Go Back Email Link
+ servings
Gluten-Free Colomba Pasquale Easter Dove Bread recipe
Print Recipe
4.75 from 12 votes

Gluten-Free Colomba Pasquale Recipe

While Italy offers many traditional Easter breads, the best-known by far is Colomba Pasquale, or Easter dove bread.
Prep Time25 minutes
Cook Time35 minutes
Resting Time12 hours
Course: Breakfast, Dessert
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: gluten-free baking, gluten-free bread, Italian
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 366kcal
Author: K.C. Cornwell


  • baking sheet
  • dove bread paper baking mold, optional


Biga (overnight starter)

  • 1 cup Gluten-Free Flour Blend (about 140g) blends including bean flours not recommended
  • cup cool water (152g) or more
  • teaspoon high quality instant yeast


  • 2 ¼ cups Gluten-Free Flour Blend (about 315g)
  • 1 ¼ teaspoons sea salt
  • 1 ½ tablespoons high quality instant yeast
  • cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon xanthan gum or gum-free baking binder omit if your blend already contains binder
  • 4 tablespoons butter at room temperature
  • 2 large eggs + 1 large egg yolk white reserved for topping; room temperature preferred
  • teaspoon Fiori di Sicilia or 2 teaspoons vanilla extract +⅛ teaspoon orange oil
  • grated rind of 1 large orange
  • ½ cup dried apricots chopped
  • ½ cup prunes chopped


  • 1 large egg white reserved from dough
  • 3 tablespoons almond flour or hazelnut flour or 3 tablespoons blanched almonds, finely ground
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons sliced almonds or chopped hazelnuts
  • 5 to 6 teaspoons tablespoons coarse white sugar or pearl sugar


  • The night before you want to make the bread, mix together the gluten-free Biga (overnight starter) ingredients. Cover the bowl, and leave it at room temperature for up to 15 hours or so.
    It should look fully hydrated, bit a "scraggy" or gloppy - not fully wet like sourdough starter.
    gluten-free Biga
  • Next day, combine the bubbly starter with all of the remaining dough ingredients except the grated orange rind and the fruit in the bowl of a stand mixer or in a large bowl. Using a paddle attachment on the mixer or a hand-mixer, combine the ingredients fully.
    Then switch to the dough hook, and knead for about 12 minutes at medium speed, stopping the mixer every 3 minutes to scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl. By the end of the kneading time, the dough should have become elastic and satiny. It should be starting to leave the bottom and sides of the bowl, though it won’t form a smooth ball.
  • Knead in the grated orange rind, apricots and prunes.
  • Cover the bowl, and let the dough rise for 2 hours (3 hours if you’re not using SAF Gold yeast). It should have become quite puffy.
  • Divide the dough in two pieces, with one slightly larger than the other. Shape one into a 10″ log, with one tapered end; and the other into a 7″ log.
  • Place the longest log lengthwise on a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet; use the edge of your hand to form a crease in the center. Lay the shorter log crosswise across it, right at the crease. Shape the shorter log into “wings” by pulling it into a crescent shape. (We know, this doesn’t really look too awfully much like a dove; think of it as a symbolic representation!)
    Or, purchase a Colomba paper mold at a baking supply store, and place the dough evenly inside.
  • Cover the shaped loaf with a cover or lightly greased plastic wrap, and set it aside to rise until it’s puffy; this will take about 1 to 2 hours, depending on what type of yeast you’ve used.
    Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 375°F.
  • Make the topping by mixing the egg white, ground almonds, and sugar. Gently paint this glaze all over the loaf; be generous. Sprinkle with the sliced almonds, then the pearl or coarse sugar.
  • Bake the loaf for 15 minutes, then reduce the oven heat to 350°F and bake for an additional 20 minutes, tenting it for the final 10 minutes of baking. The finished loaf will be golden brown, and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center will register 190°F.
  • Remove the bread from the oven, and carefully slide it onto a rack to cool.
  • Serve in thin slices.
    Gluten-Free Colomba Pasquale Easter Dove Bread recipe


Store at room temperature.


Calories: 366kcal | Carbohydrates: 63g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 56mg | Sodium: 436mg | Potassium: 225mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 24g | Vitamin A: 612IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 65mg | Iron: 3mg