Sweet Bread: Lambropsomo (Greek Easter Bread)

posted by Lisa UK 04-23-100 1:17 AM

Lambropsomo (Greek Easter Bread)

2 Tbs. (2 packets, 30 ml.) active dry yeast
1/2 cup (125 ml.) warm water
1 cup (250 ml.) warm milk
1/2 cup (125 ml.) melted butter
2 tsp. (10 ml.) coarse salt or 1 tsp. (5 ml.) table salt
2 tsp. (10 ml.) anise seed, crushed
3 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup (125 ml.) sugar
1 Tbs. (15 ml.) grated orange rind
About 6 cups (1.5 L.) white flour, preferably unbleached
2-5 hard boiled eggs, dyed red

For the glaze:
Soft butter
Sesame seeds (optional)

In a large bowl mix yeast with warm water, then stir in milk, butter and salt. Add the anise seed, the beaten eggs, the sugar, and grated orange peel. Keep stirring while adding the flour. When the mixture
is stiff, turn out on a floured surface and knead about 10 minutes, until smooth and satiny.

Clean the bowl and grease it well. Put the dough in the bowl, and turn so all surfaces are oiled; cover with
plastic and let rise about 2 hours, until doubled. Punch the dough down, knead briefly and divide in half to make the two different shapes (or make two loaves of the same shape if you prefer).

To make a round loaf with a cross with one half of the dough, first tear off a piece of dough, about one-fifth the whole amount. Form the larger piece into a round and put it on a greased baking sheet. Center one
red egg on the top of the round.

Divide the reserved piece in half and roll out 2 long strips. Place these over the egg in the form of a cross, tucking the ends under the loaf.

To make a braided crown with the other half, divide the dough in thirds and roll out into ropes at least 2 feet (60 cm) long. Braid the ropes together, pinching the ends securely and then form into a circle on a greased baking sheet, pinching again the ends where they overlap.

Nestle 4 red eggs in among the braids. Cover both loaves with a kitchen towel and let rise 1 hour. Bake in a preheated 350F (180C) oven for 30 minutes. Remove and brush immediately with butter, then sprinkle on optional sesame seeds. Makes 2 round loaves.

Note:Lambropsomo, the traditional Greek Easter bread, may or may not incorporate eggs that have been hard boiled and dyed red; usually one egg is centered in a round leaf with a cross formed over it, or four
red eggs will be nestled into a braided loaf. This recipe calls for one loaf of each of these shapes. In some households the same bread without the red egg decoration is baked and served on Sunday
throughout the year.

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