This is sweet brioche style bread. I love having for breakfast with some Greek coffee. I usually dip it in my coffee. This Easter bread symbolizes the resurrection of Christ. Tsoureki is also called lambropsomo. The Greek word Lambropsomo is a combination of two words; lambro which means "bright light"; and psomo which means bread. It translates to shining-bread or the epiphany-bread.
The bread is usually braided and adorned with a beautiful red Easter egg. It is traditionally eaten during the resurrection meal - a light meal consumed after the midnight Divine Liturgy on Saturday night. They are fun to make and during Easter smaller braided versions are made to give to family and friends.
The tsoureki has two unusual ingredients; mahlepi and masticha. Mahlepi is a Mediterranean wild cherries. Masticha is a white tree resin (“Greek chewing gum) from a tree that grows on the island of Chios, Greece.
- 2 pound self-raising flour
- 1/2 cup self-raising flour, for dusting surface
- 14 gram dry yeast
- 1 1/3 stick (150 grams) unsalted butter
- 1 cup castor sugar
- 4 eggs, beaten
- 1 teaspoon ground mahlepi
- 3 clusters masticha, crushed with 1/4 teaspoon of sugar
- 1 1/2 cup milk
- 3/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 egg yolk, beaten for topping
- 1 tablespoon milk
- 2 ounce (50 grams) flaked almonds
- 2 dyed red eggs (optional)
- In a bowl place the flour, mahlepi, salt and masticha and mix to combine the ingredients.
- Warm up ½ cup of milk. Make a well in the middle of the mixture and add the yeast in the center. Pour the milk in the center cover and set aside for 10 minutes so that the yeast starts to bubble.
- Place the remaining milk in a saucepan along with the sugar and butter warm this up. Mix the sugar well so that it fully dissolves.
- Add the milk mixture to the flour mixture and mix well. Add the eggs and mix well until all the ingredients combine. Place the dough on a floured surface; knead the mixture well until it becomes a malleable dough, about 15-20 minutes.
- Cover and allow it to rise in a warm place until it doubles in size. This should take 1-11/2 hours.
- Uncover the dough and knead for a further 5 minutes and shape it into a large braid i.e. one large braid with 3 ropes to form the loaf or braided circle. Tuck the two eggs into the braids (optional). Cover with a clean tea towel and set aside for a further 20 minutes.
- While the tsoureki is rising Preheat oven to 345F/170C.
- Place the egg and milk in a bowl and mix this well. Brush the beaten egg all over the loaf and sprinkle the flaked almonds.
- Bake in the oven for 45 minutes, until golden brown.
- When the tsoureki has cooked place it on a cooling rack to cool down.