Prep4 hrs 15 mins
Tsoureki is a sweet egg bread (similar to Challah) that is braided and decorated with dyed eggs for Greek Easter. This is my first time making it using this recipe (and the first time it came out properly!) - so I wanted to share. This recipe is made in the bread machine on the dough setting and then braided and baked in the oven. Adapted (very slightly) from this recipe: http://www.kitchenlink.com/cookbooks/2000/0385477775_3.html I listed the brands I used, but obviously you can use whatever you prefer. (I wrote my instructions for beginners like myself. If you know what you're doing, ignore my tangents!)
- 1 cup whole milk
- 4 cups bread flour (King Arthur)
- 2 1⁄2 teaspoons bread machine yeast (Fleischman's)
- 2⁄3 cup sugar
- 1⁄2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon orange zest
- 1 teaspoon ground aniseed (plus whole anise seed for decoration, if you like)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 large eggs (plus 3 dyed Easter eggs for decoration, if you like)
- 1 egg yolk (whisked with 1 tablespoon water for glaze)
- Place the milk, 2 cups of flour, and yeast in the bread machine pan and process on the dough setting. (Mine takes around 1.5 hours).
- While the machine is working (no rush here - you have plenty of time) mix the other 2 cups of flour with the sugar, salt, orange zest, and the anise seed. (I couldn't find ground anise seed so I ground some up in my blender. A coffee grinder would work as well).
- Once the dough cycle is completed, add the flour mixture, olive oil, and eggs. Process again on the dough setting. (Another 1.5 hours! But for me, this is preferable to doing it by hand. My handmade dough ends up like a brick).
- Once the second cycle is completed, remove the dough to a well-floured surface. Punch down and form into a ball. (This is easy! I was scared because this is where I get into trouble - I tend to overwork things. Look it up on YouTube if you don't know how: http://youtu.be/5HW38Bn-hnI).
- Cover and let the dough rest for 15 minutes. (I left it on the counter top and covered it with paper towels).
- Now, divide the dough into three parts. Roll each piece into a rope and braid, working from the center to the ends. Pinch the ends together and turn under. (Once again, if you don't know how: http://youtu.be/YR6aIAh2Vt8 And if you don't feel like braiding it at all - I won't tell. It tastes wonderful no matter what the shape).
- Embed the dyed eggs (optional) in the folds of the braid. Cover and let the dough rise until doubled in bulk - about 1 hour.
- Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. (Note: Mine came out a little dark on top so I'm gonna try 350 degrees next time.) Once the dough has risen, brush it lightly with the egg wash. (I sprinkled some whole anise seeds on top, but you don't have to do that. Some people use slivered almonds, but my family has allergies).
- Bake in the preheated oven for 40 to 45 minutes or until golden brown. (I slid the parchment paper directly onto a preheated pizza stone. My bread came out a little dark on the top, next time I'll drape some foil paper over it around 15 minutes in).
- Cool on a rack. Store in a brown bag for up to 3 days. (When it starts getting stale - if it lasts that long - you can make french toast with it. I recommend this recipe: http://www.food.com/recipe/dennys-style-french-toast-90674 So good!).
I brought this bread to my niece's for Easter, it got rave reviews. I didn't use orange zest , but added 2 tsps of aniseed & corriander, & 1 tsp of cumin like my Yiayia did years ago in my youth.
Very good, I changed the recipe a little bit and put two (2) teaspoons of aniseeds and orange zest. I couldn't resist the urge and added some sprinkles too :))
Only made one change to the recipe: During the first round in the bread maker, I wound up needing to add about 1/4 cup extra liquid (water, in this case) because the first bit was just too dry. It's delicious, though, and very very pretty! I used some 'test' eggs I learned to make 'marbled' designs on. Unfortunately, the red dye turned pretty brown in the oven, but that didn't affect the deliciousness of the bread!