Tsoureki is a delicious sweat bread with eggs and spices, that it’s accustomed to eat during Easter in Greece and also on Christmas and basically during the whole year because, it’s simply too tasty to wait for Easter to enjoy it.
It’s not easy to make, it requires plenty of time, a lot of exotic spices and a bit of experience with yeast doughs, but take my word it worth’s the effort.
- 1Kgr of flour (Breed flour),
- 65gr of yeast (not dry)
- 100ml of lukewarm water
- 300ml of milk
- 330gr of sugar
- 200gr of butter
- 4 eggs + 1 for glazing
- 2 teaspoons of vanilla powder
- 2 teaspoons of cardamom powder
- 2 teaspoons of mahlab powder
- 2 teaspoons of mastic powder
- Almond flakes for décor
It is very important that all the ingredients are in room temperature or warmer, so make sure to get the eggs and butter out of the fridge, many hours before you start you cooking.
Put the yeast in a small bowl and add the water to dissolve it. The water must be lukewarm but not too hot, otherwise the yeast will be destroyed. Add as much flour as it takes, to make a very soft liquid dough. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and put it in a warm place for an hour, until it rises double.
Put the milk and the sugar in a small pot turn the heat on and start stirring until the sugar melts, but do not bring into boil. Crack the eggs into a mixing bowl and beat them until they turn a pale yellow color. Put the butter in a separate small pot turn the heat on and let it melt without burning it.
Put the flour in a very large bowl, add the warm milk with the sugar and the dough you prepared before. Add the eggs and the spices and start Kneading with your hands for about ten minutes. You might need to add a little bit extra flour in order to have a nice soft dough that doesn’t stick to the bowl (be carefull not to add to much flour because your dough needs to be really soft).
You can also use a mixer to do dirty job for you, but keep in mind that kneading gives a very fine result. Start adding the warm melted butter by folding the dough from bottom to top, and repeat until the butter is absorved.
Cover the dough with plastic wrap and then with a small blanket and leave it in a warm spot for about 3 hours, until it rises double. When it’s ready divide the dough in 12 pieces, approximately 120gr each. Form each piece into a ribbon about 6cms thick and braid three ribbons together to form a plait shaped loaf. Repeat 3 more times.
Place your loafs on 2 baking sheets covered with baking paper and let them in a warm spot for about 45 minutes, until they rise double. Preaheat your oven in 200 Celsius degrees. Break an egg in a small bowl and beat it with a few drops of water. Glaze your loafs with the egg, but do not use too much otherwise your loafs with turn black.
Lower your oven temperature to 170 Celsius degrees and bake your loafs for 30 minutes. As soon as they cool wrap them with plastic wrap, to keep them soft and fresh for days.