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  • 6 to 8
  • 45 minutes, plus rising time
  • 50 minutes


  • 400 g sugar
  • 7 free-range eggs, plus extra for brushing
  • 1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 250 g butter, plus extra fro greasing
  • 1 1/2 kg flour
  • 1 t machlepi
  • 1 t masticha
  • 1 t orange rind
  • flaked almonds, for scattering
  • For yeast mixture
  • 100 g instant yeast
  • 1 cup lukewarm milk
  • 70 g flour
  • 2 t sugar
  • 4 - 6 boiled eggs, dyed red

Cooking Instructions

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Beat the sugar with the eggs until fluffy.

In a saucepan over a medium to low heat, heat the orange juice to lukewarm.

In a separate saucepan over a medium to low heat, melt the butter. Sift the flour, then heap onto a work surface and make a well in the centre.

Add the machlepi, masticha (see cook's note below) and orange rind to the well, then add the sugar and egg mixture and knead.

Add the yeast mixture, then slowly add the orange juice. Grease your hands with the melted butter and slowly knead into the dough.

Transfer to a mixing bowl, cover and set aside to prove in a warm place for 45 minutes.

Divide the dough into equal balls, then divide each ball into three. Roll each piece into a long strand and then loosely plait the strands. Carefully transfer to a greased baking tray. 

At this point you can insert the red-coloured eggs in the folds of the dough. Simply boil the eggs in water to which red fool colouring has been added. 

Again, leave to rise in a warm place and, when doubled in size, brush lightly with beaten egg and scatter over the flaked almonds.

Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, depending on the size.

To make the yeast mixture: Mix all the ingredients, cover with clingfilm and set aside to prove.

TASTE's take

Traditionally, a dyed red egg is placed in each bread as part of the festivities.

Machlepi is an aromatic spice made from ground cherry stone. Substitutes for machlepi include grated orange zest, cardamom or vanilla.

Masticha is  ground dried gum and is available at speciality stores


Efi Dimitrou Recipe by: Efi Dimitrou
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