Rich with tradition, symbolism, and treasured ingredients, Easter breads figure prominently in many cultures' celebrations. From Russia to Spain, these yeast-risen breads are full of eggs, butter, sugar, fruits, nuts, and spices – a small reward following the period of Lent leading up to Easter Sunday.
Grab your passport and travel around the world through the lens of Easter bread. From hot cross buns in Britain, to Greek Tsoureki, your eyes and stomach will thank you.
Last year Faith discovered that the bread she grew up making for Easter was not, in fact, Czech Houska. Instead she and her family had been making Vanocka, a traditional Christmas in the Czech Republic and Slovakia. I loved this story, because although each Easter bread has it's own nuances and traditions, these sweet breads all use similar ingredients and are simply based in celebration. Houska or not – Faith is going to eat this every year for Easter.
Will you be enjoying any of these breads for Easter (or just for fun)?A combination of these bread recipes, or maybe one we haven't shown here? Please share your own traditions and recipes with us in the comments!
15 Easter Breads Around the World
- Armenian Choereg –Kitchen Parade
A braided loaf flavored with mahlab (a spice derived from sour cherry seeds) and sprinkled with sesame seeds.
- British Hot Cross Buns (earl grey-flavored!)– The Kitchn
Spiced buns filled with currants or raisins and marked with a cross made by slicing the top or adding dough or icing. Some believe the buns predate Christianity and were served at pagan spring festivals.
- Bulgarian Kozunak – Food.com
An eggy bread flavored with raisins, nuts, and lemon zest. May also be braided, shaped into a round loaf, and studded with eggs.
- Croatian Pinca – Bake Noir
A sweet bread with citrus zest.
- Dutch Paasbrood – Country Living
A sweet bread packed with sweet almond paste, raisins, and candied citrus.
- Greek Tsoureki – Saveur
A sweet, braided bread often flavored with mahlab (a spice derived from sour cherry seeds), anise seeds, mastic, or citrus peel. Red colored eggs represent Christ's blood and rebirth.
- Italian Pane di Pasqua – Roxana's Home Baking
One of many Italian Easter breads, this one is braided with an egg nestled in the center.
- Italian Gubana – Citrus and Candy
From the Friuli region, a dense bread with a filling of nuts, raisins, chocolate, and grappa.
- Lithuanian Velykos Pyragas – About.com
A sweet loaf dotted with raisins.
Updated from a post originally published April 2010.
(Images: Kitchen Parade, BBC Good Food, Flickr member sneige, Linda Kovacevic, Faith Durand, Flickr member Dorret, Souvlaki For The Soul, The Italian Dish, Citrus and Candy, Barbara Rolek/About.com, Flickr member M Cruz, Flickr member kovalchuk.nikolay, eCurry, Flickr member unmirasol, Country Living, City Style)
(Image credits: Izy Hossack; Food.com; Bake Noir; Country Living; Saveur; Roxana's Home Baking ; Food Network; Natasha's Kitchen; SBS)