Beautiful to look at – even more delicious to eat! Let’s bake a Greek traditional sweet bread full of flavour, that requires 2 risings, like every other yeast bread! It is traditionally braided and then baked, served to break the Lenten fast. Believe us when we say that with a huge glass of milk on the side it’s pure heaven!!!
Serves: 3 loaves Preparation: 40′ Cooks in: 40′ Ready in: 2 hours
1.200gr bread flour
40gr active dry yeast
240gr butter 82%
160ml lukewarm milk
2 oranges, zested
2 tsp mahleb
1 tsp salt
1 ½ ground mastic
½ cup almonds, slivered, for sprinkling
6 dyed red eggs for decoration
Preheat oven to 30°C, placing rack on lower shelf of oven. Put all ingredients in the oven and leave for 1 hour, allowing them to get at the same temperature.
Sift flour and put the bowl of a stand mixer. Crush the mastic with sugar in a mortar with a pestle or in a multi.
Attach the dough hook to the mixer and add all ingredients in the bowl. Beat on medium speed until mixture shines and dough releases from the sides of the bowl. Place in an oiled bowl, cover with a cloth, and set aside in a warm, draft-free place to rise until doubled, for an hour.
Divide dough into three balls. Divide each ball in three pieces and roll each into strips 12-15 inches long, and about 2 inches in diameter. Cover with a cloth and set aside in a warm, draft-free place to rise until doubled, for 10 minutes.
Lay three strips side-by-side, pinching together at one end, and braid. At this point you can press two red-dyed eggs between the strips of the braid or just leave it plain. Pinch together at the other end to hold the loaf intact. Repeat the procedure to make the second and third loaf. You can give them a round shape if you like.
Place the breads on a parchment-lined baking sheet, cover with a cloth and put in the warm oven (35°C) and let rise until half-doubled, for 25 minutes.
Beat together 2 egg yolks with a little milk. Brush over tsoureki loaves and sprinkle with slivered almonds. Bake for 45-50 minutes to 140°C or until golden brown. If they tend to colour quickly, drape with aluminium foil to prevent excess browning. Remove and cool on racks. The sweet breads should sound hollow when tapped on the bottom.
Make your Easter egg-celent!