Easter Dove Bread: La Colomba di Pascua

| 4/7/2011 8:59:00 AM

Tags: Easter, bread, bread history, Pascua di Colomba, Sue Van Slooten,

  La Colomba di Pascua or Easter Dove Bread by Sue Van Slooten 

This is an Italian Easter bread, and if you know anything about Italians, they go all out for Easter. This bread is a little more involved than my previous posts, but the results are beautiful. It will actually look like a bird or dove, with wings, a tail, and beak. The children will love the idea of bread that looks like a bird. Speaking of animal shapes, with any bread dough or this one, one could make bunnies, bears, chicks or any other part of the menagerie you would like to make. I have simplified it a little, and have omitted an almond paste “crust” that sometimes goes on top. It makes it less sugary, and less calorific. It doesn’t cut down on its eye appeal, however. If you are hankering for that almond taste, I would increase the almond extract ½ tsp. into the dough. It still won’t be overpowering though.  

This is another bread that’s been around for a while:  let’s face it; the holidays bring out baking traditions from all over the world. The Italians like to create in bread what we all see as symbols:  doves represent peace, or Christ. You can look with amusement at the pre-packaged “dove” breads available in the supermarket (I know I do), but I fail to see the bird shape much, as to my eye they more resemble mass produced “blobs.” They taste OK for an industrial breadstuff, and I’ve been known to eat a few, but as everyone readily knows, it doesn’t compare to home baked. These commercial breads could also last forever, and seemingly do.   

La Colomba di Pascua Italian Easter Dove Bread Recipe


1/2 tbl. active dry yeast 
6 tbl. unsalted butter, softened 
¼ cup sugar
1 tbl. grated lemon peel
1 tsp. vanilla extract
¼ to ½ tsp. almond extract
¼ tsp. salt
3 cups flour, plus more for dusting the board
2 eggs 
2 egg yolks 
1/3 cup warm milk
10 whole almonds 
1 egg white, beaten 
Pearl sugar 


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