Grandma's Italian Holiday Bread Recipes

Anita Fagiano shares her grandma's Italian holiday bread recipes, a perfect old-fashioned memory to create for the holiday season.

| December 1999/January 2000

  • Italian bread recipes from grandma
    Mainly we baked bread—sweet pastries were reserved for the holidays.

  • Italian bread recipes from grandma

Learn how to make these Italian holiday bread recipes for the holiday season. 

Baking Italian Holiday Bread Recipes

Being a first-generation American born to Italian immigrants, I learned early on about cooking and baking. Mainly we baked bread—sweet pastries were reserved for the holidays. Though even these were not the sweet pastries we know today, but rather a simple mix of flour, eggs, milk and a small amount of sugar. Not very different from the bread, these pastries had to be dunked in coffee or tea to make them edible, but still they were a treat and a tribute to the holidays.

A more common treat were dough boys—fried bread sometimes sprinkled with sugar-made from the remains of our twice-weekly bread-baking sessions.

It was from all of this that I learned how to mix, knead and roll dough for homemade pasta and pies. There were no cookbooks, no recipes, no measuring cups or spoons. From my mother I learned the basics of baking and cooking, minus the modern conveniences. Later, as I got older, my mother teamed from me about recipes and measuring cups and spoons and different ingredients and all of the modern cookbook how-to's. She adapted to this new way quickly and did well, though she could not read.

We spent many a day, first in her kitchen and later in mine, trying new recipes or perfecting old ones. Among our favorites were those for traditional Italian biscuits—egg, pepper and wine.

Wine Biscuits Recipe

5 cups flour
5 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup sugar
1 cup red table wine (I use burgundy)
1cup corn oil
2 beaten eggs

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