• 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 5 tbsp butter
  • 5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • Scant 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 oz (1 packet) fast-acting dry yeast
  • 3 tbsp orange juice
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • For the Glaze:
  • 3 tbsp orange juice
  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup almonds, slivered
Tsoureki – Greek Easter Bread

This famous festive Greek Easter bread can be shaped a variety of ways. The most common loaf braids 3 ropes and adds red-dye eggs.

The braids are symbolic of the Holy Trinity; the eggs, of the blood of Christ and fertility.

Preparation:

Place the milk in a small saucepan and warm over low heat. Add the butter, stirring it into the milk as it melts, then allow to cool. Place 1 cup of the flour in a mixing bowl with the salt, orange zest and 1 tsp of the sugar.

Stir in the yeast, then beat in the butter and milk to make a batter. Cover and leave for 20 minutes until the mixture becomes bubbly. Then, add the remaining 4 cups flour, sugar, orange juice and eggs, and mix into a soft dough.

Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 5 minutes. Place in a lightly oiled bowl, brush with a little melted butter, cover and leave for 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until doubled in size.

Knead again and then divide the dough in half. Shape each piece into 3 ropes, each 12 inches long. Pinch the 3 ropes together at one end, then braid the 3 ropes into a plaited loaf.

Repeat the process with the other 3 ropes. Place the 2 loaves on oiled baking sheets, cover and leave for 30 to 40 minutes or until doubled in size. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 375F for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare the glaze. In a small saucepan, warm the orange juice over low heat. Add the sugar and stir to dissolve it into the orange juice.

Remove the loaves from the oven and brush on the glaze. Sprinkle the slivered almonds on top of the loaves. Bake for 20 minutes more or until the loaves are golden brown and give off a hollow sound when tapped.

Eat either hot or cold.

* Makes 2 loaves

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