Greek Easter Bread - News, Weather and Classifieds for Southern New England

Greek Easter Bread

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Makes 1 loaf

Ingredients:

3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon whole milk

1/4-ounce packet active dry yeast

4 cups all purpose flour, plus more for dusting

2/3 cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon fine salt

1 teaspoon ground mahlepi (optional)

1/4 teaspoon pounded mastic crystals (optional)

8 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 large eggs

1 1/2 teaspoons orange zest

1 large egg yolk

1/3 cup sliced almonds, toasted

Method of Preparation:

  1. In a small saucepan, bring 3/4 cup of the milk to a simmer. Transfer the warm milk to a large bowl and sprinkle the yeast on top. Set aside for 10 minutes to activate the yeast.
  2. Sift flour, sugar, salt, mahlepi, and mastic together into a large bowl; set aside. Melt 7 tablespoons of the butter. Let the butter cool and add into the flour along with the milk mixture. Add eggs and orange zest. Using a spoon, stir the flour until well combined. Turn the dough onto a floured work surface and knead until smooth about 10 minutes.
  3. Place dough in a bowl coated with the remaining butter, cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 2 hours.
  4. Remove dough from bowl and divide into 3 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a 16-inch rope. Pinch all 3 pieces together on one end to secure, then braid the ropes. Pinch the other end of the ropes together to secure the braid. Set the braided dough on the prepared baking sheet cover with plastic and let sit until doubled in size, about 1 hour. Meanwhile, heat the oven to and arrange a rack in the middle.
  5. Brush the bread with egg wash and sprinkle with almonds. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Let cool before serving.
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