Colomba (Italian Easter cake): Adriano’s recipe


After 2 days of hard work and high stress level, the so acclaimed Easter colomba is, finally, ready :)

As for panettone, I relied on Adriano’s recipe, which is available on his blog, Profumo di Lievito. Also in this case, I preferred the version with regular yeast, while the traditional version wants natural yeast. By the way, if you love baking, Adriano’s blog is the right place to be: it is full of traditional recipes, detailed explanations and techniques.  

I report below Adriano’s recipe with my modifications and observations.


Easter colomba (Adriano’s recipe, with my modifications)

(Doses: for 3 cakes about 1 Kg each)

  • 1100 g of strong flour (about 15% di proteine)*
  • 420 g of water
  • 400 g of sugar
  • 450 g of butter
  • 8 g of dried yeast
  • 130 g of honey (pick a mild-flavored one)
  • 8 egg yolks
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 12 g of salt
  • 50 g of white chocolate
  • 25 g of milk
  • 20 g of milk in powder
  • 2 oranges’ grated peel
  • 1 tea spoon of vanilla extract
  • 300 g of candied orange peel

For the glazing

  • 210 g of albumes (about 8 albumens)
  • 230 g of almond flour
  • 300 g of sugar
  • 60 g of corn starch
  • A few drops of almond extract
  • A tea spoon of cocoa
  • Almond for decorating

*I corrected my all-purpose, with the gluten flours. Here the trick: 1068 Kg of all-purpose and 32 g of gluten flour.

Day 1: preparation of the yeasts

Around noon, start preparing the first yeast (biga). Dissolve 1 g of dried yeast in 70 g of lukewarm water, add 150 g of flour and knead. Biga tends to stay dry, do not overwork the dough. Place biga in a bowl, covered with some film paper, and let it rest around 18°C.

Around 8 pm, prepare the poolish. Dissolve 3 g of dried yeast in 150 g of lukewarm water. Add 75 g of flour and the grated peel of one orange. Transfer the poolish in a sealed container and let it rest in the fridge till the following day.

Day 2: preparation of the dough and baking

Dough 1 (8:00 am)

Take the poolish out of the fridge.

Prepare the third yeast. Dissolve 4 g of dry yeast in 30 g of lukewarm water. Add 30 g of flour and let it rest for 30 min around 20 ˚C, covered with some film paper.

Put yeast number 3 in the kneading machine and add 200 g of water, 150 g of sugar and 200 g of flour. Knead at minimum speed with the leaf-shaped hook. Add the polish, 100 g of flour and the biga. Let the dough wrapping around the leaf-shaped hook. Set the regular hook and knead the dough till it wraps around the hook. The dough is very mushy in this stage and it might take a while to get firm. If the dough doesn’t wrap around the hook, put it, together with the bowl and the hooks, in the fridge for 10-15 min. After this time, take the dough back and knead it with the leaf-shaped hook. As soon as it wraps around the hook, stop and place everything back in the fridge for other 10-15 min. Remove the dough and knead it with the regular hook till it wraps around it.

From now on, you will just use the regular hook. Prepare 1 whole egg, 4 egg yolks, 150 g of sugar and 320 g of flour. Add them to the dough as follows: first, 1 egg and 50 g of sugar. As soon as they get absorbed into the dough and you notice the formation of sticky treads, add a couple of table spoons of flour. Knead at speed 2 (if you use the Kitchen Aid). The dough must get firm. Start over, by adding a yolk, 50 g of sugar and the flour. Keep going till all the ingredients are finished. It is important to get a firm dough that wraps around the hook, at this stage.

Add 300 g of soft butter and let it absorb into the dough. Knead the dough till it gets firm and wraps around the hook. Cover the bowl with some film paper and let it leaven around 34-35°C, till it triplicates (it took 2.5h, in my case).

Dough 2 (afternoon)

Melt the white chocolate with the salt, the liquid milk and the powder milk in a bain-marie (I have used the microwave :P). Add the grated peel of an orange to the remaining sugar.

Take the dough and knead it at low speed, till it gets firm. Add the remaining yolks and sugar+orange peel, the honey and the remaining flour, as in the case of dough 1. Slowly add the white chocolate cream and, finally, the vanilla extract. Knead till the dough is firm and wraps around the hook. If you can’t get it right, follow the tips given for dough 1.

Add the remaining butter and let it absorb into the dough. Add, finally, the candied orange peels slightly floured. Cover with film paper and let it leaven for 1h. 

After this time, split the dough into 9 pieces (6 small and 3 big) and fold them as explained by Adriano. I recommend you flour your hand and the surface where you work, during this step. Place the pieces into 3 molds of 1 Kg each. Cover them with film paper and let them leaven around 34-35°C, until the dough reaches almost the edge of the mold (it took 4h, in my case).


Mix all the ingredients, till you obtain a smooth glazing. Transfer it in a sac à poche and use it to glaze the surface of the three colombe. Decorate with some almonds.


Bake the colombe at 180 ˚C. Adriano recommends for 40 min, but it took about an hour, in my case. Do not open the oven when the colombe are not yet done: the dough might collapse :P If the cakes are well-baked, there is no need to skewer them and let them cool down upside down.

So, what do you think? Are you going to try this recipe? ;)