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Greek Tsoureki Easter Bread


1 cup milk
1/2 cup sweet butter
1 package active dry yeast
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp salt
2 eggs, beaten
5 tbsp orange juice
1 tbsp grated orange rind
5 1/2 cup sifted flour
1 butter, melted
1 red-dyed, hard-boiled eggs
1/4 cup slivered almonds
2 tbsp granulated sugar

In a small saucepan, combine the milk and butter over medium heat and
scald. Stir until the butter melts, then pour into a mixing bowl.
When lukewarm, sprinkle in the yeast, and with fingers or a heavy
spoon gradually stir in the 1/2 cup sugar until it dissolves. Then
add the salt, eggs 3 tablespoons of the orange juice, and the orange
rind, stirring continuously, and gradually add half the flour until
the mixture begins to bubble. Continue adding flour gradually by
hand; the dough will be sticky, but should not be stiff. Flour your
fingers lightly and knead for 15 minutes. Place the dough in a large
buttered bowl, brush the dough with melted butter, cover, and place
in a warm area to rise until doubled in bulk (approximately 2 to 3
Punch the dough down and divide into 2 parts. Divide each half
into 3 parts and roll each into a long rope about 10" x 2". Braid the
three ropes together; pinch to seal the ends if leaving long, or join
together to form a long round loaf (see note below). Repeat with the
other half of the dough to make a second tsoureki. Place in large
baking pans or on a cookie sheet, cover, and let rise until doubled
in bulk (approx. 1 1/2 hours).
Meanwhile, prepare the glaze by mixing the remaining orange juice,
remaining sugar, and the almonds in a small bowl. Bake the tsourekia
in a 375 degree oven for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and with a
pastry brush glaze the tops and sides of loaves. Return to the oven
and bake for another 15 to 20 minutes until the color is a rich and
shiny chestnut.
Note: If using the Easter eggs, tuck them into the center when you
shape the loaves, leave until loaves have doubled and bake them with
the loaf. After baking, though lovely, the eggs will be inedible.
Also in some provinces, the tsoureki is formed with a large braid and
a smaller one over it, making a much larger loaf requiring a longer
baking time.


Servings: 2



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