Rich with tradition, symbolism, and treasured ingredients, Easter breads figure prominently in many cultures' celebrations. From Russia to Spain, these yeast-risen breads are often laden with ingredients like eggs, butter, sugar, fruits, nuts, and spices – rewards following the period of Lent leading up to Easter Sunday. We had only intended to round up a few recipes but were so struck by the beauty and deep tradition of these breads that we had to share this gorgeous gallery of 15…Will you be enjoying any of these breads for Easter (or just for fun)? Or perhaps one we haven't shown here? Please share your own traditions and recipes with us in the comments!
• 1 Armenian choereg – A braided loaf flavored with mahlab (a spice derived from sour cherry seeds) and sprinkled with sesame seeds.
• 2 British hot cross buns – 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.
• 3 Bulgarian kozunak – An eggy bread flavored with raisins, nuts, and lemon zest. May also be braided, shaped into a round loaf, and studded with eggs.
• 4 Croatian sirnica – A sweet bread perfumed with rosewater and citrus zest.
• 5 Czech Houska – A braided, eggy loaf featuring raisins, nuts, and citrus zest.
• 6 Dutch paasbrood – A sweet bread packed with sweet almond paste, raisins, and candied citrus.
• 7 Greek tsoureki – 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.
• 8 Italian pane di pasqua – One of many Italian Easter breads, this one is braided with an egg nestled in the center.
• 9 Italian gubana – From the Friuli region, a dense bread with a filling of nuts, raisins, chocolate, and grappa.
• 10 Lithuanian velykos pyragas – A sweet loaf dotted with raisins.
• 11 Portuguese folar de páscoa – A sweet or savory bread often decorated with eggs.
• 13 Slovenian velikonocni kruhki – Sweet buns flavored with cardamom, citrus zest, raisins, and nuts.
• 14 Spanish hornazo – A savory bread stuffed with egg and sausage.
• 15 Ukrainian babka – Flavored with raisins and baked in a coffee can, this sweet bread was made by Kitchn reader Karlynn Johnston (thanks for sharing!).
(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)