Fuasa—Italian Easter Bread

We have many food traditions in our house, but the one that reigns supreme is my Nona’s fuasa recipe.  My nona, Madeline Zanocco (the woman in the photograph on the left), emigrated to the United States from Vicenza, Italy.  She had five children, the forth of which was my grandfather.  My grandpa, Angelo Zanocco, decided to take on the role of rebel child in the family because he was only one of Madeline’s five children to marry a non-Italian.  This is why I always chuckle when I think about the fact that it was my German grandmother, Adeline (in the photograph below), who taught me to bake her fuasa recipe, and thus carry on the family tradition of making Italian Easter Bread every spring 🙂

I have been making (and eating) fuasa on Easter Sunday from as far back as I can remember.  The sweet crunchy goodness of the bread is synonymous in my mind with the holiday celebration.  Now that both Nona and my grandmother Addie have both passed on, I have made a point of continuing with the fuasa tradition each Easter.  I have made fuasa with my girls from the first year of their lives (My oldest can be seen in the picture below from 2007, making fuasa for the first time when she was only six months old.), because I find so much value in passing on our family food culture to the next generation.

And when I say I will make fuasa each year without fail, I always think of the year when I decided to triple the fuasa recipe (that means I was making 15 loaves of bread), and my oven broke.  I frantically called around to our friends in the area, but all were already away for the holiday weekend.  So, I packed up by 15 loaves of dough, my hubby, and my 18 month old and drove to Illinois State University where my sister was attending college.  From there I went to her friend’s apartment to bake.  Yes, I was baking 15 loaves of bread, with a toddler, in a college kid’s apartment…while he was having a party!  I’m not sure I was their favorite person that night 🙂  But the fuasa got done none the less.

It has been so fun to see the girls take on more of an active role in the baking of the fuasa each year.  It is truly my hope that they continue this tradition and pass it on to their little ones some day.

Nona’s Fuasa Recipe

2 yeast packets

2 cups milk (scalded then cooled)

1 1/2 cups sugar

2 teaspoons salt

8 egg yolks (save the whites to use on the tops of the loaves before baking)

1 1/2 sticks butter (melted)

9 cups flour

2 teaspoons vanilla

1 teaspoon almond extract

Stir yeast into warm milk.  Set aside.  Beat egg yolks, add sugar, salt and flavoring.  Then add the melted butter.  Next add the flour and milk mixture, alternating between each.  Beat until smooth.  Place on floured board and knead.  Place in a large bowl, butter the top of the dough, cover with a damp towel and let rise until double in size.  Knead dough again.  Divide into five pieces, roll out and knot.  Place in greased pans, butter the top of the dough, cover with a damp towel and let rise until double in size.

Beat the egg whites.  Baste the top of each loaf with egg whites, then sprinkle with sugar.  Bake each loaf for 20 minutes at 350 degrees and 15 minutes at 250 degrees.  Enjoy!

I wish each of you a very blessed Easter weekend!

19 thoughts on “Fuasa—Italian Easter Bread

  1. I have read it 3 times already today and cried every time. Thanks for posting this and for caring enough to pass this on. Love, Aunt Linda

  2. My husband’s Easter tradition is making Pizzagaina (Easter Pie). It is lovely that you are continuing a family tradition of making the Italian Easter Bread.

  3. My nona, Noemi Meneguzzo was from the Vincenza area of Italy too. She always made Fuassa at Easter. I thought I’d never find a recipe for it. THANKS A MILLION!!!

  4. I have made this for years as well. My nona used rum and lemon in hers for flavoring. I was a very young chid, but I remember that smell, every year.

  5. Hello!
    This is my Nonie’s recipe!!! I have had yearnings for the bread that my Nonie used to make-I just googled “Fuasa” bread tonight to see if I was even spelling it right. I can’t believe my eyes!

    I am Alison- Mary Helen’s (Charles Zanocco) daughter. Thank you for passing this on!

  6. Jaime, my niece just found this blog with the fuassa recipe. I have similar childhood memories. Thank you for passing the recipe on. Sueann Smith, Bernice and Charlie Zanocco’s daughter.

  7. The man in the picture above was a past president of the Venetian Club of Rockford. Am I mistaken? My grandfather, Pete Dal Pra was also a past President of the club. His wife, Clara Dal Pra, made fuasa every year as well as ‘bunnies’ which were small rolls that were shaped like bunnies. I have multiple versions of her fuasa recipe which are all similar to yours!
    If any of this is making sense, what a small world we live in!!

    • What an incredibly small world! Yes, I believe you are correct. And I also know that a Dal Pro couple were the best man and maid of honor in my grandparents’ (Angelo and Addy Zanocco) wedding.

  8. Thank you for posting this recipe. My Nona was from Silvano and she made fuasa for me every year. Unfortunately when she passed she took her recipe with her. I can’t wait to try your recipe and relive those happy childhood days at Nona’s house.

  9. My French grandmother made what she called fuasa. Sugar, butter, chopped walnuts, eggs, salt, vanilla, baking powder. Shape it like a wreath, brush with egg whites, sprinkle sugar on it. It’s a heavy sweet bread. Have you ever heard of it?

  10. Hi. I believe your grandma is my Nono Sola’s sister. I always only knew her by Zia Zanacco. I remember her when I was a little girl and we used to go visit her. I am the daughter of Gene and Fran. Sola. I am going to try and make this recipe this Easter. I used to remember going to my Nono.Sola’s on Sunday morning and eating this. Brings back many good memories

  11. My father ‘s family was Venetian. His sisters, my aunts, made an Easter bread they called, fuatha. Must be the same as this fuasa. My mothers’s family was Napoletan. They also made an Easter bread. My maternal grandmother, Lucia Rinaldi, and my mom would make the Napoletan version of Easter bread . As kids, my brothers and I always preferred the fuatha bread. Finally in her senior years my mom got the fuatha recipe from my aunts and she began making that every Easter. I do have the fuatha recipe from my aunts. It is very similar to this one posted here; ours has orange and lemon extracts and zests. I will be making it next week. The fuatha recipe is also featured in a cookbook called “Cooking with My Sisters” by Adriana Trigiani. Adriana’s grandmother was from the same town in Pennsylvania as my family. Happy Easter everyone!

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