From the Kitchen of Home of Cooks
Time to Prepare: 20 minutes Cook Time: 2 hours Serving: 18-24
For the Tsoureki Dough: Yeast: 2 oz. fresh yeast ⅓ cup lukewarm water 2 tablespoons sugar Dough: 1 cup butter (8 oz.) 1 ¼ cup sugar 3 large eggs and 2 additional egg yolks at room temperature 1 ½ cups whole milk, room temperature 6 cups of bread flour ¾ teaspoon ground mastic 2 teaspoon ground mahlab extra melted butter For the Filling: 1 pound mizithra cheese ½ cup sugar 1 egg ground cinnamon, cloves, & nutmeg Egg Wash:
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon water
Yeast: In a small bowl, use a spoon to mix the yeast with the water and sugar. Cover with saran wrap and leave for 5-10minutes until the mixture becomes frothy.
Dough: In a small pot, over low heat combine butter and sugar, stir until melted. Remove from heat and let it cool for five minutes.
Beat the eggs with the milk and mix into the melted butter.
Using a Stand up Mixer: In the bowl of your stand up mixer, add flour, mahlab, mastic, activated yeast and butter mixture and knead with the bread hook for at least 10 minutes scraping down the sides of the bowl intermittently. The dough should be soft, not tight.
Melt a couple tablespoons of butter. Once butter has cooled, dip your hands in the melted butter and pick up the dough from the mixer bowl. Transfer to a large bowl, cover first with saran wrap, and then cover the saran wrap with a kitchen towel. Place in a warm spot for about 1 ½ to 2 hours until the dough has doubled in size.
Filling: In a bowl, mix the cheese, sugar, egg and spices until well combined. Cover and place in the refrigerator until ready to use.
Once the dough has doubled in size, punch it down and knead to shape.
Cut small pieces of dough (I weigh mine to be about 2 oz.) gently roll them into balls. Take each ball and with a rolling pin roll out to a small square; place one tablespoon of the cheese mixture in the middle, fold. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Repeat making the tourtes and placing them on the baking sheet at least 2 inches apart. Cover with a kitchen towel and let them rise for a half hour.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Brush the tourtes with the egg wash. Bake for 20-30 minutes until golden brown.
Repeat making the tourtes until the cheese filling is finished. You will have dough left over which you can use to make one tsoureki braid or a few smaller individual ones.
You can use mizithra cheese or anthotiro. These are Greek soft (goat/sheep) cheeses that can be bought in Greek deli stores. A good substitute would be mascarpone cheese.
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