Question. What is Tsoureki?
Answer. Tsoureki is a greek celebration bread (a brioche-type breads that is braided) that is traditionally exchanged on Easter to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ. A good tsoureki should be stringy and chewy. Traditionally it is brushed with egg yolks and sprinkled with slivers of almond. To enliven it's appearance, it is also decorated with a red egg. Tsoureki is also exchanged during Christmas and New Year's celebrations.
Tips, tricks and info on how to make a Tsoureki
Kitchen accessories that you absolutely need for this recipe is a thermometer and a scale. Other tools are a gratter or zesting tool.
We do not want the salt and yeast to come in contact with each other.
To control the outcome of the tsoureki, always measure the ingredients by weight (using a scale), especially the butter, rather than by volume (using measuring cups).
Do not allow the yeast and the salt to come in contact with each other. Add the salt in the flour, mix well, and then add the yeast. The eggs should be soaked in hot water for a few minutes to be brought quickly to room temperature.
Common mistake is adding the total flour specified by a recipe in a bowl and adding the remaining specified ingredients. Always take out some flour from the amount specified in the recipe. Best practice is to add 1/4 cup or less of flour at a time and allow dough to knead for a few minutes before adding additional flour. If you rush this step by might end up with a stiff dough.
For a successful Tsoureki every time, the best way is to try to match the dough consistency of a successful Tsoureki, rather than the amount of flour used in the recipe. But, once you have the right amount of flour, by weight, never alter it.
The dough should be oiled and covered with plastic wrap during the first rising, to prevent it from forming a crust.
The tsoureki should be finished with egg wash (using the egg yolk and egg white) and slivered almonds.
Watching our video, will show you the perfect dough consistency. Our recipe has been tested over 20 times resulting in identical outcome every time. This is definitely one of our TOP 10, 5-star recipes.
In addition, this recipe is for making one large loaf, instead of recipes that you find from word of mouth of 8-10 loafs.
Common mistake: Adding the flour too quickly, not allowing it to be absorded by the dough. RESULT: Very stiff dough.
Best practice: Add a tbsp of flour and allow dough to knead for a few minutes before adding more flour.
- First we must heat the milk, sugar and butter.
- Heat the milk mixture to 120 deg F and set aside.
- Using a zesting tool, remove about 1 tsp of orange zest.
- Add the zest into the milk mixture. Set aside for now.
- Using a mortar and pestle, crush the seeds and add in the flour mixture.
- Add the salt and mix well with the flour. Add the yeast and mix well again.
- Add the warm milk mixture into the flour mixture.
- Immediately add the eggs. Note: The eggs should be soaked in hot water for a few minutes to be brought to room temperature.
- Mix the dough by hand for a few minutes and then transfer the dough to a mixer or a bread machine for further kneading of the dough.
- Keep adding the additional flour 1 - 4 tbsp at a time, until dough does not stick to your fingers when pinched, or, until the dough does not stick to the bottom of the stainless steel mixing bowl.
- Oil the container where you will allow the dough to rise.
- Oil the dough and then using the oiled dough, oil the bowl, shown next.
- Cover with plastic wrap.
- Leave the dough in a warm room and allow it to at least double for 2 to 3 hours. The warmer the room temperature, the faster it will rise.
- Once dough has doubled in size, punch it down and shape it in braids, as shown next.
- To make one loaf, cut the dough in three pieces in order to create the braid.
- Transfer the tsoureki onto an oiled and floured pan.
- Cover with plastic wrap and allow it to double for a second time.
- Once the tsoureki has doubled for a second time, apply some egg wash and slivered almonds.
- Bake at 350F at middle rack for 16 to 22 minutes or until a nice color develops.