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How to make Emmanuel's Tsoureki (Greek Easter Bread)

Posted on April 09, 2020

Ingredients:

70g Strong White Flour

20g fresh / 10g Dried Yeast

20g Sugar

70g Water (warm water)

200g Strong White Flour

30g Butter (salted or unsalted)

60g Sugar

4g Mahleb or Ground Apricot Kernels

4g Cardamom

8g Orange Zest (zest of 1 orange)

1 Medium Egg

Egg wash (1medium egg beaten with a pinch of salt)

Sesame Seeds (optional)

Extra flour for dusting

Vegetable / Sunflower oil for greasing the tin

Equipment:

1 large mixing bowl (+/- 2l capacity)

2 small mixing bowls (+/- 1l capacity)

1 wooden spoon

1 whisk

2 pastry brushes

1 bread baking tin (500g capacity)

1 Baking tray lined with silicon paper or non-stick parchment

1 Roasting Tray

1 Saucepan with a 500ml capacity

  • For this recipe you require 3 mixing bowls 1 big and 2 small that when placed on the big bowl can act as a lid.
  • Start by making the pre-ferment.
  • In the large mixing bowl, dissolve the yeast in the 70g warm water.
  • Add the 70g flour, 20g sugar and mix until thoroughly mixed together.
  • Allow to ferment for +/- 30minutes or until doubled in volume, cover with a small bowl.
  • In the other small bowl weigh out the 200g of flour and set aside.
  • While the preferment rises, melt the butter in a saucepan.
  • Once the butter has melted add sugar, turn down to a low heat; stirring with a wooden spoon so the mixture does not stick.
  • Once they have all melted together take off the heat and mix in the orange zest, spices and allow to cool, whisking the mixture from time to time.
  • Whisk in the egg to the warm butter mixture and mix until it is thoroughly combined.
  • Uncover the ferment, at this time it should look nice and spongy.
  • Mix the 200g flour and the butter mixture into the ferment and mix until it comes together it will be quite a stiff mixture.
  • Cover with the bowl that had the flour in it.
  • Leave to stand for 10 minutes.
  • In the bowl, knead the dough for 10 seconds, or until the dough resists.
  • Start by squashing the dough with your knuckles and fingers to flatten out any lumps. It should now look pancake-shaped.
  • Lift a portion of the dough up from the side and fold it into the middle and press with your knuckles.
  • Turn the bowl 90° clockwise and lift another portion of the dough up from the side and fold it into the middle and press with your knuckles.
  • Repeat steps 16 to 18 another 8 times 10 times in total.
  • Turn the ball of dough over in the bowl and, make a finger mark in the dough (to indicate the first knead), and cover with the bowl that had the flour in it.
  • Leave to rest for 10 minutes making sure that it is covered.
  • Repeat steps 16-20 another 3 times making sure the mixture is covered between kneads and remembering to mark the dough indicating the amount of kneads done. If the dough starts to resist and starts to tear put less pressure as you knead also if you can only knead it 8 times and it starts to resist making it difficult to knead stop.
  • After you have done 4 kneads with a 10 minute break between them leave the dough to rise for 1 hour, making sure it is covered. If the dough is not covered a skin will form and this will affect the end result.)
  • You are looking for a smooth, elastic dough. If you think the dough is not kneaded enough repeat steps 16-20 another time.
  • After 1hour the dough should have risen +/- doubled in volume, punch down with your hands.
  • Divide the dough into 4 pieces (+/- 115g).
  • Roll out the dough into small sausage shapes and then plat all 4 pieces, once platted place on a tray lined with silicon paper or in a 500g loaf tin.
  • Let the loaf rise until slightly less than double in volume +/- 30 to 45 minutes, then brush the top with egg wash (1 medium egg lightly beaten with a pinch of salt) and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
  • After +/- 20 minutes or when the loaf is halfway risen; pre heat the oven to 250C (500F) Gas 9 on fan setting with a deep tray at the bottom.
  • Place the loaf (on the tray or in the tin) in the oven at 250C (500F) Gas 9 add a cup of water on the hot tray to form steam, lower to 200C (400F) Gas 6.
  • Bake for +/- 20 minutes until golden brown.
  • The loaf will be baked when tapped on the bottom and you can hear a hollow sound.
  • Turn out of its shape and allow to cool on a wire rack.

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