After almost two weeks of non-stop eating due to Christmas and New Year's Eve holidays…
Best friend’s tsoureki.
Easter came earlier.
Tsoureki is the traditional greek easter bread. Tsoureki recipe is similar to brioche.
Making your own tsoureki is quite challenging, but not for my mother’s best friend who gave my mother the most flavourful tsoureki recipe you will ever try. Believe me, this tsoureki recipe is a guarantee for the most soft, fragrant and fluffy tsoureki.
My mother used to count the amount of the ingredients with water glass, so the ingredients below are written according to her method. She is the master of tsoureki so it doesn’t mind!
- 15 eggs +1 egg for brushing
- 1 1/2 water glass of lukewarm water (for the yeast)
- 2 1/2 water glass of milk
- 4 water glass of sugar (around 1 kg)
- 2 kg flour for sweetbreads or brioche (20 cups)
- 1 1/2 kg for all purposes flour
- 250 gr fresh yeast
- 1 water glass corn oil
- 4 vanilies
- zest from 4 oranges
- 10 gr mahlab
- 10 gr kakoules or otherwise cardamom
- 6 gr Chios Mastic
WARNING! Tsoureki dough is all about the rising, which means that the right temperature is key. Once starting to prepare this tsoureki recipe, make sure that all ingredients are at room temperature before using and lukewarm when added in the mixture. This will guarantee that your dough will rise. Also, do not forget to preheat the oven and shift the flour!
Combine yeast with lukewarm water in a bowl together with a pinch of sugar. Be careful not do add hot water, as it will kill the yeast, nor cold, as it will take forever for the tsoureki to rise. Whisk by hand and set aside until the mixture becomes frothy as pictured below.
Beat the mahlab, mastic and kakoules in a food processor, until all of the aromatics are finely ground. You can also do this with a mortar and pestle.
Heat slightly the milk with the sugar, until sugar melts. Add mahlab, kakoules, Chios Mastic and the zest from 4 oranges at the end. Meanwhile, ligthy heat the eggs in another bowl. Check if sugar has melt, if yes then add the eggs in the pot and whisk.
In a large mixer bowl put the total amount of the two types flour, after shifting them, and gradually add the yeast by using a mixer and then add in the mixture the milk, in which you have added the sugar and the eggs previously.
At the beggin mix at low speed, until the ingredients start to combine and then mix at medium-high speed.
During mixing add the lukewarm corn oil in order to prevent sticking. Keep mixing until the dough has completely pulled back from the sides of the bowl. Before letting it aside it should be something like the following picture.
Cover with plastic wrap or with a towel and set the bowl in a preheated oven (30-50 *C, it depends on the oven) for at least 1 hour until almost triple in size. If the dough has not reached the desired size you have to wait.
When the dough is ready gently deflate the tsoureki dough with your hands and cut in 8 equal portions. Take one piece of the dough (do not flour the working surface) and roll it a little bit with your hands.
Shape each piece in to a long strip and place them one next to the other on your working surface, leaving a little space between them. To shape it in to a beautiful braid, begin by connecting the tips of all 4 strips. Giving each strip a number… 1-2-3-4. Fold strip 4 over strip 2…Strip 1 over strip 3..strip 2 over strip 3. Repeat this over and over until you have created a beautiful braid! The dough should make around 8 brioches.
Transfer to a baking pan lined with parchment paper. Brush with the egg, sprinkle with sesame or almond slivers and now…guess!You have to leave the braids to rest..the braids, to rest…not you, the braids! To be honest I have tortured them…so, they deserve some resting!
Set aside for around 20 minutes, so the braids rest and rise again (almost double in size). You probably won’t get rest, you have to clean the kitchen. When ready, bake for 35-40 minutes in a preheated oven (170*C), until golden.
I wish I could describe the smell or for an app for sharing the smells! It…it smells like home.
Thank you mom for the recipe!
P.S.: Listen to the music and maybe you can smell greek tsoureki.