Greek Easter Bread (Lambrokouloures) with Variations





5 to 6 cups unbleached all purpose flour
2 pkg. (5-1/2) active dry yeast
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. grated lemon zest
1 tsp. freshly ground cardamom
1 tsp. salt
1 cup milk
3/4 cup unsalted butter, cut into pieces
3 lg. eggs, beaten

Glaze, Finish and Garnish

1 lg. egg, beaten with 1 tbsp. milk
1 to 6 colored uncooked eggs (see Easter Bread Rings, below)
Sliced, blanched almonds, for sprinkling (optional)
Sesame seeds, for sprinkling (optional)


Wash the RAW eggs in soapy water, rinse them, dry, and put them into a bowl of warm water with food color and about 1 teaspoon of white vinegar added. When the eggs have tinted to the depth of color, take them out of the liquid, place them on paper towels, and let them air dry. When the bread is baked, the eggs become hard cooked. There are three pretty wreath shapes here that you can make from this dough, one that is braided, one that is curled, and one that is twisted. Use any one of these shapes that you like.

In a large bowl, or in the food processor with the dough blade in place, combine 3 cups of the flour with the yeast, sugar, lemon zest, cardamom, and salt. Mix until blended. Heat the milk to boiling in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Remove from heat and add the butter and stir until the butter is melted and milk is cooled to 130 F. Pour the milk mixture and the 3 eggs over the flour mixture. Stir with a wooden spoon, beat with the paddle or dough hook of a mixer, or process until dough is smooth and satiny but still rather soft and sticky. Add remaining flour to make a soft dough. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight.

Punch down the dough. Shape, glaze, and decorate as directed for one of the three Easter Bread rings, below.

Preheat the oven to 400 F.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until golden. Cool on a wire rack. Makes 1 large loaf, 20 to 24 servings.


Divide the dough in half. Roll each piece out to make a rope 24 inches long. Twist the ropes together and place on a greased baking sheet, curving them into a ring. Join the ends carefully. Wiggle 6 eggs in the spaces between the twisted ropes. Cover and let rise until almost doubled, about 1 hour. Brush with the egg-milk glaze.


Divide the dough into 3 equal parts. From each part into a rope about 30 inches long. Braid the three strands. Place the braid on a greased or parchment-covered baking sheet in the form of a ring. Place one colored egg on the join of the braid. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour, brush with the egg-milk glaze, and sprinkle with sliced almonds.


Divide the dough into 4 equal portions and roll each into a 12-inch strand. Place strands on a greased baking sheet, crossing the strands at the center of each to form the spokes of a wheel. Curl the outer ends of each strand. Make an indentation in the center of the hub (where all the strands cross). Place a colored egg in the center. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour. Brush with the egg-milk glaze and sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Beatrice Ojakangas� Great Holiday Baking Book

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