"Lazarakia" - Traditional Lenten bread for the "Saturday of Lazarus"

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Lazarákia are small, sweet spice breads made in Greece and Cyprus by Orthodox Christians on Lazarus Saturday, the Saturday that begins Holy Week.

The Saturday before Palm Sunday is "Saturday of Lazarus" and on this day it is tradition to make "Lazarakia" (literally meaning "Little Lazaruses"). These are traditional small, sweet and mildly spiced bread, made only once a year. They represent the miracle of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead. Each region of Greece has a variation of how they make them, however most have a similar sweet tasting flavour. They are of course Nistisima (Lenten) meaning they do not contain any dairy or egg products. 

Lazarakia Recipe

Ingredients →

  • 1 kg of plain flour
  • 1 glass of lukewarm water + extra for the kneading
  • 1/4 tea-cup of granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tea-cup of olive oil
  • 1 tea- cups of dark raisins (optional)
  • 1 tea-cup of finely chopped walnuts (optional)
  • 2 sachets of dried yeast
  • 3 levelled tsp of ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp of ground cloves
  • whole cloves to decorate

Method →

  • Preheat the oven to 200°C. Lay with baking paper a couple of oven trays.
  • Dissolve the yeast in the glass with the lukewarm water.
  • Put the flour in a large bowl and make a well in the centre. Fill it with the sugar, the olive oil and the dissolved yeast.
  • Start kneading the ingredients with your hands slowly adding, as you go along, the lukewarm water, just enough until you have a relatively firm dough. Then add the spices, the raisins and the walnuts and continue kneading thoroughly until the dough doesn't stick to the hands at all.
  • Get quantities of the dough and shape into small men (see photo on top). Form eyes, nose and on the forehead with the tip of a clove and then stick where they should be.
  • Transfer bread on the oven trays, cover with a clean kitchen towel and leave to rise for 1 hour.
  • Brush with some oil the Lazarakia for a glossy effect and put in the middle shelf of the oven. Bake until they are nicely golden.
  • Take out of the oven and allow to cool on metal racks before serving.

*Image and recipe by flavoursandflair.com (Copyright) 

/The Saturday of Lazarus

GCT Team

This article was researched and written by a GCT team member.

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