Easter cheese bread is a typical Italian Easter recipe that comes from central Italy. Common in Umbria and Marche, it is also know as Pizza di Pasqua or Crescia . Tradition traces the origin of the recipe to the Monastery of Santa Maria Maddalena in Serra de ‘Conti (AN), where there are documentary traces dating back to 1848.
The name “Crescia” is due to the strong increase in volume of the dough which, thanks to the leavening, swells (it.=“cresce”) even more than twice its original mass.
Easter cheese bread is a kind of bread made with eggs and cheese which is often served as antipasto with cold cuts and hard-boiled eggs all over central Italy, particularly for Pasquetta (Easter Monday) when Italians head out of the cities to enjoy picnics with family and friends.
Easter cheese bread has the same shape of a panettone, but it is salty and has a much more spongy consistency.
How to Make Easter Cheese Bread
Doses for a 20 cm (8-inch) springform pan
- 5 medium eggs
- 500 g (1,1 lb) of flour
- 120 g (4 oz) of grated Parmigiano Reggiano
- 80 g (2,8 oz) of grated Pecorino Romano cheese
- 50 g (1,7 oz) of brewer’s yeast
- 100 ml of milk
- 100 g (3,5 oz) of extra virgin olive oil
- Planty of ground black pepper
- About 15 g (0,5 oz) of fine salt
For cooking it’s necessary to have a narrow pan with very high edges that can go into the oven, or you can also use a panettone mold.
Well, now let’s start making Easter cheese bread!
Step 1) – Well, now let’s start making Easter cheese bread. So get ready with the ingredients. Put the eggs in a bowl and beat them until they are creamy.
Step 2) – Add the grated cheeses and mix with a whisk till you have a homogeneous cream. Then add plenty of gound black pepper and a pinch of salt
Step 3) – Now dissolve the brewer’s yeast in the warm milk. Then add it to the cream of eggs and cheeses and mix.
Step 4) – In this step, add the flour little by little, until it is completely incorporated. Then add the oil.
Step 5) – Knead the dough for several minutes until the dough is homogeneous and rather smooth. Now grease with a little oil a high baking pan with a diameter of about 18/20 cm. Then place the dough inside and put in the oven that is turned off. Close the oven and let it rise for about 3 hours. IMPORTANT: don’t open the oven during this time as the temperature change could cause the dough to deflate.
Step 6) – When the dough has doubled its volume, without opening the oven, turn on at 180° C (350 F) and let it cook for 45 minutes. At the end of this time, lower the temperature to 150° C (300 F) and let it continue cooking for another 15 minutes. Leave to cool in the oven with the door slightly open. Enjoy your Easter cheese bread with cold cuts and good Italian red wine.