I sometimes wish I came from a Greek or Italian family. Although my mother can rival many Italian chefs I have an inkling she feels the same too. It's the rich history of food passed down generation after generation - sauce bottling days, amazing family recipes and a strong regard for tradition.
Eloise's cooking class this week was inspiring in that way. Maria told me that doughnuts originated in Greece and actually were the medals that the athletes were given (food as reward, see it's as old as dirt!) 'gold medals' because they were covered in honey. I found that truly inspiring.
This recipe, although not exactly perfect based on ingredients available to me and most people, is eaten by the Greek at easter. It makes a large loaf (or two smaller ones) that will easily feed 8-10 people. This I suppose goes along with the Greek territory of large family gatherings - in fact this recipe which I adapted from this one is actually halved, so imagine how much the full recipe feeds!
125ml warm milk
6 tsp dry yeast
6 1/4 cups plain flour
1 cup orange juice
1 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
zest of one orange
1/2 cup caster sugar
125g butter, melted
Red coloured boiled eggs (Optional, but use this recipe without using any crayons/wax)
In a small jug or bowl mix warm milk and yeast together. Mix in 1/4 cup plain flour until it reaches a paste, and set aside to activate.
Then mix the remaining 6 cups flour with the 1 cup milk, 1 cup orange juice, orange zest, sugar, melted butter, eggs, yeast mixture and vanilla until it becomes a soft pliable dough.
Place in a greased bowl and cover with clingfilm and set aside for about 1 hour to 1 1/2 hours until it doubles in size.
Doesn't it look beautiful? Preheat the oven to 175 degrees c
Take out, punch back and divide into three pieces and roll them out ready to plait.
Plait them loosely and then place on a greased tray to prove a second time (about 1/2 -1 hour)
Add your eggs if you're using them
Bake for 30-45 minutes depending on whether you divide the mixture into one or two plaits - 45 for one, 30 for two. It should be golden brown on top.
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