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Greek Easter Sweet Bread

09 April 2015 / 15:04:31  GRReporter
4896 reads

Sieve the remaining flour into a large bowl together with the salt. Add the melted butter, the mahlepi and mastic, or vanilla and/or lemon/orange rind. Add the eggs, sugar and the risen 'starter' dough and knead (easiest with a mixer dough hook) until all the ingredients are well combined (15 - 20 minutes)  and the dough is soft, a bit sticky and buttery. If it is too still too sticky, you can add a little extra flour, or a little melted butter if too dry.

Transfer to a lightly-greased large bowl.

Cover the bowl with cling film, wrap it completely in a towel or blanket, and leave, as above, in a warm, draft-free  place for 2 hours or longer, until risen and doubled in bulk.

Half-risen dough

Depending on the particular yeast used and the room temperature this could take up to 4 hours or more.

 

Fully-risen dough

 

 

Re-knead a little (preferably by hand) then divide into three equal pieces. On a sheet of baking parchment (greaseproof paper). roll the pieces into thick ''ropes''.

 

Pinch all 3 pieces together at one end to secure, then braid the ropes loosely to allow room for rising.

 

Entwine two or three red (or plain raw or hard-boiled eggs, to avoid staining as mentioned above) into the dough. Pinch the other end of the ropes together to secure the braid.

 

Transfer (together with the greaseproof paper, on to a baking sheet. Cover with a cloth, and leave in a warm place to rise again (about 1 - 1 ½hours) until well risen.

Lightly brush the top with the egg and milk glaze and sprinkle with the blanched, flaked almonds, pressing them in lightly.

 

Put the baking tray with the Tsoureki and baking parchment just below the centre of a preheated moderate  oven and bake at 170o C (325o F, Gas Mark 3) for around 30 - 45 minutes until golden-brown and easy to remove from the greaseproof paper. Cover loosely with foil if over-browning. The bread should sound hollow when tapped on the base.

Do not overbake as it can quickly dry out.

Cool on a wire rack.

When completely cooled, replace the oven-baked plain eggs with red ones. It is best not to eat the oven-baked eggs, as they may not be uniformly cooked and probably over-done!

Tags: Tsoureki Greek Easter Bread Dough Sweet Bread Mediterranean recipes Red eggs
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