For the dough:
- 24g dry yeast
- 100ml lukewarm water
- 3g ground mastiha
- 10g ground mahlepi
- 135g butter (room temp)
- 200g sugar
- 30g Wild Nectar Orange Blossom honey
- 150ml milk (room temp)
- 4 medium eggs (room temp)
- 870g strong white (bread) flour
- Zest of 1 orange
- 1 egg
- 1 tbsp water
For the Syrup:
- 100g sugar
- 50g Wild Nectar Orange Blossom honey
- 150ml water
- To prepare this tsoureki recipe (Greek Easter Bread), add in a bowl the lukewarm water, a pinch of sugar and yeast and stir. Wrap well with plastic wrap and set aside for about 6-7 minutes, until the yeast rises and starts bubbling. Be careful not to add hot water, as it will kill the yeast, nor cold, as it will take forever for the Greek Easter bread to rise.
- Use a pestle or a blender to ground the mastiha and mahlepi, along with a pinch of sugar and set aside. These aromatic spices will give Greek Easter bread its distinctive taste and amazing smell.
- In a saucepan add the butter, sugar and milk. Place over very low heat and stir the mixture, until the butter has melted and the sugar has dissolved. The key is to melt the butter at very low heat, so that the temperature doesn’t ‘kill’ the yeast. Remove the pan from the stove and check the temperature. The mixture should be lukewarm. If it is warmer, leave to cool down for a few minutes and check again.
- Pour the butter mixture in a large bowl and whisk in the eggs. Add the yeast mixture and whisk to combine.
- In the mixer’s bowl add the flour, the ground spices, orange zest and the butter-egg-yeast mixture from step 4. Using a dough hook mixer at low speed, until the ingredients start to combine and then mix at medium-high speed for about 15 minutes, until the dough doesn’t stick on the sides of the bowl. At this point the dough should be really soft. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and place in a warm environment, until at least it doubles in size (about 3-4 hours). If the environment is cold, preheat the oven at 30C/85F, turn it off and place the bowl inside.
- Gently deflate the tsoureki dough with your hands and cut in 6 equal portions (three for each Greek Easter bread, this recipe makes 2). Take one piece of the dough (do not flour the working surface!) and roll it a little with your hands.
- Hold with your hands from the edges and shake to stretch the dough into a rope. This technique will help the Greek Easter bread (tsoureki) form the characteristic stringy texture.
- Form the Greek Easter bread into a braid and transfer on a large baking tray layered with parchment paper.
- Repeat the same procedure with the second tsoureki.
- In a small bowl add the egg and 1 tbsp water and whisk with a fork. Brush the top of each Greek Easter bread with the egg, being careful not to deflate it, bake in a preheated oven at 150C fan forced for about 30-40 minutes, until nicely browned and fluffy. If it's getting too brown too quickly cover with some parchment paper and continue baking.
- Although the traditional tsoureki recipe doesn’t call for syrup, garnishing Greek Easter bread with just a little syrup, always gives a little something! Especially with our Wild Nectar touch! Prepare the syrup for the Greek Easter bread just right before you turn the tsoureki out of the oven. In a small pot add the sugar, Wild Nectar Orange Blossom honey and water and bring to the boil. As soon as the sugar dissolves and honey melts, remove the pot from the stove and ladle the hot syrup over the hot tsoureki.
- Let the Greek Easter bread cool down and wrap well with plastic wrap, so that it doesn’t become hard and dry. Store for up to a 5-6 days at room temperature or up to a couple of months in the freezer.