(c) A Marcy Goldman, BetterBaking.Com Original Recipe
Greek Easter Bread
This recipe from a friend who recommends baking and serving the bread the same day. Her tip for the dyed red eggs: after they are dyed deep red, polish them with a little olive oil to make them shine, before placing them in the unbaked bread loaf.
2 tablespoons instant yeast
1/4 cup warm water
3/4 cup warm milk
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon lemon zest, (finely minced)
1/2 teaspoon anise extract
5-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
5 hard-cooked eggs, dyed scarlet red
Egg wash glaze
Sesame seeds for sprinkling
In a large mixer bowl, whisk together warm water and yeast. Let stand a few minutes, then stir in milk, butter, eggs, salt, lemon peel, and anise extract. Stir in most of flour and knead lightly until you have soft dough, about 7-10 minutes. Shape into a ball. Place in a greased bowl. Cover and let rise until almost doubled in size. Punch down. Turn out onto a floured board and knead lightly. Cut off 1/16th of the dough to use for decoration.
Shape the remaining dough into a large round loaf, about 10 inches in diameter. Place on a greased baking sheet. Place one dyed egg in the centre of the dough. Lay the other four around the edge, forming tips of the cross. Roll remaining dough into pencil-thin strips. Place a cross on top of each egg with the strips, pressing the end of the strips into the bread to secure the eggs. Spray bread with non-stick cooking spray and cover with plastic wrap.
Let rise until doubled in size. Brush with slightly beaten egg white. Sprinkle generously with sesame seeds. Preheat oven to 325 F.
Bake 50-55 minutes, or until the loaf sounds hollow when thumped. Serve hot or let cool on wire rack.
Makes 1 large loaf.
© This is a Marcy Goldman/BetterBaking.com original recipe
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