Tsoureki Greek Easter Bread
Although the bread is called Easter Bread, this delicious side can be served any time of the year.
- 1 package active dry yeast
- 1/4 cup warm water
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 4 eggs
- 3/4 cup milk, scalded and cooled to lukewarm
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 1/2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
- About 4 1/4 cups unsifted all-purpose flour
- 1 egg yolk beaten with 1 tablespoon water
- 1/4 cup slivered, blanched almonds
- Scald milk and let cool to room temperature.
- Sprinkle yeast into warm water and stir until dissolved, set aside. Beat butter until creamy then beat in sugar and eggs, one at a time. Add milk, vanilla, lemon peel and 1 cup of the flour, and beat well. Stir in yeast and mix well. Gradually add remaining flour, beating well after each addition. Turn out dough on a lightly floured board and knead until smooth and satiny and no longer sticky.
- Place dough in a bowl, grease the top lightly, cover, and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 45 minutes.
- Heat oven to 350 degrees.
- Punch down dough and divide in half. Divide each piece into 3 equal portions. Form each into a strand about 2 feet long. Place the strands parallel and pinch top ends together. Braid strands; transfer to a greased cookie sheet, forming a ring; pinch ends together. Brush egg yolk mixture evenly over both braided rings and sprinkle with almonds.
- Cover and let rise until almost doubled. Bake for 25 minutes, or until golden brown and loaf sounds hollow when thumped. Serve warm, or let cool and reheat before serving. Either slice or pull apart loaf to serve. Makes 2 bread rings.
- If making for Easter, tuck red dyed eggs into the wreath before baking.