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Easter Braid Bread - 'Treccia di Pasqua' ...The Gluten-Free Way!

Treccia di Pasqua’ or a woven Easter bread is a traditional Easter cake prepared throughout Italy with each region having its own recipe and name. It is a light, airy, and slightly sweet with citrus flavors and is typically served for breakfast on Easter morning. Treccia di Pasqua is usually shaped in the form of a wreath and decorated with colored eggs, which symbolize rebirth - new life, new beginnings - along with colored sprinkles but it can be decorated as you desire. A delicious bread that will brighten your soul.


In Italy, the Monday after Easter is a national holiday know as ‘Pasquetta’ - a time when friends and family gather and celebrate with a picnic, walks, or ‘grigliate’ (Italian version of barbecue). So instead of baking this delicious Easter cake for ‘Pasqua’, we decided to bake it for ‘Pasquetta’!


Because we had so many traditional cakes, pies, cookies, etc… we made a smaller Easter braid bread but feel free to double the recipe to make a larger version. This gluten-free alternative is based on a traditional family recipe that has been handed down from one generation to another. It took several attempts but I think we finally did it! Since we finished our colored eggs, I simply decorated the bread with glaze and sprinkles.


You can make a wreath, or a long braided bread or make mini loafs and serve in a basket. A treat that is great for any occasion!


Felice Pasquetta a Tutti’ - Happy Pasquetta Everyone!


Yields: 4 servings

Prep time: 30 min + 2 to 3 hours and 20 min resting time

Baking time: 45 min to 1 hour


Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 cup all-purpose gluten-free baking flour

  • 1/2 cup rice flour

  • 1/3 cup cornstarch (can sub with potato starch)

  • 1 1/2 teaspoon psyllium husk powder

  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar

  • 1/4 cup lukewarm almond milk

  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar

  • 1 1/4 teaspoon gluten-free active dry yeast

  • 1 egg + 1 yolk

  • 1/4 cup sugar

  • 1/3 cup organic dairy-free sour cream (can sub with yogurt)

  • 1/4 cup organic sunflower oil or light olive oil

  • 1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

  • 1 teaspoon honey

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

  • Zest of 1/2 lemon

  • 1 teaspoon orange liquor (or liquor of your choice)

Egg Wash

  • 1 egg

  • 1 teaspoon water (can sub with milk)

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar

Glaze

  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar

  • 1 egg white

  • 2 to 3 drops of fresh lemon juice

Directions:

  1. Prepare baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

  2. In a mixing bowl, sift together dry ingredients (gluten-free flour, rice flour, cornstarch, psyllium, baking powder, baking soda, and salt) then add sugar. Mix well with a whisk and set aside.

  3. In a small glass bowl, add lukewarm almond milk, sugar, and yeast. Mix well and cover with a kitchen towel. Set aside for 10 minutes until foamy on top.

  4. Using a stand-up mixer or a hand mixer with whisk attachment, mix egg, yolk, and sugar until fluffy and creamy. Slowly add sour cream, oil, vinegar, honey, vanilla, lemon zest and liquor, then add yeast mixture and mix well.

  5. Switch to a dough hook and then add flour a little bit at a time and mix until all ingredients are fully incorporated. The dough will be a thick batter - not too loose and not too tight. Cover with a kitchen towel and proof for 2 to 3 hours until double in size.

  6. Heavily flour your working surface, place dough on flour and dust the dough with gluten-free baking flour, adding more as needed. Knead dough using hands until you have a homogenous and smooth dough that is no longer sticking to your hands or working surface.

  7. Once the dough is ready, divide into three equal-sized balls. Roll each ball into a 12-inch coil or log. Transfer logs onto prepared baking sheet and pinch the top portions of one end together, then braid them connect the other end. Form into a circle and pinch the circle closed. Cover with plastic wrap and let it rest for 20 minutes.

  8. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

  9. In a small bowl, mix egg, water and sugar and brush over the loaf well coating the entire surface. Place in the oven and bake for 45 to 50 minutes, until golden brown on top (increase baking time if making a larger Easter bread). A toothpick inserted into the center of the bread should come out dry.

  10. Cool in the baking tray for 10 minutes then transfer to a wire rack and cool completely - about 2 hours.

  11. Prepare sugar glaze: Using a stand-up mixer or hand-held mixer with whisk attachment, mix powdered sugar, egg white and lemon juice. Brush the glaze over the Easter bread and cover it with colored sprinkles. Let it dry completely, about 1 hour.

Enjoy!



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