Easy Italian Colomba

3/4 cup almond milk (or any milk of your choice)
1/2 cup (120 gr.) butter (I used half coconut oil)
1/3-1/2 cup honey
1 scant tsp. salt
2 well beaten eggs.
4 cups (460 gr.) good all purpose flour
1 pkg. dry yeast dissolved in 1/4 cup warm water
grated rind of 1 organic lemon
1/4 cup dried cranberries, raisins (or traditionally – chopped candied orange peel)
1/2 cup whole peeled almonds
1 beaten egg for brushing

1. Melt butter and add salt and honey. Stir until dissolved. Cool slightly.
2. Mix in the prepared yeast (should be bubbling or foaming).
3. Mix in the milk and grated lemon rind as well as the beaten eggs.
4. Now gradually mix in the flour (dough hooks or food processor helpful) to form a soft but not too sticky dough.
5. Knead with machine or by hand until dough comes off the sides of the bowl.
6. Cover with a piece of parchment paper and a light dish towel. Let rise for about an hour until doubled.
7. Punch down dough. Pull into a long rope. Flatten and sprinkle in the dried fruit. Roll shut.
8. Form “colomba” shape by placing pieces crosswise into the buttered paper liners. This quantity makes one large colomba or a medium plus small one. Cover as before and let rise until dough rises over the top of the pans, almost doubled.
9. When risen brush the tops with the beaten egg and cover with the whole almonds. Bake in a preheated 180deg C (375deg F) oven for 25-35 minutes or until golden. Cool and serve. Best the day after.

Brush tops of risen Colomba with beaten egg

Fresh from the oven

Slice and serve with a dusting of powdered sugar if desired.