Tsoureki (Greek Easter Sweet Bread)
A delicious recipe for “Tsoureki,” traditional sweet Easter bread.
- 2 cups milk
- 2 (1/4 ounce) envelopes active dry yeast
- 5-7 cups all purpose flour (maybe more, you’ll add more as needed while kneading the dough)
- 1 3/4 cups sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 orange (for zest from one grated orange)
- 2 teaspoons finely ground anise seed or 1 tablespoon mahlepi (I add both!)
- 1 teaspoon ground masticha (optional)
- 1/4 cup butter, melted
- 5 eggs, very well beaten
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 tbsp water
- 1/2 cup slivered almonds
- Warm two cups of milk and place in a large bowl. Add the yeast, one cup of the flour, and 1/4 cup of the sugar. Cover and proof for one hour.
- In a large bowl, combine seven cups of flour, salt, remaining sugar, orange zest, aniseed and/or mahlepi and masticha (if using). Make a well in the center. Add the yeast mixture, melted butter and eggs. Work from the center outwards, bringing flour into the well, stirring the mixture until dough begins to form.
- Dust a work surface with a little of the remaining flour and knead, adding more flour if necessary, until the dough is smooth and doesn’t stick to your hands, about 12 minutes.
- Place in a well oiled bowl, cover with a cloth, and set aside in a warm, draft-free place to rise until doubled in bulk, about two hours. Punch down dough.
- Divide into nine small balls and roll each into strips 12-15 inches long, and about 2 inches in diameter. Lay three strips side by side, pinching together at one end, and braid. Pinch together at the other end to hold the loaf intact.
- Optional: At this point you can press two red-dyed eggs between the strips of the braid or just leave the braided loaf plain.
- Repeat the procedure to make the second and third loaf.
- Place the breads on a parchment-lined baking sheet, covered, and let rise for two hours, or until doubled in bulk. While the braids are rising, preheat oven to 360F (180°C), placing rack on the middle shelf of oven.
- Mix the egg yolk with 1 tbsp water. Brush the egg yolk mixture over the tsoureki loaves and sprinkle with slivered almonds.
Bake on the middle shelf of oven on a parchment lined baking sheet for about 40-45 minutes, or until golden brown. I check my breads after about 15 minutes as they do tend to colour quickly. If they are getting too brown you can drape them with aluminum foil to prevent excess browning. The bread should sound hollow when tapped on the bottom. Remove and cool on racks.
Recipe Yields: 3 Loaves of Tsoureki/ Cut each loaf roughly into 10 slices.
PureSense Health Clients: Each 1 Slice = 1 Starch