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(Tsoureki)

Greek Easter Bread 2
(Tsoureki)

Ingredients

1 cup milk
cup sweet butter
1 pack active dry yeast
cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs; beaten
5 tablespoons orange juice, divided
1 tablespoon grated orange rind
5 cups sifted flour
Butter; melted
cup slivered almonds
2 tablespoons granulated sugar


Method

In a small saucepan, combine the milk and butter over medium heat and scald. Stir until the butter melts, then pour into a mixing bowl.


When lukewarm, sprinkle in the yeast, and gradually stir in the ½ cup sugar until it dissolves.


Next add the salt, eggs, 3 tablespoons of orange juice and the orange rind, stirring continuously.


Gradually add half the flour until the mixture begins to bubble. Continue adding flour gradually by hand; the dough will be sticky, but not stiff.


Flour your fingers lightly and knead for 15 minutes.


Place the dough in a large buttered bowl, brush the dough with melted butter, cover and place in a warm area to rise until doubled in bulk (approximately 2 to 3 hours).


Punch the dough down and divide into 2 parts. Divide each half into 3 parts and roll each into a long rope about 10” x 2”. Braid the three ropes together; pinch to seal the ends.


Repeat with the other half of the dough to make a second tsoureki.


Place on a cookie sheet, cover, and let rise until doubled in bulk (approx. 1 ½ hours).


Meanwhile, prepare the glaze by mixing the remaining 2 tablespoons orange juice, 2 tablespoons granulated sugar and the slivered almonds in a small bowl.


Bake at 375ºF degrees for about 20 minutes.


Remove from the oven and with a pastry brush glaze the tops and sides of loaves.


Return to the oven and bake for another 15 to 20 minutes until the colour is a rich and shiny chestnut.

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