Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Koutoura (Greek Easter Bread)

1 pound butter
12 eggs
3 cups sugar
4 yeast cakes
1 teaspoon baking powder
5 pounds flour
3 potatoes, boiled and mashed
1 cup milk
1 cup cinnamon water (made by boiling 2 cinnamon sticks and 3 bay leaves in 1 cup water for 5 minutes)

Mix together butter and sugar well, then add beaten eggs, blending thoroughly. Dissolve yeast in milk and add to first mixture, then add potatoes.

Mix thoroughly and begin adding flour until a dough which can be easily handled is formed.

If necessary, add either a little more flour or a little more water. Knead for a few minutes until smooth.

Place in large pan cover, and allow to rise in warm place until double in size, about 2 or 3 hours, then knead down and let rise again. Divide into four parts.

From piece of dough snip off enough dough to roll into thin strips. Shape remainder of dough into a rather long piece and twist, then shape into circle on greased baking sheet, pinching ends together.

With long rope-like pieces of dough, shape four hearts evenly on four sides of circle, having the points coming to center, and bring the ends across the circle to form a cross.

Set three red hard-cooked eggs in the center on the dough strips, and with more dough ropes form three circles to be set down over the eggs.

Brush the entire loaf with slightly beaten egg, then sprinkle with sesame seeds. Allow to rise until double in size and bake at 350 degrees F. for 1 hour.

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