Have you heard of tsoureki? Tsoureki is popular Greek sweet bread that is made for holidays and enjoyed for breakfast. Traditionally, is made of flour, butter, eggs and is scented with ground mahleb, a type of cherry stone and mastic, a tree extract. It needs a lot of kneading and it takes hours to make it, but it is worth the effort It is so fluffy, yummy, and fragrant!
Tsoureki: Greek Sweet Bread [Vegan]
- 3 3/4 cups, plus scant 1/4 cup bread flour
- 1/2 cup, plus 2 tablespoons applesauce
- 1/3 cup, plus 2 3/4 tablespoons lukewarm soy milk
- 1/3 cup, plus 2 1/4 tablespoons vegan butter
- 5/8 cup brown sugar
- Zest of 1/2 orange
- .53 ounces dry yeast
- 1/2 teaspoons salt
- .17 ounces ground mahleb (see notes)
- 1/4 teaspoon ground mastic (see notes)
- Almond slivers for garnish and non-dairy milk, for coating
- In a big bowl place flour, mahleb, mastic, salt, and orange zest.
- In a pan melt over low heat butter and sugar. Remove from heat and add applesauce. Stir to combine. Add this mixture into the flour.
- In another bowl, pour lukewarm milk and dissolve yeast with an eggbeater. Pour it into flour, too. Mix the ingredients with circular movements.
- Initially, the dough will be watery and sticky but as you work it, it will take on a doughy consistency. After about 20 minutes of kneading, it will be ready. The dough should not stick on the bowl anymore.
- Put the bowl with the dough in the oven at 120°F and allow to rise for 2 1/2 hours (it has to triple its volume). Get it out of the oven, knead it again, and divide it into five long stripes.
- Put them back in the oven for 1 1/2 hours until risen. Then, roll the dough into ropes and give the shape you want to your tsoureki. Either make individual tsoureki-snails (like in the photo) or make either make one big braid.
- Place tsoureki buns on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and put in the oven again for 2 hours until risen.
Mahlab is an aromatic spice made from the seeds of a species of cherry. You should be able to find it at Indian and Middle Eastern groceries. Mastic is a resin obtained from the mastic tree. If you do not have access to Greek ingredients, omit mastic.