This braided, brioche-like bread can be served with butter, or melted chocolate as a dipping sauce. It is common for this to be given as a gift from children to their godparents.
- 21 g (3 sachets) dried yeast
- 185 ml (¾ cup) milk
- 6 eggs
- 2 tbsp honey
- 2 oranges, finely zested
- 2 tsp mahlepi*
- 100 g unsalted butter, roughly chopped, at room temperature, plus extra, to serve
- Greek red egg dye (see Note)
- Melted chocolate, to serve (optional)
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Rising time: 40 minutes + 20 minutes
Combine flour, yeast and a pinch of salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook, and form a well in the centre. Add milk, 2 lightly beaten eggs, the honey, orange zest, mahlepi and 100 ml lukewarm water and mix for 3 minutes or until mixture comes together. Gradually add the butter, mixing for 2 minutes or until a smooth, soft dough forms. Place in a lightly greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm, draught-free place for 40 minutes or until doubled in size.
To make red Easter eggs, follow instructions on the packet of dye to cook and dye 3 eggs, then set aside to cool and dry completely.
Preheat oven to 180°C. Punch down dough and divide into 3 pieces. Roll each piece into a 45 cm log. Press logs together at one end to join. Plait logs, then press ends to seal. Bring two ends together to meet and tuck under to form a wreath. Place on a lined oven tray and set aside for 20 minutes.
Lightly beat the remaining egg with a pinch of salt. Brush bread with the egg wash, then gently push red Easter eggs into wreath and bake for 25 minutes or until wreath is golden and cooked through. Cool on a wire rack. Serve with butter or melted chocolate for dipping, if desired.
• Mahlepi, from Greek delis, is an aromatic, fruity spice made from the ground stones of the St Lucie cherry. Substitute an alternative flavouring such as mastic or cardamom.
• Red egg dye is available (usually around Easter time) from Greek and Italian delis. Instructions and the quantity required vary from brand to brand.
As seen in Feast magazine, Issue 8, pg55.
Photography by Anson Smart.