Whether you are celebrating Passover or Easter, we’d like to wish you the best in sharing food and good times with friends and family. We’d like to share this sweet bread recipe with you–Enjoy!
In My Kitchen/ Nicholas Tanis
Yields: 1 Large Round Loaf and several smaller loaves
4-5 pounds all-purpose flour, sifted with:
1 Tablespoon salt
4 yeast cakes, dissolved in 1 cup warm water
10 eggs well beaten with:
2 ½ cups sugar
2 cubes butter, melted in:
1 ½ cups milk
1 teaspoon allspice
1 ½ teaspoon anise
3 egg yolks, beaten with:
2-3 drops yellow food color
1/3 cup sesame seeds
5 hardboiled eggs, dyed red
Boil the allspice and the anise in 1 cup water and strain, reserving the water.
Place 4 pounds of the sifted flour and salt in a large mixing bowl (or an enamel basin), and make a well in the center of the flour.
Add the yeast that has been dissolved in the warm water.
Likewise add the eggs with the sugar mix, but do not knead.
Add the melted butter and milk mix, and the reserved liquid from the allspice/anise.
Now mix with your hands to blend all these ingredients thoroughly, slowly adding more sifted flour as may be needed.
Knead the dough until it is smooth.
Place the dough on floured wooden board, and continue to knead until firm and smooth and not sticky.
Brush the dough with some melted butter, then afterwards cover it with a tea towel, and set it in warm place to rise – (the top of the refrigerator) until it doubles in size.
Remove the dough and knead it again.
Once again, brush the dough with some melted butter, cover it, and place it to rise twice its size.
Repeat this process, one more time (three times total).
Place 2/3 of the dough and place into large round pan, about 12-inches in diameter, and 2-inches deep. Make sure the pan is greased.
The remainder of the dough may be used to make individual loaves as gifts, by baking in smaller pans. You may also use the remainder of the dough to decorate the top of the round loaf, by making “S” curl motif border, as well as “X” crosses* and “O” circles around each hardboiled egg.
Place (pressing firmly) one red Easter egg in the center of the dough, and place the other eggs at 12, 3, 6, 9 o’clock (N.S.E.W.) as if making the tips of a Cross.
Cover the pan(s) and let it rise for several hours.
When the dough has risen, gently but generously brush (using small pastry brush) the entire top of the dough with the egg yolk mix, as if painting.
Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.
Sprinkle the entire top of the bread with sesame seeds (as it adheres to the applied egg yolk).
Bake at 350 degrees for 2 hours (until the bread is a nice golden brown, and the dough inside does not stick to a knife (toothpick may be used to test as well). The bread should be somewhat
“soft” and “spongy”, unlike a hard bread.
NOTE: In making the small loaves, you may place an Easter egg in the center of each one and decorate accordingly to its size. Once again, brush with egg yolk, and sprinkle with sesame. Bake these at 350 degrees for about 45-minutes, depending upon the size of your pan.
If you braid the bread into a long loaf instead of placing into a round pan, then it is known as “Tsoureki”. This recipe will yield 3 bread twists. Bake at 350 degrees for about 1-hour.
Remove from oven and allow to cool, before removing it from the pan. In this manner the bread won’t break apart.
Place on a large round dish or a serving platter.
You may decorate the platter surrounding the bread with Easter eggs, and koulourakia* cookies, creating a sunburst effect.
*Stella D’Oro almond biscuits, or “S” breakfast treats, etc. may be substituted, with a sprinkling of mulit-coloured jelly beans.
NOTE: You can give your Easter eggs a nice shiny finish, by taking a ¼ square of paper towel and moisten it with olive oil. Rub each egg, being careful not to slip out of your hands. Then with a clean dry piece of paper towel, re-rub the egg, thus removing the excess oil but maintaining a lustrous sheen. This can be done to the eggs in the bread as well.
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