Tsoureki Revisited

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Every Easter I like to do two things; firstly to paint red eggs and secondly to make tsoureki. Tsoureki is like challah. During my lifetime I have tasted many tsourekia, some of them were good, some awful and some of them exquisite. It is true that homemade tsoureki is not the same as the store-bought. From all the recipes I have tried, I believe that this one is the best, according of course to my taste. The tsoureki is not very sweet and is very fluffy. The recipe comes from my favourite pastry chef Stelios Parliaros. I will tell you this; there is no way to find another recipe for tsoureki easier, more accurate and tastier than this one. As I have told you in the past, I have a fear with dough and kneading. With this recipe I am sure about the result. If you have the necessary ingredients, do try it. It’s worth every single gram of it. I posted this same recipe last year, but I am giving it again with only one small alteration. I increased the sugar to 180 gr., so as to become just a little bit sweeter.

Tsoureki (Sweet Bread)
Ingredients
70gr. butter (in this recipe I used original butter)
100 gr. Milk
180gr. sugar
5gr. mahlepi grated
5gr. mastic grated
100gr. water
40gr. fresh yeast (do not use dry or you will lose all the flavor)
650gr. strong flour like Robin Hood
3 eggs
1 egg for coating
Almonds in slices for garnish

Instructions

Put butter, milk, sugar, mahlepi and mastic in a small saucepan on medium heat and heat until the temperature arrives at 50° C. In another saucepan we heat the water until lukewarm. In a bowl we break the yeast, throw the water and whisk until dissolved. We throw the butter mix also and continue to whisk.
Now the fun part we put on the mixer the tool for kneading and throw first the flour and then the liquids. We let the mixer work for fifteen minutes slowly at first, faster afterwards. You know the dough is ready when, after the 15 minutes, the dough is gathered around the hook. Then we put some flour in a big bowl and throw the dough in. We turn on the oven at 30° C and put the bowl with the dough in for 3 hours covered with a towel.
After the 3 hours we take the dough out, knead a little and divide into two pieces. Each one will make one tsoureki. We cover a baking tray with parchment paper. We shape the two pieces of dough to your liking and place them on the tray. Put them uncovered in the oven again at 30° C for one hour.
After that, take the egg, whisk it with 1 tbsp of water and coat the tsourekia very carefully, so as not to hurt them and lose their volume. Throw very carefully the almonds and put in the oven. Bake on a preheated oven at 175° C for 30 minutes or until golden brown. In my oven it took only 20 minutes. Let them stand and cool and wrap them with cling film so as to stay soft and moist.

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