Traditional Greek Easter Bread : George Calombaris

We usually associate Easter with eggs (symbolising rebirth and new beginnings), so it made sense to chose an Easter recipe from the recipes developed by George Calombaris for Essential Eggs (which supplies Calombaris’ restaurants with their eggs) to share with you on Inside Cuisine. Essential free-range Eggs is a brand that he says he feels he can put his name on with confidence. “I support Essential Eggs because it makes sense with what I do,” Calombaris explained.

And just as good, is that this Tsoureki recipe encompasses Colambaris’ Greek heritage of which he is so proud.

photo by Sam Karanikos

Traditional Greek Easter Bread
Tsoureki

Makes: 4 loaves

Ingredients:
8 free range eggs, 1 for egg wash
250 g caster sugar
750 ml plain flour
5 g Mahlepi
70 ml GC extra virgin olive oil
30 g butter
250 ml full cream milk
40 g dry yeast
10 g Red egg dye, powdered
Sesame seeds or flaked almonds
Salt

Method:
1. Pre heat oven to 180 degrees C.
2. Combine 3 eggs, sugar, flour, mahlepi, olive oil and butter and commence kneading the dough in a stand mixer with a dough hook.
3. Gently warm milk in a saucepan (don’t exceed 45 degrees C) and pour into a bowl with the yeast. Stir to dissolve and add into the mixer. Place on a medium speed for 5-6 mins on a moderate speed. The dough is ready when it is coming off the side of the bowl cleanly.
4. Cover with cling film, and allow to prove in a warm place for 2 hours.
5. Meanwhile, cook the remaining eggs to a soft boil (5 min) in a medium sized saucepan, using enough water to cover and red food dye. Allow to cool.
6. Cut dough into 4 portions. Roll into a snake, tie into a knot and allow to prove on a greased oven tray for another hour. Brush with an egg wash, and sprinkle some sesame seeds.
7. Cook for 15 mins in the oven or until it doubles in size. Take out and gently place red soft boiled eggs into each loaf, place back into the oven for a further 25 mins aprox or until golden and cooked.
8. Allow to cool on a resting rack. Serve.

Note: Mahlepi is a spice found at most Greek or Middle Eastern delicatessens. It is sold in powder form. It’s always available around Easter time.

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