Eat and Drink Easter bread recipe: How Patsy's Italian Restaurant makes the traditional treat By Georgia Kral and Diana Colapietro Updated March 14, 2016 5:07 PM Print Share fbShare Tweet Email Easter bread is a traditional item on Italian Easter tables all over the world. It also has a rich history in NYC, with most bakeries and many Italian restaurants making it for the holiday. To see how the sweet bread gets made, we headed to one of the oldest Italian restaurants in the city, Patsy's. Run by the Scognamillo family since opening in 1944, Chef Sal Scognamillo is the third generation in his family to work the line in the kitchen. The day we showed up was his birthday, and Deana Martin (daughter of Dean) called to sing him her best wishes for his 54th year. For a restaurant lined in framed photos autographed by famous actors and musicians, the call was somehow not surprising. In the lead up to Easter on March 27, Scognamillo makes four or five Easter breads each day. He gives slices away to all the guests in the restaurant. If you want to order one, just call, he said. The price? $20. The recipe is taken from the cookbook "Patsy's Italian Family Cookbook." Easter bread with colored eggs Makes 1 loaf, about 10 servings Ingredients: 1 cup whole milk 1/2 cup sugar 2 large eggs 1 tablespoon instant (also called bread-machine) yeast Finely grated zest of 1 lemon 2 teaspoons anise seeds or drizzle anise extract 1 1/2 teaspoons salt 5 cups unbleached all-purpose flour 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons, at room temperature 4 colored, hard-boiled eggs 1 large egg yolk 2 teaspoons nonpareils This is the one and only Patsy's Italian Restaurant Photo Credit: Diana Colapietro Patsy's Italian Restaurant (236 W. 56th St.) has been owned and run by the Scognamillo Family since 1944. To make Easter bread, start with milk Photo Credit: Diana Colapietro Add whole milk to the mixing bowl fitted with the paddle attachment to begin making the sweet dough. Sugar and salt Photo Credit: Diana Colapietro After you pour the milk, add sugar and salt to the mix. Next: eggs Photo Credit: Diana Colapietro As the milk and sugar are mixing, add 2 large eggs. Then, the yeast Photo Credit: Diana Colapietro Combine the instant yeast with a little water to make a liquid consistency and then add that to the mixer with the milk, sugar and eggs. Lemon zest for tang Photo Credit: Diana Colapietro Zest 1 lemon and add into the mixing bowl as the sweet dough continues to form. Anise flavoring Photo Credit: Diana Colapietro Chef Scognamillo eyeballs how much anise extract to add to the mixer. Rule of thumb: If using extract instead of seeds, drizzle a thin stream into the bowl for about 2 seconds. Slowly add flour Photo Credit: Diana Colapietro Add 3 1/2 cups of flour to the bowl and allow to mix on low speed until combined and thick. Time for butter Photo Credit: Diana Colapietro Add the butter 1 tablespoon at a time, waiting for each to be absorbed before adding another. Make sure butter is soft but not melted. Add remaining flour Photo Credit: Diana Colapietro The tricky thing with bread, Scognamillo explained, is that it can easily be messed up. How? By adding too much flour! When adding the remaining 1 1/2 cups of flour, add a little at a time to the mixer until the dough is soft and leaves the bowl clean with nothing sticking to its sides. This happens quickly. You may not use all of the flour. Here's how it should look Photo Credit: Diana Colapietro Nothing on the sides! Knead the dough Photo Credit: Diana Colapietro There are two ways to accomplish the next step of kneading the dough. You could either use a dough hook attachment on your mixer, or knead it by hand. One way is easier than the other, but the choice is yours. Scognamillo worked the dough by hand when we visited, but when making more than one bread, he'll use the mixer. If using the hook, mix on medium-low speed occasionally turning off and pulling the dough off the hook for about 8 minutes or until the dough is smooth, shiny and slightly sticky. If making the dough by hand, put flour on a work surface and knead, adding more flour as necessary, until the dough is smooth, supple and slightly sticky or about 10 minutes. Next, lightly butter a bowl, add the dough and cover with plastic wrap. Allow to rise in a warm spot for about 1 hour. It should double in volume. Cut the dough Photo Credit: Diana Colapietro Take the dough from the bowl, put it on a floured surface and cut into two (or three) pieces. Roll it out! Photo Credit: Diana Colapietro Roll each piece of dough under your palms into two 22-inch ropes. They will be shorter if rolling three pieces. The ropes should taper out at each end. Braid Photo Credit: Diana Colapietro Line the ropes up next to each other and braid, pinching the ends together. Getting close... Photo Credit: Diana Colapietro Place the braided bread onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to sit in a warm place for another hour or so. It should continue to rise. Dye the eggs Photo Credit: Diana Colapietro Each hard-boiled egg should sit in a food-coloring mixture (food coloring, water, a touch of white vinegar) for about 15 minutes. Make the glaze Photo Credit: Diana Colapietro Mix egg and milk for the egg glaze. Brush it on Photo Credit: Diana Colapietro The egg glaze will give the bread a sheen and also a pleasantly light crust. It is also a bit sticky, which allows the nonpareils to stick to it. Add those now. Eggstravaganza Photo Credit: Diana Colapietro Distribute the eggs into the dough, nestling them in carefully. Bake at 350 degrees Photo Credit: Diana Colapietro The bread will be done in about 30 minutes. It should be golden brown. Bread comes out Photo Credit: Diana Colapietro And it's time to eat! Let bread cool completely before slicing. By Georgia Kral and Diana Colapietro Share on Facebook Share on Twitter More on this topic 19 of the oldest Italian bakeries and pastry shops in NYCStep back in time and give your taste buds a treat. Di Palo's: the story behind the store, the family and the foodLou Di Palo has written a book about the family business. Zeppoles vs. Sfincis: Which Italian pastry are you?Ricotta or custard, that is the question. Comments We're revamping our Comments section. Learn more and share your input.