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For certain holidays, I love finding things to create that also teach something or tell a story. My kids remember things so much better if they can relate to something that they are doing too. I recently heard about an Easter tradition in Italy. They make these braided loafs of bread, complete with a sweet glaze, that teaches the significance of Easter.
Traditionally, they bake an egg in the middle of the bread too. This creates a soft boiled egg. The bread reminds us of the body of Christ and the sacrifice he made by dying on the Cross. The egg is the blood of Christ, spilled in the Garden of Gethsemane for our sins. Eggs have also been traditionally associated with fertility and re-birth, the perfect symbol for what we celebrate this time of year.
There are a lot of great recipes out there for the bread dough. I’ve seen sweet and savory versions. However, because we’ve been so busy, I needed a shortcut. Thank goodness I had a bag of Rhodes Frozen Bread Rolls in my freezer!! Here are the steps to creating your own Easy Italian Easter Bread:
1. Thaw frozen bread rolls. You may also use the Frozen Bread loafs if you are doing a larger ring. You don’t want the rolls to rise yet, just get them thawed.
2. When they are thawed, take two rolls and moosh them together. Yes, moosh! It’s a weird, didn’t you know? Roll it into a long rope. Do the same with two more rolls.
3. Take the two ropes and braid them together. Bring the ends in and pinch them off to create a little wreath shape.
4. Place an egg in the middle. Even if you choose not to bake the eggs with the bread and use dyed hard boiled eggs, it still helps to create a little cushion for the eggs to sit in afterwards.
5. Do the same with the rest of the pan. I thawed 16 rolls to get 4 braids. The egg does look big before the dough rises, but they fit perfectly once the dough is ready to bake.
6. Once they have risen, bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned. While you wait, create the glaze by mixing 1/4 cup powdered sugar with 1 Tbsp of milk.
7. When the rolls are done, remove them from the oven and brush the glaze over the tops. After a few minutes, add your favorite sprinkles. It does help to wait a little bit because if the rolls are still too hot, the sprinkles may melt a bit. I used Wilton Easter sprinkles and Rainbow sprinkles.
8. Add your dyed Easter eggs once the rolls are cooled. If you did bake the eggs with the bread, you will want to dye them once they are cooled as well. Remember, they will be soft boiled. That’s it! You are ready with a fun Easter roll for your family’s Easter celebration. And you can take a moment to talk about the significance of Easter while enjoying the rolls.