Tsoureki is a very popular traditional type of sweet bread that is baked for Easter in Greece. It is flavoured with different spices according to the traditions of each geographic region within Greece. In Northern Greece, where I am from, we use “Kakoule” which is ground cardamom seeds with “Mahlepi” (a.k.a. as mahlab which is ground seed of wild-cheries). “Kakoule” is also a “secret” way to give great flavour to Greek coffee! Enjoy!
Makes 6 braids
- 3 kg of flour
- 2 tablespoons Dry Yeast
- 1 kg sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 450 grams fresh unsalted butter
- 6 large eggs
- 1/2 liter milk
- dashes Pure Vanilla Extract
- 1 tablespoon Mahlab (mahlpei ground pits of wild-cherries)
- 1 tablespoon “Kakoule” – ground cardamom seeds
- In a small bowl disolve the yeast in a cup of lukewarm milk and a few tablespoons of the flour and let it stand for 15 mintues.
- Gently beat the sugar and eggs in a bowl until the sugar is disolved. Add the milk, vanilla, mahlab and ground cardamom seeds.
- In a seperate bowl sift the flour and baking powder. Create a little opening (whole) in the center of the bowl and add the liquid mixture. Start slowly stirring the flour with the liquids to create the dough.
- Melt the butter and add it in small batches to the dough. Knead the dough well but keep it soft and smooth. Let the dough stand covered in a warm place and let it rise until it has doubled in size for approx. 1,5 to 2 hours.
- When the dough has rised seperate it in 6 parts (balls). Seperate each ball in 3 parts and roll each out into long thick “ropes”. Take the 3 “ropes” and braid them.
- Preheat the oven to 330 F (165 C). In a small bowl mix egg-white with water and brush some over each braid. You can also add almond slivers and/or sesame seeds. Let the braids stand and rise for about 45 minutes to 1 hour.
- Bake them for 30 – 40 minutes until they have a nice golden-brown colour