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Tsoureki

Tsoureki is a sweet Greek Easter bread, which has a three-strand braid to represent the Holy Trinity.

It is traditionally made today, Holy Thursday (along with the dyeing of the Easter eggs) and eaten after midnight mass and on Easter Sunday.

It is made with eggs and sugar and flavoured with mastiha and mahlepi- leaving an amazing aroma throughout your kitchen!

This recipe makes 2 large tsourekia.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup of water
  • 1 teaspoon of grounded mahlepi
  • 1 teaspoon of grounded mastic
  • 50 g fresh yeast
  • 1 cup of milk, lukewarm
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 250g of butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla essence
  • 4 eggs, well beaten
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1kg of plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon of orange zest
  • 1 egg for glazing the tsourekia
  • sesame seeds or slithered almonds for sprinkling

Method:

  1. In a large bowl, add approximately 150g of flour,  water and yeast. Whisk by hand and set aside for 15 minutes so the yeast can activate.
  2. In a saucepan, add the grounded mastic, milk, 125g of butter, orange zest, grounded mahlepi, vanilla essence and sugar. Place over low heat and whisk continuously, until the butter melts and all of the ingredients are completely incorporated. Note: Do not let mixture boil, you only want it to become warm. Remove from heat and allow to cool for 5-10 minutes.
  3. Add in the eggs and salt to the cooled mixture in the saucepan. Whisk thoroughly.
  4. In a mixer’s bowl, add the yeast mixture together with the liquids from the saucepan.
  5. Gradually add sifted flour into the mixer’s bowl and mix well.
  6. Add the rest of the butter into the mixer and mix until all of the butter is absorbed. If you’re kneading by hand, you’ll need to knead the dough for approximately 15 minutes. You should end up with a dough that is not sticking to your hands or the bowl, a dough that is firm, smooth and shiny. Note: you may need to add more flour, as needed.
  7. Cover the dough with a clean kitchen towel and set it aside in a warm place for 1 ½– 2 hours, until it doubles in size.
  8. When ready, place dough onto a clean working surface and knead with your hands for 3 minutes.
  9. Divide the dough into 2 pieces and then divide each part into 3 equal pieces.
  10. Take the first set of dough and one-by-one, shape each of the 3 pieces into a long rope about 50 cm long, 5 cm wide. Place the 3 ropes on the baking paper, connect the 3 ropes on one end and braid them. Tuck the ends underneath. Take the second set of dough and repeat.
  11. Place the two braided tsourekia on seperate baking trays, covering each with a towel and leave to rise until they have doubled in size (1 ½-2 hours depending on the warmth).
  12. In the meantime, preheat your oven to 180ο C – 200ο C.
  13. Glaze the top of the tsourekia with the beaten egg and sprinkle with sesame seeds or slithered almonds.
  14. Bake the tsourekia for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown.
  15. Remove the trays from the oven and allow to cool slightly before moving the tsourekia on wire racks to cool completely.
  16. Decorate with Kokkina Paschalina Avga once the tsourekia have completely cooled.
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