A few years ago, I had the pleasure of shooting Niki and Sandy Papadapplous’s Big Fat Greek Easter Party for Atlanta Magazine’s Home. One of the highlights of the party menu was this sweet Easter bread, or Tsoureki in Greek. Ever since that issue hit news stands, I’ve thought about what a beautiful, delicious addition it would be to your menu and table. Give it a try and wow your guests!
TSOUREKI (Easter Sweet Bread)
Makes 4 loaves
You will need:
– 7 cups Flour
– 3 quick rise yeast packets
– ½ cup warm water
– 1¾ cup sugar
– ½ teaspoon salt
– 1 Tablespoon mahlepi
– 1 teaspoon mastic
– 1 teaspoon vanilla
– 2 teaspoon lemon & orange zest (mixed)
– 5 eggs (room temperature)
– ½ cup hot milk
– 1 cup melted butter
Note : All ingredients should be warm or at the very least room temperature to help the dough rise faster.
Egg Wash for bread:
– 1 egg
– a few drops of vanilla
– 1 Tablespoon water
– ½ cup of sliced almonds
- Mix warm water and yeast, set aside.
- In a large bowl put flour, make a whole with your hands in the center of the flour to put the sugar, zest, salt, spices and mix that your hands. Add hot milk and mix again with your hands. Once the dough is incorporated add eggs, one at a time, and mix well. Then add the yeast water mixture, your dough should be stringy when pulled apart.
- Next pour melted butter into the bowl one handful at a time and fold the dough (do not knead the dough). Pull and fold and pour in melted butter, repeat until you’ve used all the butter. Don’t worry if you see butter puddle around the edges, it will absorb as the dough rises.
- Wrap the dough with plastic wrap that it tucked down inside the bowl touching the dough. Then wrap the entire bowl in towels and place in a warm place for the dough to rise for about 2 hours. Once dough has risen, separate into 4 equal parts. Then separate each of the four parts into three pieces and roll the dough with your hands into approximately 14 inch long and about finger thickness.
- Braid the three long cylinder pieces just like you would braid hair. You will have 4 braids.
- Place each braid in a 12” round pan that has been lined with parchment paper and cover with towel, place in a warm spot for 30-45 minutes for dough to rise again.
- Once each of the braids have risen, prepare the egg wash. Beat the egg with water and vanilla then brush each of the braids, this will give the bread a beautiful shine.
- Place pans into a preheated 350° oven (2 at a time) and bake for 30 minutes. Keep an eye on the dough, if you see it getting too brown, cover with foil until baked through.
- Once bread has cooled, cut out the center and place a hard boiled egg that has been dyed red sprinkle with sliced almonds.
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