500 grams Mitsides All Purpose Flour
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 tbs mehlep powder
1/4 tbs mastic powder
1/8 tsp vanilla powder
pinch of salt
1/2 cup of milk
1 tbs dry yeast
1/8 cup fresh orange juice
zest of one large orange
egg wash for brushing
almond flakes and sugar for sprinkling
1. Heat half of the milk to luke warm temperature. In a small bowl, add the yeast together with the warm milk and 1 teaspoon of the sugar and stir until the yeast and sugar have dissolved. Cover the top of the bowl with plastic wrap and let rise for about 1 hour, until it has become foamy.
2. Put the flour, and all the dry ingredients (including the vanilla, mastic, mehlep, salt) in a large bowl. Mix together these ingredients.
3. Beat the eggs and sugar and 1 teaspoon of the orange rind in a mixer on high speed for about 7 minutes until the mixture appears creamy.
4. Melt the butter on the stove or microwave. Also warm the rest of the milk to luke warm temperature.
5. In the bowl with the dry ingredients, push the dry ingredients to one side of the bowl. Add the liquid ingredients (yeast, orange juice, orange rind, creamed eggs and sugar, and the rest of the warm milk) to the other side of the bowl.
6. Begin to bring some of the flour to the liquid side of the bowl and with your hands begin to mix the flour into the liquid mixture massaging the flour lightly between your fingers and the liquid. The mixture will be very sticky at first, but as you gradually mix more of the flour into the liquid side it will become a very soft dough.
7. Once all the mixture has become a soft dough, let it rest in a clean bowl covered with plastic wrap and blankets over top until it has doubled in size – at least 2 hours.
8. Form the “tsoureki”. Divide the dough in half. Then divide each half into as many braid strands as you wish and make a braid with the dough. Place on parchment paper on a baking tray. Cover with a towel and let rise for another 1 hour.
9. Preheat your oven to 160C.
10. Brush each “tsoureki” with egg wash and sprinkle sugar and almond flakes on top. Bake for 40 minutes in a preheated oven. Your “tsoureki” will be properly cooked when the top and bottom of the “tsoureki” have gone a nice deep golden brown. The top should be smooth and shiny and the bottom of the “tsoureki” slightly darker than the top.