Pane di Pasqua (Easter Bread)




  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 4-1/2 to 5 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs (slightly beaten)
  • 4-1/2 to 5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons black anise seeds
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons pure anise extract
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter (alternatively you can use 1/4 cup shortening and 1/4 cup butter)




Step 1: Dissolve yeast in warm water.

Step 2: Warm milk and add butter (and shortening, if using), sugar , salt and flavoring. Let cool.

Step 3: Combine yeast mixture and milk mixture.

Step 4: Add slightly beaten eggs and then flour. Knead well.

Step 5: Let raise until double in size about 1 to 2 hours. Punch down and let rise again, about 1 hour.  

Step 6:  Divide the dough into five 24 ounce pieces.  Shape them into round balls and let rest for 15 minutes. Roll out into desired shapes. Let raise again for another 30 minutes.

Step 7: Bake large loaves in 350 degree oven until brown about 25 to 30 minutes. Bake small rolls for 15 to 20 miutes. Brush with slightly beatened egg whites. Place in oven for a few minutes until dry and shiny. 

Variation to the recipe:

Follow the recipe above except substitute the anise for 2 tablespoons of lemon extract, omit the vanilla, and decrease the amount of flour to make a very soft and sticky dough. After baked rolls are cool, ice them with powdered sugar icing - mix powdered sugar milk, and vanilla to make an icing that's has a thin consistency.



Where can I purchase the authentic black anise seeds. Thanks in advance.

Hi Elizabeth, That's a great question. I have never been able to find them in the US. I've only found them when visiting relatives in Calabria. As always, I'll keep my eyes and ears open and if I find a source in e US I will let you know. Cheryl

Thank you, I'm going to try brown seeds and use extract. The best I can do until I find some one who has relatives who can get some. That's the way my mom got it long ago. All those wonderful Italian women have long went to a "better place".

I have my Great Grandmother's recipe. It calls for scalded milk. I'm thinking it was unpasteurized back then (0vere 100 years old). I'm the only one in the family that still makes it. I found some anise oil in an Italian market. I bought 7 bottles of it. It's more than 20 years old and still wonderful. I use that instead of extract, but it was hit and miss with the amount due to the intensity of the oil. I finally settled on a little less than a capful, but my favorite part is the seeds. is so much better a few days old. Love this a little stale.

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