With the Easter Holidays being around the corner, this is the perfect occasion to share with you a traditional recipe from Southern Italy. In Calabria it is called cuddura, which can be described as a lightly sweet yeasted bread. Back home they replace the regular yeast with sourdough, which takes several days to prepare it. I must admit that I haven’t experimented yet trying to make my own sourdough. That is why I chose once again the easier way. I hope my family will forgive me this ‘sin’ ;)
In my family this recipe has been passed over for several generations. Last year I had the chance to spend Easter in Calabria with my family. Besides the huge amounts of food that we prepare over the holidays, these delicious cuddure couldn’t miss! Well, my aunt is a very talented person in so many crafty things, whether it is painting, decorating and so much more.. So last year instead of decorating the braided bread simply with boiled eggs, she added her personal twist to it. She turned little pieces of dough into fabulous leaves and roses! That is probably the cutest way of covering the connected ends of the braid.
I love the idea and therefore I’ve been so looking forward to at least try decorating them the “same way” as last year, even if I cannot get even close to her flower creations :)
It was so much fun decorating the egg shells too! Isn’t that a beautiful way of adding a fresh spring breeze to the holiday’s table decoration? :)
CUDDURA – MY FAMILY’S BRAIDED EASTER BREAD
1 kg / 35¼ oz of flour
200 ml / 6¾fl oz of olive oil
200 ml / 6¾fl oz of milk, lukewarm
200 g / 7 oz of sugar
6 eggs (+1 egg to brush)
20 g / 1 full tbsp of fresh yeast (alternatively 7 g / 1 full tsp of dry yeast)
zest from 2 lemons
a pinch of salt
* * * * *
Pour the flour into a large bowl. Add all the other ingredients except the milk and yeast.
Heat the milk until lukewarm. Stir in the yeast until it dissolves. Then pour the liquid into the bowl.
Knead to a dough and let it rest in a warm place for about 1,5 hours.
Roll several equally long rolls and form a braid out of each three. Depending on the size that you prefer you can make either 2 big braided bread or several small ones.
Connect the ends so that the braid turns into a circle.
Place them on a baking paper covered baking pan. Cover with a kitchen towel or place into the oven (turned off) to rest additional 20-30 min.
Preheat the oven at 180°C/356°F.
Brush the buns with a beaten egg.
Bake for about 30 min. Adjust the baking time depending on the size of the bread, until they turn golden brown.
Prep Time: 2,5h
Serves approx. 2 big or 6 small braided breads