Italian Easter Dove Bread Recipe (Colomba di Pasqua) Adds Eggcellence to Your Easter Table by Ann Marie Patitucci

Italian Easter Dove Bread Recipe (Colomba di Pasqua) Adds Eggcellence to Your Easter Table

I grew up in an Italian family with a mom and aunts who prided themselves in their Italian (and Italian American) cooking. However, I don’t ever recall eating Easter Dove Bread. So of course as an adult I became intrigued by it. The name colomba di pasqua translates to "Easter dove." According to, “colomba is one of the rare exceptions to Italian cuisine; even the most traditional nonna will buy her colomba from the store, rather than make it herself.” However, “expert bakers rise to the occasion, often adding their own twist…” We have plenty of expert bakers among our community here at 30Seconds, so I figured you might want to give this one a try!

Eataly reports that colomba is “often served with fresh berries, drizzled in dark chocolate, slathered in sweet spreads or paired with whipped cream.” Italians enjoy this delicious Easter treat for breakfast with a cup of coffee or as an afternoon pick-me-up. “And at Eataly, [they] love to pair this festive cake with a glass of Prosecco or dessert wine.”

Cuisine: Italian
Prep Time: 1 hour plus rise time
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 2 hours plus time to rise
Servings: Makes 1 loaf



  • 6 ounces warm water
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon
  • 1 teaspoon orange peel
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened and cut into pieces
  • 3 1/4 cups unbleached flour (bread flour is ideal, but all-purpose flour works fine)
  • 1 package dry yeast (preferably for bread machines, but regular works, too)


  • 1 egg white
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup ground almonds or almond meal
  • slightly less than 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • pearl sugar (Belgian and/or Swedish), for sprinkling
  • 2 dozen (roughly) whole almonds

Here’s how to make it:

  1. Place water, egg yolks, vanilla, grated lemon and grated orange peel into the bread machine. Next add sugar, salt, flour and butter pieces around the outside of the metal pan on top of the flour. Make an indentation in the flour and add the yeast. Start the bread machine on “dough” setting. When the machine is finished, allow dough to rise until it doubles in size.
  2. Ideally, use a paper dove mold. If you don’t have one, you can make the mold yourself: Cut pieces of heavy-duty aluminum foil and fold them over. Repeat until you achieve a long strip. Join pieces together with metal paper clips and shape into a "dove shape.” (I’ll be honest here, I’m not sure I’ve ever thought any of the dove bread I’ve seen really looks like a dove, so don’t put too much pressure on yourself!)
  3. Once the dough has doubled in size, punch it down and knead into a ball then cut 1/3 of the dough off and shape into a log. Then shape the larger piece into a larger log.
  4. Lay the larger piece lengthwise into the mold (it will become the body of the dove). Lay the smaller piece across the top (it will become the wings). With the oven OFF, place the dove-shaped dough into the oven (again, with the oven off) and allow to rise until at least doubled. This should take about 2 to 3 hours.
  5. Once the bread has doubled, remove it from the oven and then preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  6. In a medium-sized bowl, beat the egg white, cornstarch, sugar and almond meal or ground almonds with a fork until well combined. Brush the mixture over the top of the dove bread.
  7. Sprinkle the pearl sugar over the top of the bread and then place roughly 2 dozen whole almonds on top.
  8. Bake for 30 minutes, then reduce oven heat to 325 degrees F. Continue to bake until a long, thin skewer comes out clean (this should take about a half an hour more, but ovens vary). If the top is browning too quickly, cover it with aluminum foil. Remove bread from oven and allow to cool on the tray for 15 minutes or more.
  9. Once the bread has cooled, remove the aluminum foil and serve. The Easter dove bread will keep for about a week or so.

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Bread Flour $3 & Up
Pearl Sugar $10 & Up
Almond Meal $6 & Up
Vanilla $4 & Up
Bread Machines $50 & Up

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Elisa Schmitz
OMGoodness, how wonderful, Ann Marie Patitucci . Such a traditional treat. Love learning about international recipes, thanks!
I’ve not heard of this before but it looks lovely.

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