This looks far more complicated to make than it really is. It is just a rich, sweet bread dough plaited and left to rise to make a festive Easter treat. In Greece this is known as Tsoureki and is served at Easter to family and friends as a blessing for the festive season. There are many variations of this recipe and it can be iced or dusted with sesame seeds. The eggs that are baked in the dough are only for decoration as they are very dry, so it is a good idea to serve with extra coloured eggs if liked.
- For this Easter recipe
- you will need:
- 500g strong white bread flour
- 50g butter
- 2tsp easy bake or fast action yeast
- 1tbsp sugar
- 1tsp salt
- 150ml milk
- 75ml water
- 1 egg, beaten plus 6 eggs for boiling and beaten egg to glaze
- Grated zest of 2 oranges
- Good pinch of ground cinnamon
- Red and blue gel or paste food colouring
Place the flour in a mixing bowl, add the butter and rub in until it forms fine crumbs. Stir in the yeast, sugar and salt.
Warm the milk until it is just hot, then add the water – the mixture should be just warm to the touch. Add to the flour with the beaten egg, orange zest and cinnamon and mix well to make a soft dough. Add a little more water or milk if necessary.
Knead in an electric mixer for 5 mins or turn out onto a lightly floured work top and knead for 10 mins until smooth and elastic.
Divide the dough into 3 equal pieces. Roll each into a long sausage about 45cm long. Join together at one end, then plait and join the ends together to form a circle. Place on a baking tray and cover loosely with oiled cling film. Leave in a warm place to rise for about an hour or until doubled in size.
Meanwhile, boil the eggs. Add food colouring to two pans of boiling water, divide the eggs between the pans and boil for 10 mins. Remove and cool
Preheat the oven to 190°C/170°C Fan/Gas Mark 5.
When the dough has doubled in size, brush with beaten egg and place 4 of the boiled eggs onto the plait, pressing them in slightly. Bake the plait for 25-30 mins until golden brown, risen and it sounds hollow when tapped underneath. Allow to cool on a wire rack. Serve sliced with the remaining boiled eggs for decoration.
This bread is best eaten the day it is made, but can be toasted the next day.