Chroniá Pollá! – Easter Blessings

Greek foods and traditions mark the Easter season as uniquely Hellenic.  Wonderful foods and celebrations are such an intricate part of Greek heritage, and Easter especially to those of the Greek orthodox faith can celebrate this joy with all friends and family. Why not add some Greek Easter into your home this year.

Here is a recipe I found for traditional Greek Easter bread.

 

Tsoureki – Greek Easter Bread
Number of Servings: 10-12
Prep and cooking time approx 5 hours
Ingredients: 1 cup of milk
1/2 cup butter
package dry yeast
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon Salt
2 eggs, beaten
4 tablespoons orange juice
1 tablespoon grated orange rind
2 teaspoons ground anise seed or 1 tablespoon mahlepi
5 1/2 cups flour
Red-dyed Easter eggsGlaze:
1/4 cup Slivered almonds
2 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons orange juice
Instructions: 1. In a small saucepan, combine the milk and butter over medium heat.
2. Stir until butter melts, then pour into a large mixing bowl.
3. Allow to cool until just warm, then add yeast and sugar, mixing well.
4. Add the salt, eggs, 3 tablespoons orange juice, orange rind, anise seed or mahlepi.
5. Sprinkle in the flour, stirring constantly, until the mixture is moist, but not stiff.
6. Turn out onto a lightly floured board and knead well for about 10-15 minutes.
7. Place dough in a grease bowl and brush the dough with melted butter.
8. Cover bowl and place for a few hours until dough is doubled in bulk.
9 Punch the dough down and divide into 2 loaves. Divide each loaf into 3 parts and roll each into a long rope about 10″ x 2″. Braid the three ropes together; pinch to seal the ends if leaving long, or join together to form a long round loaf. “Nest” the Easter eggs in the center of the dough.
10. Repeat with the other half of the dough to make a second tsoureki.
11. Place loaves on a cookie sheet, cover, and let rise another hour until doubled in bulk
12. To prepare the glaze, mix orange juice, sugar, and slivered almonds in a small bowl.
13. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and bake loaves for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and brush with prepared glaze.
14. Return to oven and bake for another 20 minutes until golden brown.

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