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Prepare time: 40 min
Bake time: 20 min
Passive time: 2 hr
Ready in: 3 hr
Yield: 15 buns
This recipe is a childhood memory. I can still remember the smell of mastic and mahleb while my grandmother was baking them. I was so happy when I could finally taste the first bite. It is the traditional Easter sweet bread recipe, only formed in small buns. They are so soft and fluffy that no one can actually wait for, until Easter. Personally I make them at least once a month and I hope that you like them too.

Ingredients

  • 520g strong flour
  • 225g sugar (plus 1 tbsp for the yeast)
  • 120ml warm milk
  • 120ml orange juice, appx. 2 oranges
  • 1tbsp orange zest
  • 2 large eggs, room temp.
  • 50g softened butter
  • 2tsp ground mahleb
  • 1tsp ground mastic of Chios
  • 50g fresh yeast or 14g instant dry yeast
  • 1 egg yolk with two tbsps of water (for brushing)

Instructions

1
Add one tbsp of sugar and half of the warm milk to the yeast and let it soften for a couple of minutes. Pour the rest of the milk in the bowl of your standing mixer.

2
Add the eggs and sugar and beat them on medium speed, until pale and creamy. Stir yeast, sugar and milk and add it to the mixture. Continue with the orange juice and the orange zest. Add mahleb and mastic.

3
Start adding flour gradually and mix at low speed. If after the last addition of flour your dough is still too wet, add more flour-one tbsp at a time- just until the sides of your bowl are clean.

4
Finally add the butter. Knead on low speed, until it’s fully incorporated. The dough is ready when it sticks a little at the tips of your fingers and it’s smooth and elastic.

5
Use olive or sunflower oil to gather the dough easily. Knead the dough with your hands for a while and put it in a lightly greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap to avoid dehydration and skin forming. Place it in a warm spot and let it rise for 90 min.

6
Once it has doubled in size, press the dough gently with your hands to deflate it and turn it out onto your work surface. Weigh the dough and cut it into 90g pieces. Take each piece in your palm and smooth it. Roll each piece of dough with your fingers till it gets 30cm long; then twist it thrice and it’s ready.

7
Let them rise again for 30min. Preheat your oven at 180°C/350°F. Mix one egg yolk with two tablespoons of water and gently brush your buns. TIP:I don’t use the whole egg for the eggwash because after a lot of experimentation, I found that the egg white gets burned easily, giving an unpleasant taste and a dark brown colour that ‘s not so attractive. Add a few drops of vanilla or orange extract in the egg-wash and make your buns smell wonderful!

8
Bake in a preheated oven, at 180°C/350°F, for 17 to 20min, till they’re golden brown. Put them on a rack to cool down. Wrap them with plastic to keep them soft and fluffy for up to 5 days. You can also freeze them after them in freezer bags, for about 2 months. Enjoy!

Recipe Video

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