Colomba di Pasqua con Pasta Madre – Easter Dove with Sourdough




After having experimented with sourdough for about one year and produced many kind of breads, I decided to try to prepare this Italian traditional recipe.

I prepared this my first “Colomba” a few year ago using commercial dough, the result was great, but now I found it is time to try another recipe and make the “Colomba” as the tradition says: with sourdough.

It’s not a quick recipe, it’s a long procedure, but I’m sure that if your yeast is active enough the result will be not only great since excellent.


I worked with a kneading machine at low speed.

Colomba di Pasqua con Pasta Madre – Easter Dove with Sourdough

  • Servings: 12-20
  • Difficulty: high
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You need

First rising

  • 100 g sourdough starter
  • 90 g water
  • 50 g flour (Manitoba)

Second rising

  • 70 g sugar
  • 20 g honey
  • 3 g egg yolks
  • 240 g flour (Manitoba)
  • 70 g butter, soft not from fridge

Third rising

  • 60-130 g sugar (depends on how sweet you like it, we go for 130 g)
  • 20 g water
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 90 g flour (Manitoba)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 50 g butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest, grated
  • 130 g candied orange zest, diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 100 g almond paste


  • 100 g almond ground
  • 100 g powdered sugar
  • 1 pinch vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs, white
  • 50 g almonds, whole with skin
  • 50 g sugar granulated
  • 1 tablespoon powdered sugar to serve, optional


First rising

  1. Combine well the starter with the water flour. Let sit for about 4 hours or overnight covered at room temperature to rise until very spongy and active.

Second rising

  1. Place the refreshed starter into a kneading machine, add sugar, honey, half of the yolks and work well.
  2. Now add the flour and work well again until smooth.
  3. Add butter and work until adsorbed. This takes about 30 minutes.
  4. Form a ball, cover and let rest until doubled. This can take 8-12 hours. Note: you can keep it in the kneading machine, don’t forget to cover it with a foil.

Third rising


  1. Take the dough and combine it with sugar, water and 2 yolks.
  2. Add flour and work until this is not sticky any more.
  3. Incorporate the rest of the third yolk, salt, melted butter, vanilla, grated zest, candied zest and almond paste. This can take about 45 minutes.
  4. Let rise (covered and in warm place) about 8 hours or overnight.

Shaping and final rising

  1. Knead well again.
  2. Now shape the dove forming one long piece (shape as for baguettes giving strengths to the walls) in the middle and two pieces on the sides (see photo added). Place in your mold. I don’t have a dove shaped mold, so I created one myself.
  3. Let rise (in warm place) about 6 hours or until doubled.
  4. Preheat the oven at 200°C.
  5. For the glaze mix together almond ground, powdered sugar and vanilla. Add the egg white one by one, but stop before it gets to liquid. Glaze gently the dove with this thick mix (take care not to degas the dough) and spread on the whole almonds and the granulated sugar.
  6. Bake 10 minutes at 200°C, reduce the heat at 180°C, protect the glaze with some baking paper and bake for 30 minutes more.
  7. Let cool down and wrap with foil until needed (this holds 2-3 days). If you like dust with powdered sugar before serving.

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10 thoughts on “Colomba di Pasqua con Pasta Madre – Easter Dove with Sourdough

    • Yes, thanks a lot, it was very tasty! I also noticed that the well wrapped “leftovers” where even better a few days later as the smell of the orange zest infused the whole “dove”.

  1. oh goodness me…you shouldn’t have commented on my blog! Now i will get fat again! Did you know that I also make sourdough? This recipe looks amazing and might well be our Easter cake this year!

    • Hi sourdough friend! I love sourdough and I’m very happy with it! This recipe will require a lot of time, but we really love it! Please don’t forget to use very active sourdough as for this recipe this is really necessary! This makes a huge portion, but the leftovers where even better after storing them well wrapped for 2 days. I wish you good luck and thanks for visiting my blog!

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