Greek Easter Bread Image by: Greek Easter Bread
Tsoureki, a traditional Greek sweet bread with dyed red eggs nestled on top, breaks the fast of Lent and symbolizes the rebirth and blood of Christ. Rich in eggs and butter, it's sprinkled with almonds or sesame seeds and flavoured with orange, vanilla, allspice or mahleb, a sweet cherry spice. These breads are often saved for wall decorations. The eggs are coloured with dye found in Greek bakeries.
5 small eggs
1 tbsp (15 mL) vinegar
1 pkg red Greek Easter egg dye
3/4 cup (175 mL) packed brown sugar
2 tbsp (25 mL) active dry yeast
1/2 cup (125 mL) milk
2 tbsp (25 mL) butter
1 tsp (5 mL) salt
2 tbsp (25 mL) grated orange rind
3-1/4 cups (800 mL) all-purpose flour
3-1/4 cups (800 mL) cake-and-pastry flour
1 egg yolk
1 tsp (5 mL) liquid honey
1 tsp (5 mL) milk
1/2 cup (125 mL) slivered almonds or sesame seeds
1. Place eggs in saucepan; cover with water to come 1 inch (2.5 cm) above eggs. Add vinegar and red dye; cover and bring to boil over high heat. Remove from heat; let stand, covered, for 20 minutes. Drain and transfer to bowl; wipe eggs dry and refrigerate. (Make-ahead: Refrigerate for up to 2 days.)
2. Dough: In measuring cup, dissolve 1 tsp (5 mL) of the brown sugar in 1/2 cup (125 mL) warm water. Sprinkle in yeast; let stand until frothy, about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, in small saucepan, heat together milk, butter, salt and remaining sugar over medium heat, stirring, until butter is melted; let cool until lukewarm.
3. In large bowl, whisk eggs. Whisk in yeast mixture. Whisk in milk mixture and orange rind. Stir in 2-3/4 cups (675 mL) each of the all-purpose and cake-and-pastry flours to make soft sticky dough.
4. Turn out dough onto floured surface, knead for 10 minutes, adding equal amounts of the remaining flours to make dough elastic. Let stand for 5 minutes. Divide into thirds; roll each into 22-inch (55 cm) long rope, letting rest if too springy. Place side by side on greased baking sheet; pinch together on one end.
5. Starting at pinched end, braid dough. Join ends to form circle, leaving 4-inch (10 cm) space in centre; pinch to seal. Cover loosely with plastic wrap. Let rise in warm draft-free place until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.
6. Topping: Press eggs into braid. Stir egg yolk, honey and milk; brush over loaf. Sprinkle with almonds. Bake in centre of 375°F (190°C) oven until golden and loaf sounds hollow when tapped on bottom, about 25 minutes. Let cool on rack. Do not eat eggs. (Make-ahead: Wrap in plastic wrap and freeze for up to 1 week.)
Makes 1 loaf, 12 to 16 servings.
Per each of 16 servings: About 283 cal, 8 g pro, 6 g total fat (2 g sat. fat), 49 g carb, 2 g fibre, 76 mg chol, 188 mg sodium. % RDI: 4% calcium, 26% iron, 5% vit A, 2% vit C, 45% folate.
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