Greek Easter Bread is simple, yet stunning. It is sure to be a highlight for any Easter brunch or feast.
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.