Italian Braided Sweet Bread

Sweet Bread, braided in an easy (& visually effective) way, this delicious roll will sprinkle Italian vibes over your home. Enhanced by pleasant nut-y aroma and mild raising – cacao flavor, this sweet roll can be enjoyed during Easter or Christmas holidays (or any time of year really!).  

Italian Sweet Braided Bread Recipe
Italian Sweet braided Bread recipe

The perfectly braided sweet bread that can bring some Italian feels around the table at Easter/ Christmas time.

We love it for several reasons: 

  • It is rich in flavor – combining vanilla & orange feel with the nutty chocolate flavors of the filling;
  • It’s soft and filling
  • Can be made with both white (bleached) and whole wheat flours 
  • Perfect as breakfast or brunch in the afternoon 

 

Fun story: When I first made this bread, I happened to have one of those store paper bags people use to carry store-bought bread home. I decided to utilize it for keeping the loafs tender for longer. So, when my husband came home from work, he thought the loafs were store bough and declared ”I’m not eating that, it’s full of nasty stuff”. 

Well, it turns out he was a tiny bit wrong. Later on, he declared ”This is amazing! Can you make it again?”. The so easy to make, but visually effective braiding method can fool the toughest of critics, I suppose. 

 

TIPS: HOW TO MAKE THE PERFECT SWEET ITALIAN BREAD AT HOME: 

  1. When rolling out the dough, make sure to roll it as thin as possible (sprinkle flour or vegetable oil over your rolling pin). That way filling will cover more ‘bread surface’.
  2. For authentic Italian taste use the ’00’ Italian flour or ‘’ Doppio Zero’’. This is the most finely milled flour and has the lowest level of bran. Italians use the Doppio Zero for pasta and pastry products. However, if you do not have the Italian flour, use what you have at hand. For example, the bread on these photos was made with finely milled whole wheat flour and the result was great!
  3. Be generous with the filling – the filling is what makes any sweet bread extra special (in my humble opinion);
  4. Once loafs cool down preserve their mild soft texture for longer by wrapping them in foil/ kitchen cloth.t
Italian Sweet Braided Bread REcipe with walnut raisin filling

how to braid the dough

Itailian sweet bread braiding system - Recipe

how to make the filling

Italian Braided Sweet Bread

Sweet Italian braided bread, hugged by tasty walnuts, raisins and cacao filling. Rich in flavor, soft and sweet, this walnut roll is best enjoyed over Easter or Christmas;
CourseBreakfast, Brunch
CuisineEuropean, Italian
Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings 8 people

Ingredients

Sweet Bread

  • 3 cups /600 g/ flour , finely milled - plus more as needed
  • 1 cup /200 ml/ whole milk, lukewarm
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs, extra-large (room temperature)
  • 8 tbsp /100 g/ butter , room temperature
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract, optional
  • 1 tbsp orange extract, optional
  • 1 tbsp /7g/ active dry yeast
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1-2 tbsp whole milk, for brushing the loafs

Filling

  • 3 egg whites, large eggs
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup walnuts, chopped
  • ½ cup raisins
  • 1 tbsp rum + some water for soaking raisins in, optional

Instructions

Bread Loafs

  • In a small mixing bowl add 3 tbsp milk (warm but not hot), 1 tbsp brown sugar and dry yeast. Cover and set aside to activate yeast for 10 min (until bubbly).
  • In a large mixing bowl (or bread machine/robot) combine remaining milk and sugar. Then add eggs, soft butter, vanilla and orange extracts and stir until well combined.
  • Continue by adding the activated yeast mix and flour. Mix (using hands/bread machine/robot) until a soft, stretchy dough is formed. Add more flour (1 tbsp at a time) as needed.
  • Cover dough with baking paper and leave until dough has doubled its size (approx. 1 hour in warm environment); In the meantime prepare the filling (see below);
  • Once dough has doubled in size and filling is prepared, divide dough in 2 (or more if desired) even pieces. Roll out each dough piece on floured surface. Dough should be as thin as possible.
  • Then spread the filling mixture (also divided into 2 or more parts) over the dough and roll from one side to the other. Repeat for remaining dough. Then cut one small piece of the dough (one end only) and set aside. Cut the roll in the middle by starting from the other side while you leave some dough at the end un-cut. Swirl the two dough pieces around each other, and then add the pre-cut piece at the open end. Repeat for all dough loafs.
  • Place all braided loafs into baking pans (over baking paper) and let dough double in size in warm environment;
  • Bake in preheated oven 180 C/ 350 F until a tooth pick comes out clean. Cover loafs with baking foil if surface becomes golden brown before the inside completely done. Remove from baking pan and let cool.

Filling

  • Soak raisins in rum and some water (until covered) and leave to soften (around 15 min). Drain from water and set aside. Pulse whole walnuts in food processor until finely chopped.
  • Then in a large mixing bowl whisk egg whites until stiff peaks are formed. Then add drained raisins, chopped walnuts and sugar and mix gently until well combined. Spread over rolled out dough pieces as described above.

Recipe Notes

1 cup = 200 ml
 The recipe will yield 2 large loafs. If you have smaller bread pans divide the dough in 3 or 4 instead of 2 parts.
 For braiding method's visual guide, please also refer to photos above recipe;
 The dough can be made either with bread machine/kitchen robot or using your hands

Did you make this recipe?

Share on INSTAGRAM and tag it #shinelittlehouse. I’d love to hear how it turned out for you!

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