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Tsoureki (Greek Easter Bread)
 
Ingredients  
10 cakes / 150g yeast (if using active dry yeast follow manufacturer's instructions) 
13 cups / 1.5kg all-purpose flour 
1 pinch of salt 
2oz / 50g cinnamon sticks 
tsp mastic, powdered 
8 eggs 
1 3/4 cups / 400g sugar 
1 generous cup / 250 ml milk 
1 1/3 cups / 300g butter 
1 egg yolk 
1 hard-cooked egg, dyed red 
Sesame seeds or flaked almonds, according to preference 
 
Preparation
Dissolve the yeast in a little luckwarm milk. Add 5 tablespoons of flour, stir well and leave to stand in a warm place for one hour. Meanwhile, melt the butter, heat the milk, and leave the both to cool. Place the cinnamon sticks in a small saucepan, adding enough water to cover them, then bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Pour off the liquid and set it aside. Pour in the melted butter, milk, and cinnamon water. Beat the eggs and sugar together until frothy and add to the other ingredients. Mix together thoroughly. Knead the dough until it is completely smooth, then cover and leave to rise in a warm place for about two hours. Preheat the oven to 350F (180C). Once the dough has doubled in size, punch it down and knead again thoroughly. Roll out the dough into three long sausage shapes and plait them into a large bun. Place the dough onto a well greased baking sheet and brush with egg yolk. Press the red egg into the middle of the plait, sprinkle a few flaked almonds over the top and bake in a preheated oven for about 35-45 minutes until the bread it golden brown.

excerpts from: "Culinaria Greece" , by Marianthi Minola


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