Bread

The Soft & Sweet Bread That Smells Like Greek Easter

by:
April  3, 2017

My mother, Artemis Gyftopoulos—a phenomenal self-taught home cook and entertainer who passed away a few years ago—gave me this recipe for tsoureki when I got married and had my own family so I could continue this tradition.

It's a bread made twice a year, for New Year's and Easter, with distinct flavorings—masticha and mahlepi—that can be found at many Middle Eastern markets.

These two additions make the smell of the baking bread distinct—and one that reminds me of the many parties we had in our home in Lincoln, Massachusetts with the larger Greek community of friends and family.

For the New Year, a coin is hidden in the bread, which is cut for the children of the family in order of age, beginning with the oldest. Whoever receives the coin is thought to have good luck for the year.

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At Easter time, the biggest celebration for Greeks, we make the bread to share with friends and family. We dye boiled eggs red and place them in the bread as it bakes. The eggs are one of the oldest traditions for Greek Orthodox Christians and they are a symbol of Christ's crucifixion and resurrection.

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Top Comment:
“It is a powerful thing: how food can create a transcendent moment in which memory, tradition, spirituality, and family values become poignant in the simple act sharing homemade bread. I always know spring has arrived in Ontario when a warm breeze seems to be infused with the aromas of a juicy steak, or marinated, barbecued chicken. "Someone's BBQing" we say, and we know summer is just around the corner. ”
— Bobby N.
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But mostly, the smell of the baking bread is reminiscent of the beautiful family my parents created (I have two sisters), as well as the great love and passion that my mother communicated by sharing amazing food with others and including everyone around her table. My four children and husband continue to look forward to the aroma in the kitchen while the bread rises and bakes, which brings them wonderful memories of being at my parents' home.

What cooking or baking smell do you associate with spring? Tell us in the comments below.

9 Comments

Rena April 8, 2017
Maro is my sister, and Artemis was my mother too! So amazing to read these comments!! Kalo Pascha!
 
Dorothy C. April 5, 2017
From one Greek to another...thanks for this! My Yiayia used to say "The whole world waits for warm bread!".
 
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Maro April 5, 2017
I love that and we all know, Yiayia knows best!
 
Bobby N. April 4, 2017
I have yet to try this recipe, but what a wonderful article! Thank you for sharing this. It is a powerful thing: how food can create a transcendent moment in which memory, tradition, spirituality, and family values become poignant in the simple act sharing homemade bread. <br /> <br />I always know spring has arrived in Ontario when a warm breeze seems to be infused with the aromas of a juicy steak, or marinated, barbecued chicken. "Someone's BBQing" we say, and we know summer is just around the corner.
 
Laura April 4, 2017
Being originally from Ontario I can definitely attest to that. Your comment reminds me of my Dad BBQing beside piles of melting snow, sun shining, windows open after to a long winter, classic rock on, beer out and some kind of marinated meat sizzling away. Good times.
 
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Maro April 5, 2017
It is amazing how foods and the smell evoke such powerful and beautiful memories!
 
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Maro April 5, 2017
That is beautifully stated, thank you for your lovely comment Bobby!
 
Bobby N. April 11, 2017
Thank you for sharing. All the best and happy baking! :)
 
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Maro April 11, 2017
And to you Bobby!