Greek Sunday Bread (Easter)
2 Tablespoons dry or cake yeast
1/4 cup warm water
1/2 teaspoon each: cinnamon, anise seeds, orange peel
1 bay leaf
1/4 teaspoon mahaleb (optional)*
4 grains mastic or 1 ounce ouzo (optl)
1/2 cup water
7 cups all purpose flour, unsifted
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup hot milk
1/4 pound butter or 6 tablespoons oil
1/4 cup sesame seeds
Dissolve yeast in warm water and set aside. Put flavorings in 1/2 cup water in pan and bring to a boil. Set aside to steep and cool. Put flour, sugar, and salt in a large bowl. Heat milk; remove from fire, add butter or oil, and allow to cool slightly.
Make a hole in the middle of flour and mix in eggs, yeast, milk, and flavored water having removed the bay leaf. Use spoon or paddle to push flour from sides into center. Finish by kneading on lightly floured board until dough is smooth, about 20 minutes. Place in an oiled bowl. Cover with towel dampened with hot water and set aside in a warm draft-free place until bulk has doubled, about 4-6 hours.** When doubled, punch down and knead for 5 minutes.
Pinch off two pieces of dough, each the size of a small apple, to make the Byzantine cross. Shape remaining dough into one round loaf or two rectangular loaves and place in greased baking pans. Glaze with egg yolk and decorate top with Byzantine cross (see below). Glaze cross with egg yolk. Set aside to rise once again, about 2 hours. Do not cover with towel. Bake in preheated oven at 350 degrees for 1 hour.
TO MAKE BYZANTINE CROSS: Roll each ball of dough into a long rope, 12" to 16" long. Slit the ends down 5 inches. Coil each slit in opposite directions. On top of loaf, form a cross with the two ropes which meet at the exact center. Do not press flat.
EASTER BREAD (_lambropsomo_) Follow directions for Sunday Bread, adding an extra 1/2 cup sugar. Place a hard- boiled egg dyed red in the center of the loaf before the second rising. Glaze with egg yolk and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake as above.
NOTE: Divide this dough into three parts and roll each part into lengths about 18" and braid them, placing red-dyed, hard-boiled eggs between the braids before baking.
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