As you know I am greek and I live in Athens, Greece. Here the majority of the population are Christians Orthodox. We had our Easter past Sunday. In Greece as a tradition among other things we make tsoureki the week before Easter Sunday. Tsoureki is a sweet bread something like the challah of the Jews or the brioche of the French only not so sweet. It is excellent to eat it with your coffee or tea or during breakfast with marmalade or honey. I was very reluctant at first because I thought that it was not such an easy thing to do. But when I saw on TV Stelios Parliaros a very famous pastry chef in his TV series Sweet Alchemies making it, I made my mind to at least try and see what happens. Let me tell you, it was one of the easiest things to do and it tasted great. This is definately a keeper and I have already bought all the ingredients to make it again. So let’s get to the kitchen and make it.
Tsoureki (Sweet Bread)
70gr. butter (in this recipe I used original butter)
100 gr. milk
160gr. sugar (next time I will put 200gr. to make it more sweet)
5gr. mahlepi grated
5gr. mastic grated
40gr. fresh yeast (do not use dry or you will lose all the flavor)
650gr. strong flour like Robin Hood
1 egg for coating
Almonds in slices for garnish
Put butter, milk, sugar, mahlepi and mastic in a small saucepan on medium heat and heat until the temperature arrives at 50 degrees celcius. 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 degrees celcius and put the bowl with the dough in for 3 hours. After the 3 hours we take the dough out, knead a little and divide to 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 in the oven again at 30 degrees celcius for one hour. After that, take the egg, whisk it with some water and coat the tsourekia very carefully so as not to hurt them and lose their volume. We bake on a preheated oven at 175 degrees celcius for 30 minutes until golden brown.