Five Easter Celebration Breads: a sample from Sift magazine

Since the time of Stonehenge, mankind has looked to the approach of spring as a season for physical and spiritual renewal. Celebration breads have held a prominent place in practically every culture in Europe, dating back to Roman Times.

Today, making these breads still celebrates life springing eternal while carrying on delicious, centuries-old baking traditions.


Italy’s Columba Pasquale, or Easter Dove Bread, is a native of Lombardy. Studded with citrus peel or the dried fruits of your choice, gilded with a shiny coat of sugar-nut syrup, then sprinkled with almonds and sparkling sugar, this fresh bread makes delicious toast.

chocolate-swirl-babka Chocolate Babka can be made as a simple loaf; chocolate chips and toasted nuts in the filling give it extra pizzazz.greek-tsourekiGreek Tsoureki is traditionally spiced with mahlab, which has a distinctive cherry/almond flavor. This rich bread can be braided into a circle, or presented as one large loaf. The eggs symbolize rebirth, renewal, and the blood of Christ.

paskaPaska is a crustless cheesecake in Russia; but in many Eastern European countries, it’s a tender, milk- and egg-enriched bread with lovely decorations evoking Easter symbols.

Celebrate life springing eternal while carrying on delicious, centuries-old baking traditions with these five Easter bread recipes. Click To Tweet

ham-sandwichIt also makes a mean ham sandwich.

Last but not least, my favorite Easter Bread is actually a bun.

hot-cross-bunsEasy Hot Cross Buns – tender, shiny, a little sweet with nuggets of fruit – make early spring mornings or afternoon teatime that much more special.

This time of renewal, light, and hope is something to celebrate in our kitchens, which is why we gathered all these recipes together in our premiere issue of Sift. Live. Breathe. Bake.

Susan Reid

Chef Susan Reid grew up in New Jersey, graduated from Bates College and the Culinary Institute of America, and is presently the Food Editor of Sift magazine. She does demos, appearances, and answers food (and baking) questions from all quarters.


  1. Jerry Falek

    I bake a lot of bread, including brioche. How did the baker get the braid to stay so small and tight? I just tried it, making the strands pencil thin, and with the second rise and subsequent baking it blossomed.

    Beautiful loaf.

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      The bread that kept it’s shape may be simply made with a dough that is stronger – meaning with more flour than you are using so it holds it’s shape better. A softer dough will tend to meld together and not hold it’s shape when rising or during the oven spring of baking. Your dough may need just a couple tablespoons extra flour to help it hold it’s shape. Happy Baking! Irene@KAF

  2. Virginia (Ginger)

    You forgot to post the Portuguese Sweet Bread recipe that is a famous Easter bread for New Englanders.

  3. William Miiddeke

    For the past 40+ years, I’ve been making kulich and Eastern Orthodox bread, heavy in eggs and butter, with candied fruit, raisins, and almonds. It’s baked in 1# coffee cans. The rounded tops is said to remind them of the domes of their churches.

  4. Nancy L

    Several years ago I tried my hand at a cheese babka and it was a hit. I do wish that I would see recipes for the many other versions of babka instead of chocolate all the time.

  5. DeAnne Dei

    I too loved reading all the Easter Bread baking traditions from around the world……however, did not see one for Portuguese Sweet Bread/Rolls – traditionally made at Easter. My background is 1/2 Portuguese and 1/2 Heinz 57. My Mom – the baker, baked wonderful yeast rolls and scrumptious cinnamon rolls every holiday. I lived next door to a Portuguese family for a few years and she shared her sweet bread recipe, but have never tested her technique..

  6. Dolores

    Making paska is a tradition in my family. I look forward to making it this year as the only person left in my family that can tackle a yeast bread. It is indeed fabulous for ham sandwiches.

  7. Julie

    I want to make the chocolate babka but I don’t have a bread machine. If I knead it by hand, how long does it have to rise before I roll it out and add filling?

  8. lindic

    Beautiful! Love the meanings behind these breads. Easter is such a special time of the year. Thank you for sharing, God bless you!


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