Lazarakia (Lenten Bread for the Saturday of Lazarus)

"Lazarus, come forth." And he that had been dead four days came forth immediately, bound hand and foot with the grave clothes, and Jesus said to those standing there, "Loose him, and let him go."

This day (the Saturday before Palm Sunday) it is a Greek tradition to make “Lazarakia” (literally meaning “Little Lazaruses”). These are bread, “Nistisima” (Lenten meaning they do not contain any dairy or egg products), small in size, sweet and mildly spicy in taste, which are made only once a year to represent the miracle of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead.

Do this together with the kids. It is so much fun.


Hands on:           90 minutes

Cooking Time: 20-30 minutes

Serves:               12

How to make lazarakia little lazarus buns


3/4 tbsp. active dry yeast 2 tbsp. honey

2 cups warm water 1/2 cup sugar 3 tbsp. olive oil (plus more for brushing) 7-8 cups flour 1 tbsp. ground cinnamon 1 tsp. ground cloves 1 tsp. aniseed or anise extract 1/2 tsp. salt Whole cloves for eyes or whole almonds for face


How to do it

  1. Dissolve the yeast in warm water along with the honey. Allow to stand for about 5 minutes, until it becomes frothy.

  2. Add the sugar and the olive oil. Mix well until dissolved.

  3. Take a separate bowl and mix 7 cups of flour with the ground cinnamon, the ground cloves and the salt.

  4. Mix well using a fork.

  5. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and stir in the yeast mixture.

  6. Use a mixer with a dough hook to knead the dough for about 10 minutes or until the dough is elastic.

  7. If your dough is neither too dry nor too sticky to handle its ok. Otherwise, add some extra flour.

  8. Cover with a kitchen towel and allow rising in a warm place for one hour.

  9. Punch down and allow rising for another 45 minutes.

  10. How to form “Lazarakia”:

First of all what you want is your breads to look like little men wrapped in burial shrouds.

So, divide the dough into 12 pieces and shape into balls.

Cut off a small piece from each ball (1/5) to form the arms. The rest of it will form the body.

Shape little Lazarus’s bodies in an oblong shape.

Shape the 2 arms, crisscrossing in the back and bringing them to crisscross again in the front.

Insert 2 whole cloves above the arms where the head should be to create the eyes.

Preheat the oven to 170*oC (340oF) Fan

Transfer the little Lazarus buns onto a baking pan lined with parchment paper.

Bake for 20-30 minutes, until golden.



  • If you’ve used too much flour and the dough becomes too dry, you can add in water by the tablespoonful until you reach the correct consistency

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