Since the time of Stonehenge, mankind has looked to the approach of spring as a season for physical and spiritual renewal. Celebration breads have held a prominent place in practically every culture in Europe, dating back to Roman Times.

Today, making these breads still celebrates life springing eternal while carrying on delicious, centuries-old baking traditions.

colomba-pasquale

Italy's Columba Pasquale, or Easter Dove Bread, is a native of Lombardy. Studded with citrus peel or the dried fruits of your choice, gilded with a shiny coat of sugar-nut syrup, then sprinkled with almonds and sparkling sugar, this fresh bread makes delicious toast.

chocolate-swirl-babka Chocolate Babka can be made as a simple loaf; chocolate chips and toasted nuts in the filling give it extra pizzazz.greek-tsourekiGreek Tsoureki is traditionally spiced with mahlab, which has a distinctive cherry/almond flavor. This rich bread can be braided into a circle, or presented as one large loaf. The eggs symbolize rebirth, renewal, and the blood of Christ.

paskaPaska is a crustless cheesecake in Russia; but in many Eastern European countries, it's a tender, milk- and egg-enriched bread with lovely decorations evoking Easter symbols.

ham-sandwichIt also makes a mean ham sandwich.

Last but not least, my favorite Easter Bread is actually a bun.

hot-cross-bunsEasy Hot Cross Buns – tender, shiny, a little sweet with nuggets of fruit – make early spring mornings or afternoon teatime that much more special.

This time of renewal, light, and hope is something to celebrate in our kitchens, which is why we gathered all these recipes together in our premiere issue of Sift. Live. Breathe. Bake.

Filed Under: Recipes
Susan Reid
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About Susan Reid

Chef Susan Reid grew up in New Jersey, graduated from Bates College and the Culinary Institute of America, and is presently the Food Editor of Sift magazine. She does demos, appearances, and answers food (and baking) questions from all quarters.

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