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Recipes EASTER FEASTER PART 2: CARAWAY AND CRANBERRY TSOUREKI

EASTER FEASTER PART 2: CARAWAY AND CRANBERRY TSOUREKI

Prep 2.5 hrs
Cooking 25 mins
Serves 6 - 8

Festive breads are such a treat and we think they don’t come much more festive than Greek tsoureki. Soft, shiny, lightly spiced and prettily decorated with bright red eggs, how could it not be? The traditional tsoureki is flavoured with mastika and mechlebe, spices that are pretty hard to find in SA. So we’re giving it a Cape Herb & Spice twist by making our tsoureki with caraway seeds and dried cranberries. It’s a perfect combination that just shouts special occasion!

- WHAT YOU WILL NEED -

  • 1 x 10g sachet dry yeast (minus a ¼ teaspoon)
  • third of a heaped cup white sugar
  • 3½ cups white bread flour
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp Cape Herb & spice CARAWAY SEEDS
  • finely grated zest of one orange (a microplane works best)
  • 4 Tbsp salted butter (at soft room temperature)
  • ½ cup plus 1 Tbsp lukewarm water
  • ½ cup plus 1 Tbsp milk
  • ½ cup dried cranberries, roughly chopped
  • 3 medium eggs
  • red food colour
  • 1 egg, whisked well with two Tbsp milk or water

- METHOD -

Remove a ¼ teaspoon of yeast from the 10g packet and discard – if you use it all, the recipe contains too much yeast. (Cook’s note: it’s important to use an actual measuring spoon and not to try eyeball it with a normal teaspoon.) Add the remaining yeast in the packet to a large mixing bowl along with the flour, sugar, Cape Herb & Spice's Caraway seeds and salt. Stir briefly to combine, then add the orange zest and soft butter. Next add half the milk and water and stir to combine. Add the cranberries and gradually add the remaining water and milk as you mix. Tumble dough onto a very lightly floured surface. The dough will be incredibly wet and sticky at this point and you will be tempted to add more flour. Don’t! Kneed the dough for 7-10 minutes. As you work the gluten in the dough, the texture will change and it will become smooth and much firmer.

Place dough ball in a large bowl lightly painted with vegetable oil, cover with cling film and leave to prove for 60-90 minutes until the dough ball has doubled in size. Knock dough flat, divide into three equal pieces and roll three long sausages. Place them next to each other, squeeze dough sausages together at one end and start plaiting (like you would braid a ponytail). Tuck the ends in neatly underneath. Place loaf on a baking sheet lined with baking paper and allow it to prove for another hour until it has doubled in size.

In the meantime boil three eggs in water containing red food colour until hard. Allow eggs to cool. (Cook’s note: You need a LOT of food colour in the water if you want bright red eggs instead of pink ones.)

Once the loaf has doubled in size, push the red eggs into it, brush the loaf with the egg wash and bake until golden for 25-30 minutes in a preheated 200 ºC oven. Insert a thin skewer into the bread. If it comes out clean, your tsoureki is ready to devour. Serve warm with loads of lovely salted butter.

 

Recipe concept & photography by Lizet Hartley.

Lizet Hartley is a freelance stills and reel food stylist, food photographer and recipe developer. In her spare time she – rather predictably – cooks. Get more of her recipes on her blog at http://www.melkkos-merlot.co.za

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