Friday, April 13, 2012

Easter Bread/Tsoureki/Choureki (Toula M)


What's an Easter celebration without Tsoureki?  I have never celebrated an Easter without this bread on our table.  Growing up, my mom and aunts exchanged loaves on Easter and shared their different recipes amongst one another.  ( I guess we can say that each aunt changed my grandma's recipe over time to suit their own tastebuds).  It's amazing how everyone makes this bread their own way and nobody uses the same recipe.  Everyone has their own kneading technique.

This is my aunt Toula's recipe.  It's amazing that even though I'm using her recipe, our bread tastes so different!  Psst!  She recently told me that she's been adding an extra glass of sugar and an extra package of Mahlepi.

Personally, I think this recipe is perfect and I won't be making changes anytime in the future!

½ brick of yeast
3 cups warm water
1 tbsp. sugar
¼ tsp salt
2 to 3 cups flour (to resemble pancakes)

OR (instant riser)
·      pinch of salt
·      add 3 cups warm water and mix
·      add 3 tbspns flour and mix
·      add 3 packs instant yeast and mix
·      let sit in covered pan until risen

Room Temperature: 
12 eggs (beat together with a fork)
1 pound unsalted butter
1-cup canola oil
4 water glasses of sugar

1.  Mix the above in a big bowl.
2.  Add the following:
          ½ tsp. salt
          1 quart (bag) warmed milk (do not bring to boil)
          3 packages of mahlepi
          Juice from 2 oranges
          Rind from 2 oranges (or lemon)

3.  Stir the riser into the above before adding flour

4.  Gradually add 5 Rose flour from a 10 lb bag. (22 Kilo) (add more if necessary according to texture)

5.  Once difficult to mix with a spoon, start kneading with hands.

6.  Tip:  This is a big batch.  When you can no longer knead the dough in the big bowl, start to knead smaller amounts of dough directly on the counter top until it no longer sticks to hands.  

7.  Grease the walls of the bowls and rub the top of the dough with canola oil.  Cover bowl with plastic wrap and set aside to rise for about 2 to 3 hours.  

8.  Cover with towels to keep the dough warm.

9.  Dough is ready once doubled in size.

10.  Once dough is ready, take three pieces of dough at a time.

11.. Roll out balls into strands.

12.  Pleat into a braid.

13.  Let dough rest for at least 15 minutes.  Baste dough with egg wash prior to baking.

14.  Sprinkle sesame seeds over top.

15.  Optional:  Put braided dough into rectangular foil baking pans.  Be sure the dough only fills half the baking plate.  It will rise again.  Grease the insides of the foil pans with Crisco to avoid sticking. Only baste and add sesame seeds prior to baking, after dough has risen again.

16.  Bake at 350° F for 30 minutes (Convection oven)

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