Egg free Tsoureki! Who would have ever thought this would be possible? Not me! That's for sure!
One of my family members has an allergy to eggs and has been instructed to keep away from baked goods containing eggs for a while while her BIE treatments take affect. So when I stumbled across a recipe in Argiro Barbarigou's cookbook EVERYDAY GREEK, I instantly knew I had to make this bread. By the way, this is an amazing cookbook that I highly recommend. Argiro's recipe was delicious, however, it didn't quite meet our needs for eggless Tsoureki. Argiro's recipe was more like a cinnamon twist. (A wonderful recipe that I will post later this week).
As we sampled the cinnamon bread, I looked over to my daughter and sensed a sadness. For the first time ever, she was not going to be able to eat Tsoureki. I had to do something about it! Momma to the rescue!
I put together a combination of a few different Tsoureki recipes I've inherited over the years and combined it with Argiro's recipe. And voila, THE BEST TSOUREKI EVER! In fact, I found this Tsoureki even tastier than aunt Toula's recipe.
1,100 grams 5 Rose Flour to start + 2 Tbsp
80 grams fresh Yeast
500 grams lukewarm Milk
500 grams Sugar
250 grams melted unsalted Butter
1/2 tsp mastic powder
2 tsp mahlepi powder
1/2 tsp vanilla powder (optional)
1/4 tsp salt + 1/4 tsp salt for the riser
Zest of 1 Orange or Lemon
Juice of 1 Orange or Lemon
5 Cardomom pods (optional)
1 tsp Anise powder (optional)
1. Prepare Riser (Sponge): 80 grams fresh yeast (mashed), 200 grams tepid water, 1 Tbsp sugar + 1 to 2 Tbsp flour + 1/4 Tsp salt. Mix well, cover and set aside until it doubles in size. (approximately 20 minutes).
2. In a small saucepan, boil the cardamom pods plus 1 tsp anise. Strain and reserve 4 Tbsp liquid.
3. Mix cardamom/anise liquid with warmed milk, melted butter and orange juice.
4. Mix in the sugar, salt, mastic, mahlep, orange zest and yeast.
5. Mix well and then gradually add the flour and yeast riser (sponge). Once no longer able to mix with a spoon, start kneading with hands. Add more flour if necessary until the dough is no longer sticking to hands.
6. Put dough in a big bowl and set aside to rise in warm place. TIP: Warm oven to 200F and turn off. Put dough into a big metal bowl, cover the bowl with a towel and put into warm oven. Allow to double in size (approx 1.5 hours).
7. Divide dough in half. Divide each half into 3 balls. Roll out each ball lengthwise and pleat the 3 strands.
9. Allow to settle for 10 minutes prior to baking for 30 minutes at 350F.