough down and divide into 6 portions. Mold each portion into a round shape and place each in a prepared pan. Cover pans and let rise for 1 hour more.

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

  • Bake in the preheated oven until bread is cooked through, 45 to 50 minutes.

Cook's Note:

This recipe is traditionally made in the spring with low humidity.

My grandmother used to cover the dough with light winter coats/blankets to create extra warmth, but not heavy enough to weigh down on rising dough.

Grease and flour 6 pans. I've used everything from 9-inch round pans to standard bread pans. You need 6, so you'll need to get creative!

Nutrition Facts

448 calories; protein 11.9g; carbohydrates 81.4g; fat 8.1g; cholesterol 88.6mg; sodium 73mg. Full Nutrition