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Greek Holiday Bread

Yield 6 loaves


  • 5 whole bay leaves
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 3 packages dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup warm water (105° to 115°)
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup butter or margarine, melted
  • 5 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup milk
  • 10 cups all-purpose flour, divided
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds

How to Make It

  1. Combine bay leaves and boiling water; set aside to cool.

  2. Dissolve yeast in warm water, stirring well; let stand 5 minutes or until bubbly.

  3. Combine sugar, butter, and 5 eggs. Remove bay leaves from water; discard. Add seasoned water, 1 cup milk, and dissolved yeast to egg mixture, stirring well. Add 4 cups flour; beat well. Stir in enough remaining flour to make a soft dough. Cover; let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, 3 hours or until doubled in bulk.

  4. Punch dough down; turn out onto a floured surface. Divide into 6 equal portions, shaping each into a ball. Place each ball in a well-greased 8-inch round cake pan. Press down gently to fill pan. Cover loosely; repeat rising procedure 1 1/2 hours or until doubled in bulk.

  5. Combine egg and 1/4 cup milk; stir well. Gently brush top of loaves with egg mixture; sprinkle 1 teaspoon sesame seeds over each loaf. Bake at 300° for 50 minutes or until golden brown. Cool 10 minutes on wire racks before removing from pans.

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