I seem to have a favourite bread for every season – I love baking different types of breads. Today I found a new favourite – Greek Easter Bread. It’s really delicious! It is a braided, anise flavoured bread topped with sesame seeds, almonds and sugar. It traditionally has two, red-dyed boiled eggs (or 4 dyed quail eggs) pressed into the braided loaf before rising, which would look really pretty… but I didn’t have any red dye, so I didn’t do this bit. I used part wholemeal spelt, part white – you could use all white for a softer bread.
The good thing about sweet breads is they use a lot less sugar than a cake or other sweet desserts, and they’re every bit as satisfying! I’ve only given the Thermomix version of this recipe, as the handmade version was so long and complicated that I didn’t really think anyone would bother!!!
1. Place in Thermomix bowl and grind for 1 minute on speed 9.
– 100g spelt grain
– 2 dried anise pods (or you can 1 tsp ground anise)
2. Place in bowl and grind at speed 9 for 10 seconds:
– 70g Rapadura
3. Add and grind on speed 9 for 10 seconds:
– peel of one orange
4. Add to bowl and heat at 80 degrees, speed 2 for 1.5 minutes:
– 60g butter or oil (macadamia/grapeseed/light olive)
– 1/2 tspn sea salt
5. Add to milk mixture, and mix for 6 seconds on speed 6:
– ground spelt and anise
– 400g white spelt flour
– 1 egg (opt)
– 7g sachet (or 1 Tblspn) instant yeast
6. Turn dial to closed lid and knead on Interval speed for 2 minutes.
7. Place dough in oiled bowl, cover, and leave to rise in warm position for 1 hour, or until well risen. (Or roll it up in a silicon breadmat.)
8. Punch dough down, place back in Thermomix bowl, turn dial to closed lid and knead on interval speed for 1 more minute.
9. Take dough out and divide into 3 equal parts. Roll each portion into 3 equal strands, about 30 cm long. Braid the strands, and fold ends under. Place on oven tray lined with baking paper, brush with combined egg and milk:
– 1 egg, lightly beaten (opt)
– 1 Tblspn rice milk
10. Sprinkle with:
– 2 Tblspns sesame seeds
– 2 Tblspns chopped/slivered almonds
– 2 Tblspns Rapadura
(If using dyed eggs, press them into the braid now.)
11. Place in cold oven with a pan of boiling water underneath, and leave to rise for 20 minutes.
13. Turn oven on to 180 degrees C. It will finish rising and bake at the same time. Bake bread for 30 – 40 minutes, or until cooked. (Cover with a tea towel, and carefully turn over so you can knock underneath – it should sound hollow.) Serve warm slices with butter.
Have a great Easter!