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Tsoureki (Pascal Bread)

Tsoureki (Pascal Bread)

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Holy Thursday is the day that baking is done within the house, the Pascal bread (tsoureki),  Pascal shortbread (koulouria) and the dying of the red eggs occurs. No other jobs or chores around the house should be taken care of. Dora Kitinas-Gogos shares this Tsoureki recipe:

TSOUREKI (PASCAL BREAD)

This is a fail safe recipe; it has come to me via a friend from Thessaloniki that her mother taught her that has been in their family for generations. I have translated it from the Greek, which utilises Greek ingredients, and have substituted with what we have here; it is a large quantity as in Greece baking is not for the weak. If you want a smaller quantity, half the recipe.

INGREDIENTS:
*Amongst the spices there is a spice called κουκουλέ (koukoule), I cant find a translation for it and therefore have omitted it, if you know what it is please include it and please let me know what it is, thank you.
3 kilos plain flour
126 grams fresh yeast
1,250 grams sugar
10 – 12 eggs
1 litre warm milk
1 soupspoon of salt
1 packet of mahlepi
1 packet masticha
2 tablespoons of seed oil
125 grams of unsalted butter

*Tips

  1. Everything has to be warm
  2. The butter goes in at the end
  3. We don’t kneed, we only fold till everything becomes one. This is important as to much kneading, makes the gluten more glutinous and will make the tsoureki hard.

METHOD:

  1. Dissolve the yeast in a glass of warm water adding a little of the flour till it has a runny dough consistency, cover and put aside in a warm spot till it rises
  2. In a large bowel put the sugar, salt, the spices, the seed oil.
  3. Add the warm milk and mix
  4. Beat the eggs slightly in a separate bowl and add them the mixture
  5. Add the yeast and mix everything preferably by hand
  6. Add the flour gradually folding gently by hand till we have soft dough.
  7. Melt the butter and add while warm but not hot and fold in gently till all the butter is one with the dough
  8. The dough should be warm; we put it aside to rise covered well. I usually cover with a blanket as previous women in my family have done. Leave for at least an hour or when the dough had double its size.
  9. Make the tsourekia into any shape that you wish and you might like to add a red egg
  10. Put the tsourekia aside to rest for 1/2 hour, brush with an egg yolk that has been slightly diluted in warm water
  11. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes in a medium heat of 170 C, the time depends on the size.

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