Posted in ***Most liked recipes***, Baked, Desserts, Intermediate, Mainland Greece, Our hand picked recipes, Tea and Coffee nibbles, Traditional Greek Easter recipes Originally published on February 1, 2014 Last updated on March 26, 2017 By Eli K. Giannopoulos
A unique Greek inspired muffin made with an aromatic tsoureki dough! Tsoureki is a very popular Greek sweet bread, whose texture resembles a brioche, only it tastes so much better! If you haven’t tried Greek tsoureki before, then you are certainly missing out! Why? Because its soft and amazingly fluffy and is flavoured with unique aromatic spices, which make this Greek tsoureki like no other brioche type bread you’ve ever tried before! Tsoureki (Greek sweet bread) is traditionally served in Easter, but is very common to eat throughout the year as a delicious mid day snack, breakfast or tea or coffee companion. This is a variation of the traditional Greek tsoureki recipe, served as individual muffins, as they can be more versatile and can easily fit in your hand bag! Freshly ground mastic (masticha), which is an aromatic tree resin from the island of Chios and freshly ground mahlab or mahleb (mahlepi), a spice made from ground cherry seeds, are the essential ingredients that give this tsoureki recipe its sharp and distinctive taste. (You can purchase mastic and mahlepi at Greek or Arab grocers or online. I have included some links in the ingredients section below).
Make the perfect tsoureki dough – Tips
It is a common secret, that making your own tsoureki dough is quite challenging even for the most experienced cooks. But experience has shown me, that actually it’s not that difficult after all. The secret is having the right recipe and following it to the letter. After lots of experimenting I have put together my very best, no-fail tsoureki recipe, with all the detailed prep photos for you to succeed on your very first time!
Tsoureki dough is all about the rising, which means that the right temperature is key. All of the ingredients must be at room temperature before added in the mixture; this will guarantee that your dough will rise. Give the dough time to rise and it will reward you with its distinctive airy fluffiness. Make sure to use bread flour, which has elastic toughness that holds its shape well once baked. The most common mistake for the ones that haven’t made a tsoureki before is that once the dough is mixed, it appears to be a little sticky, so most just add more flour, making the tsoureki as hard as bread. So watch out! Finally, if you like, you can double the dose to make twice as many tsoureki muffins- the double doze will still fit in the large mixer’s bowl.
Garnish the tsoureki muffins with syrup or chocolate glaze or try adding some chocolate filling/Nutella/hazelnut paste or fruits. Your imagination is your limit!
- 65g butter, from cow’s milk, at room temperature (2.3 oz.)
- 65g milk, at room temperature (2.3 oz.)
- 100g sugar (3.5 oz.)
- 2 medium eggs, at room temperature
- 430g bread flour (15.2 oz.)
- 10g dry yeast (0.35 oz.)
- 50g lukewarm water (1.8 0z.)
- zest of 1/2 orange
- 1/2 tsp ground mastic (buy online in Australia, UK, US/CA)
- 1 tsp ground mahleb (buy online UK, US/CA)
- 1 egg and 1 tbsp water
For the syrup
- 100g sugar (3.5 oz.)
- 100g water (3.5 oz.)
- To prepare these tsoureki muffins, add in a bowl the lukewarm water, a pinch of sugar and yeast and stir. Wrap well with plastic wrap and set aside for about 6-7 minutes, until the yeast rises and starts bubbling. Be careful not do add hot water, as it will kill the yeast, nor cold, as it will take forever for the tsoureki to rise. The water should be at the same temperature as your finger, so check it out sticking one finger in; you should feel no difference in temperature.
- Use a pestle or a blender to ground the masticha and mahlepi, along with a pinch of sugar and set aside. (These aromatic spices will give this Greek tsoureki its distinctive taste and amazing smell. Watch out not to add any more masticha, as the tsoureki will turn out a little bitter.)
- In a saucepan add the butter, sugar and milk. Place over very low heat and stir the mixture, until the butter has melted and the sugar has dissolved. The key is to melt the butter at very low heat, so that the temperature doesn’t ‘kill’ the yeast. Remove the pan from the stove and check the temperature. The mixture should be at the same temperature as your finger. If it is warmer, then leave to cool down for a a few minutes and check again.
- Pour the butter mixture in a large bowl and whisk in the eggs. Add the yeast mixture and whisk to combine.
- In the mixer’s bowl add the flour, the ground mastic and mahlepi, orange zest and the butter-egg-yeast mixture from step 4. Using the dough hook mix at first at low speed, until the ingredients start to combine and then mix at medium-high speed for about 15 minutes, until the dough doesn’t stick on the sides of the bowl. At this point the dough should be really soft, like seen in the picture and a little sticky. (Be careful not to add any more flour, as the tsoureki dough should be really soft and not firm)
- Cover the tsoureki dough with plastic wrap and place in a warm environment, until at least it doubles it’s size (for about 2-3 hours). If the environment is cold, preheat the oven at 30C, turn off and place the bowl inside.
- Butter the bottom and sides of the muffin tins and divide the dough inside them. Do not add too much dough, as it will rise again. Let the tsoureki dough rise for about 40-50 more minutes at room temperature or in the oven.
- In a small bowl add the egg and 1 tbsp water and whisk with a fork. Brush the top of each tsoureki muffin with the egg, garnish with almond silvers and bake in preheated oven at 170C for about 20-25 minutes.
- Two -three minutes before you turn the tsoureki out of the oven, start preparing the syrup. In a small pot add the sugar and water and bring to the boil. As soon as the sugar dissolves, remove the pot from the stove and ladle the hot syrup over the hot tsoureki.
- Let the tsoureki muffins cool down and wrap with plastic wrap, so that they don’t become hard and dry. Store for up to 5-7 days at room temperature.
- Enjoy these delicious Greek inspired tsoureki muffins, over a hot cup of tea or coffee.