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Tσουρέκι

Tsoureki - Traditional Greek Easter Bread

The OG

Tsoureki - Traditional Greek Easter Bread

Ingredients:

  • 5 pounds all purpose flour
  • 2 cups warm milk
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2 cups 1/4 sugar
  • 6 eggs
  • 2 egg yolks for egg wash
  • 2 juiced oranges and their zest
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3 packs dry yeast
  • 3 sticks and 1 tablespoon melted butter
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla flavoring
  • 1/2 teaspoon cardamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon mahleb
  • a pinch of salt
  • white sesame seeds to taste
  • slivered almonds to taste

Method:

  1. Add in a bowl 1 cup lukewarm water, teaspoon sugar, 3 packets yeast and 3 tablespoons flour. Whisk and cover with a towel, or tightly with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm place for 5 minutes.
  2. In a large bowl, add your yeast mixture, melted butter, eggs, salt, vanilla, spices and whisk in all your flour, stirring well until a dough begins to form.
  3. Dust a work surface with a little bit of flour and knead, until dough is smooth and doesn’t stick to your hands, about ten minutes.
  4. Place in a well oiled large bowl and using a knife mark your dough ball with a cross. Loosely cover with plastic wrap in a warm place to rise for 1 hour (on top of a warm stove or in the oven where you have just cooked something. My yaya used to wrap hers up in towels and place it in her warm bed- I swear) After an hour knead your bread once again ( your cross will have disappeared thats how you know your bread is rising) set aside in that warm place agin for half an hour to an hour until your dough has doubles in size.
  5. Remove dough and with your fists punch down dough to remove any air.
  6. Preheat oven to 350.
  7. Divide into 8 small balls (or larger balls for fever and larger breads) and roll into 10-12 inch long strips.
  8. Lay strips side by side, pinching together at one end, and braid. Tuck the ends of the braids under to hold them intact.
  9. Place the breads on parchment lined baking sheets and brush with egg wash. Sprinkle sweet breads with white sesame seeds and slivered almonds
  10. Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until your breads have turned golden drown. The breads can brown quickly if this happens cover them with aluminum foil to prevent them from browning to fast. The breads will sound hollow when you tap them on the bottom. Remove and cool.
  11. If freezing cover in plastic wrap.
  12. Slice and serve with Nutella.