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Diane's Greek Braided Easter Bread

Noted chef and author Diane Kochilas prepares a delicious Greek Easter feast that includes this Greek Easter bread. Mahlepi is a fruity spice available at Greek markets.

  • yield: Makes 2 large loaves

Ingredients

  • 2 active dry yeast
  • 2 cups warm milk
  • 9 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons mahlepi
  • 1/2 cup simmering water, plus 1 Tablespoon water
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled, plus more for bowl and baking sheet
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon grated orange zest
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 4 hard-boiled eggs, dyed red
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds

Directions

  1. Step 1

    In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm milk. Stir in 1 cup flour and 1/2 cup sugar. Cover bowl with plastic wrap, and set aside for 1 hour. Meanwhile, steep mahlepi in 1/2 cup simmering water. Let stand for 5 minutes. Strain, and discard mahlepi. Let cool.

  2. Step 2

    Add mahlepi infusion, butter, and 5 eggs to yeast mixture; combine thoroughly. Add orange and lemon zests. Sift in remaining 8 cups flour, remaining 1 cup sugar, and salt; stir with a wooden spoon until dough forms. Knead dough in bowl until smooth, about 10 minutes. Form dough into a ball, and transfer to a lightly buttered bowl. Cover, and let rise for 2 hours.

  3. Step 3

    Punch dough down, and transfer to a lightly floured surface. Divide dough into six equal pieces. Roll each piece of dough into a rope, about 15 inches long. Tightly braid 3 ropes together, beginning in the middle. Repeat with remaining 3 ropes. Tuck a red-dyed egg into the first and last plaits, using a small piece of coiled dough to hold each egg in place if necessary. Place each loaf on a buttered baking sheet, cover loosely with plastic wrap, and set aside to rise for 1 hour.

  4. Step 4

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Beat remaining egg with 1 tablespoon water. Brush bread with egg wash, and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Transfer to oven, and bake until golden, 50 to 60 minutes.

Source
Martha Stewart Living Television, April 1998

Reviews (1)

  • 16 Apr, 2013

    Just did a test run of two tsoureki recipes to decide which to bake for Easter. This one is the best I've ever had. Moister than most, it's the clear winner Thank you so much. Now, if you could just get Diane to give us the perfect koulourakia recipe, i'd be all set.