Greek Easter bread (Tsoureki)

AT A GLANCE

  • Serves 10 people

Yes, it's laden with tradition and symbolism, but tsoureki is also a really tasty treat, writes Bianca Tzatzagos.

  • 500 gm (2 2/3 cups) plain flour
  • 21 gm (3 packets) dried yeast
  • 125 ml (½ cup) milk
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten, plus extra for brushing
  • 50 gm caster sugar
  • Finely grated rind of 2 oranges
  • 2 tsp mahlepi (see note)
  • 75 gm softened butter, coarsely chopped, plus extra to serve
  •  
  • Red Easter eggs
  • 3 eggs Greek red egg dye (see note)
01   Combine flour, yeast and a pinch of salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook, form a well in the centre, set aside. Add milk, eggs, sugar, orange rind, mahlepi and 100ml lukewarm water and mix until a soft dough forms (5-7 minutes). Gradually add butter, a little at a time, mixing until a smooth soft dough forms (3-5 minutes), place in a lightly greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap and set aside until doubled in size (40 minutes-1 hour).
02   Meanwhile, for red Easter eggs, follow instructions on packet to cook and dye eggs then set aside to cool completely.
03   Knock back dough and divide into 3 pieces. Roll each piece into a 45cm-long cylinder, plait pieces together, then bring ends together to form a wreath and squeeze to join. Place on an oven tray lined with baking paper and set aside to prove slightly (20 minutes).
04   Preheat oven to 180C. Brush wreath with eggwash, gently push red Easter eggs (unpeeled) into wreath and bake until wreath is golden and cooked through (25-30 minutes). Cool on a wire rack, serve with butter. Greek Easter bread is best eaten the day it’s made.

Note Mahlepi is available from Greek delicatessens. You can substitute a flavouring such as mastic or cardamom. Red egg dye is available (usually around Easter time) from Greek and Italian delicatessens. Instructions and the quantity required vary from brand to brand.

Topics:

AUTUMN, ORANGES, SNACK, GREEK, EGGS, BAKING, CLASSIC DISH, EASTER

Recipe:

ALICE STOREY

Photography:

WILLIAM MEPPEM

Styling:

EMMA KNOWLES AND ALICE STOREY

FEATURED IN

Apr 2011

Apr 2011

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