I’ve officially decided that it is straight up summer here in St. George already! I mean it was 82°F today. I think my next recipe may have to be a tasty frozen treat. But, honestly, what is this craziness where I live? Let’s just say being pregnant this summer is going to be a doozy. So if there are any mamas reading this, feel to share any tips you have with me for surviving the summer!
Anyhow, do you remember how Jacob and I traveled to the Middle East this past October? During our adventure we visited Athens and Santorini for a couple of days to experience a small taste of Greek culture! And of course it was amazing! I loved enjoying the culture and history, but naturally my favorite part was the FOOD. I’ve always loved Greek food – gyros, baklava, hummus, dolmades, but there’s nothing better than enjoying the real, authentic thing at the little Greek cafes in Athens and Santorini.
Ever since we came home from the trip, I’ve been dying to share some more Greek recipes with you (hello baklava!) – gyros, hummus, dolmades… I have plans to share each of those dishes with you, but for today I’ve decided to share something special to celebrate Easter this weekend!
The Easter holiday is the perfect excuse to share a traditional Greek Easter Bread. Greek Easter Bread, or Tsoureki, is as beautiful as it is delicious, plus it has some beautiful symbolism behind it. The three-strand braid of the bread symbolizes the Holy Trinity and the red-dyed hard boiled eggs symbolize the blood of Christ.
The simple dough is made up of just a few ingredients, most of which you probably already have on hand in your pantry. And while the braiding may look intimidating, if you know how to braid hair then you can easily braid bread!
I can guarantee that this stunning bread is sure to be the highlight of your Easter brunch or feast this weekend.
Greek Easter Bread is simple, yet stunning. It is sure to be a highlight for any Easter brunch or feast.
- 4 Tbsp unsalted butter softened
- 1 1/2 Tbsp honey
- 2 eggs
- 2 1/4 tsp instant yeast
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp anise seed finely ground
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/3 cup milk warmed
- 4 eggs dyed red
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 Tbsp milk
- sesame seeds
In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter, honey, eggs, yeast, salt, anise seed, and one cup of flour. Beat the mixture for 2 minutes or until well combined. Slowly add in the milk and flour until the ingredients are completely mixed in.
Replace the paddle with the dough hook and knead on low speed for 5 minutes.
Turn the dough out on a clean and floured surface. Knead the dough for 5 minutes, adding additional flour if it gets too sticky to work with.
Place the dough in the bowl and cover with a damp towel. Let rise 3 hours or until doubled in size.
After the dough has doubled in size, punch it down and let rise again for another hour.
Place the dough in a clean and lightly floured surface. Roll the dough out until it is around 3' long, stretching it with your hands as you roll it. Cut the dough into 3 equal pieces, each piece should be about 1' long at this point. Roll each of these pieces until they are each 3' long.
Put the ends of the pieces together and carefully braid the pieces until you reach the end. Take care to leave a little slack and not make the braid too tight.
Slowly lift one end of the braided bread off the counter onto a parchment lined cookie sheet. Follow with the other end, creating a circle as you move it onto the sheet. Pinch the two ends of the braid together and make a depression. This will be one of the spots for an egg.
Make 3 more depressions into the braid for the eggs to be placed. Place the red dyed eggs into each of the depressions you have created, cradling the eggs with the surrounding dough.
Cover the braided bread and let rise for 40 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Whisk together the egg yolk with the milk to create the glaze. Brush the glaze on the dough and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the bread is a light brown.
Adapted from: Spice Roots
You can speed rise the dough by placing it in a warm oven (preheated to the lowest setting and then turned off) with a pan of boiling water placed in the back of the oven.
I don't recommend eating the dyed eggs, in case you were wondering.
Another Easter recipe to try!