A traditional sweet bread with mastic aromas, baked on Holy Thursday morning, decorated with dyed red eggs.

Serves: 1 large piece Prep. time: 30′ + 2 h dough proving Bakes in: 50′ Ready in: 1:20′

Ingredients
1 kg strong white flour
2 sachets dried active yeast
1 tsp salt
1 cup warm milk (not hot)
½ cup melted butter
1 cup sugar
½ tsp mastic, crushed in powder in a mortar
2-4 dyed red hard-boiled eggs
1 egg yolk beaten with 1 tbsp water
a few cloves for decorating

Method
Step 1
In a large glass bowl dissolve yeast in half cup warm water (not hot) and stir in 1 tbsp sugar. Allow to form bubbles on the surface.

Step 2
In a large bowl mix half bread with salt, remaining sugar and mastic. Make a well in the centre and add yeast, milk and butter. Bring flour little by little from the sides to the centre and mix with a fork or your fingers. Add as much of the remaining flour as needed until you get a soft dough that doesn’t stick in your fingers. Knead for at least 10 minutes or until you get a pliable dough.

Step 3
Keep 1,5 cup of dough for decorating the bread and divide remaining dough in half.
Make a large round or rectangle bread and make ornaments with reserved dough using cutters in the shapes of leaves, birds etc.

Step 4
Brush bread surface with a little water. Press the eggs in the dough in different places and then lightly press the ornaments on the dough along with the cloves. Cover with a clean tea towel and allow to double in size for 1h or 1h and 30 minutes in a warm environment.

Step 5
Preheat oven at 200C/fan. Brush surface with beaten egg and bake for 10 minutes. Then reduce heat at 175C and bake for another 35-40 minutes or until nicely colored.

Photo: Valia Shiza – Studio Athimaritis

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