This traditional Italian dove bread for Easter is made in many homes and exchanged before Easter in Italy. Colomba di Pasqua literally translates to “Easter Dove”.


  • 180mL warm water (about 43°C)

  • 4 large egg yolks

  • 2 tsp vanilla

  • ½ cup sugar

  • 1 tsp each of lemon and orange rind (preferably from organic fruit)

  • ½ tsp salt

  • ½ cup good quality unsalted butter, softened and cut into pieces

  • 3¼ cups  organic, unbleached flour (bread flour is best, but all purpose or plain works too)

  • 1 pkg dry yeast (preferably for bread machines, but any type will work-I used regular)


  • 1 egg white

  • 1 tsp corn starch

  • 1/4 cup (ground almonds)

  • 1/3 cup sugar

  • Belgian pearl sugar and/or Swedish pearl sugar

  • whole almonds


  1. Place the water, egg yolks, vanilla, and grated peel into the bread machine first. Next add the sugar, salt, flour and pieces of butter around the outside of the metal pan on top of the flour (see photo below). Make an indentation in the flour and add the yeast. Start the bread machine on “dough” setting.

  2. When the machine beeps to add additional ingredients to the dough, toss in the sultanas and raisins, and allow the cycle to finish. Keep an eye on the dough after it’s finished and allow to rise until doubled in size.

  3. To make the mold. Cut pieces of aluminum foil and fold them over and over to make a long strip (see photo in post). Join them together with metal paper clips and shape into a "dove" shape. I didn't have heavy duty aluminum foil, but this type would be best as it holds it's shape better.

  4. Once the dough has doubled in size, punch it down and knead into a ball then cut 1/3 of the dough off and shape into a log. Shape the larger piece into a larger log.

  5. The larger piece will go lengthwise into the mold and be the body of the dove, while the smaller piece will go across the top and become the wings. Place the dove shaped dough into the oven (with the oven off) and allow to rise until at least doubled (probably 2 to 3 hours).

  6. When the bread has finished rising, remove it from the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F/175°C.

  7. Beat the egg white, corn starch, almond meal, and regular sugar with a fork in a small bowl until well combined. I used almond meal which has the peel in it and it still looks fine when baked. Brush this over the top of the dove bread.

  8. Next, scatter the Belgian and/or Swedish pearl sugar over the top, and dot with whole almonds.

  9. Bake for 30 minutes, then reduce heat to 325°F/160°C and continue to bake until a long, thin skewer comes out clean (about another half an hour). If the top browns too quickly, cover with aluminum foil. Remove from oven and allow to cool on the tray for about 15 minutes.

  10. Remove the aluminum foil after the bread has cooled.