Tsoureki

Plaited Easter bread.
Plaited Easter bread. Photo: Jennifer Soo
Dietary
Vegetarian

A Greek Easter bread.

Ingredients

2 tsp dried yeast

2 ½ tbsp caster sugar

2 tbsp warm water

80g soft butter

2 eggs

500g plain flour, sifted

140ml warm milk

1 tsp lemon rind, finely grated

1 tbsp olive oil

1 egg, lightly beaten

6 quail eggs, coloured*

*Colour quail eggs with egg dye (available from Greek delis) according to directions on packet. Dry well.

Method

Dissolve the yeast and ½ tsp sugar in warm water. Cover and stand in a warm, draught-free place for 10 minutes or until the mixture is frothy. Beat remaining sugar and butter in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add flour, milk, lemon rind and yeast mixture and mix to a soft dough.

Turn out on a lightly floured surface and knead until dough is soft and elastic, adding a little more flour if necessary. Transfer to a lightly oiled bowl, brush the dough with oil to coat lightly and cover with a damp cloth. Stand in a warm place for about one and a half hours or until doubled in bulk.

Punch down, then knead dough on a lightly floured surface for 1-2 minutes, or until smooth and elastic. Cover and stand to rise again. Punch down and divide into 6 equal portions. Roll each portion into a long strand, pulling to stretch it further. Plait 3 strands together and fold ends under to make a loaf. Repeat with remaining strands.

Preheat oven to 190C.

Place on an oiled oven tray and brush with beaten egg. Carefully push 2 or 3 quail eggs into each loaf. Set aside in a warm place for 40 minutes. Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until cooked through and bread sounds hollow when tapped on the base with fingertips.

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