Preparation Time 2h15m
Baking Time 30-40m
Tsoureki is a sweet, brioche-like bread served at Easter in Greece to break the Lenten fast. It is usually braided with a red dyed hard-boiled egg inserted in the middle. It takes only a few minutes to prepare though you have to wait patiently for the dough to rise.
Having experimented with various ingredients over the years I have come to the conclusion that yellow flour made from durum wheat and fresh yeast are the secret to the tsoureki’s success. But then not every yellow flour would do the trick. The inside of the tsoureki must look stringy and fibrous and that can be achieved by using the correct flour as well as kneading it in a particular way.
This is why I have included the exact ingredients I use in the recipe (and posted links about them) just in case you can get hold of them as well as detailed kneading description (though it’s nothing complicated really).
4 eggs + 1 for smearing
1 ½ cup of lukewarm milk
1 cup of sugar
¾ cup melted butter or Fitini vegetable oil
60gr/2,2 oz fresh yeast Hirondelle (blue pack)
1kg/2,2 pounds of yellow flour Robin Hood
½ tbsp of ground mastic
½ tbsp. of ground mahlab
sliced almond garnish (see photo below)
Warm the milk, place it in a bowl and add the yeast. Melt the yeast using your hand. Beat eggs and sugar in a large bowl until mixture has thickened and turned a pale yellow.
Add the milk-yeast mixture and then the mastic and the mahlab and mix gently in a rotary motion. Start adding the flour (900gr of it) and the oil little by little alternately and knead using your fingers pulling the dough upwards to create that fibrous feel and allow it to take some air.
When the dough is soft and glutinous, cover the bowl with a blanket and keep it in a warm room for about 90m until the dough has risen and has become double in size.
Knead again for another 5 minutes.
Dust a work surface with a little of the remaining flour. Remove a ball of dough (you may have to use scissors to cut it!!) and roll into a strand. Make three of them side by side, pinch together at one end to hold the load intact and braid.
There is plenty of dough left, so you can either repeat the procedure and create more braided breads or use the strands to make smaller round loaves like in the picture below. Now you have to let them rise for another 30 minutes.
Place them gently on a baking pan covered with baking paper and top smear with a beaten egg very gently and carefully so that the dough does not break. (If it does, all the air will be knocked out and we don’t want that.)
Garnish with sliced almonds and bake in a preheated oven at 180oC/350oF for 30-40 minutes until golden brown. The bread should sound hollow when tapped on the bottom.
Food for thought
Back on my favourite topic, which is macro-economics. This week we’ve seen the austerity movement become the laughing stock everywhere, even on national network (read and watch the videos for a bit of fun) due to the omissions and miscalculations on the Rogoff and Reinhart report. Remember, this paper has had a major influence on public policy around the world. And it turns out to be wrong not in a subtle way that only geniuses can notice but in a rather obvious one as most of the information it contained was used in a rather fraudulent manner.
Way too many articles have been written about the whole thing, but my favourite one, the most concise and to the point comes from Warren Mosler, whose blog is one of the best around. He’s asked to spread the word so here I am:
Rogoff and Reinhart NYT response
The intellectual dishonesty continues.
As before, it’s the lie of omission.
R and R are familiar with my book ‘The 7 Deadly Innocent Frauds of Economic Policy’ and, when pressed, agree with the dynamics.
They know there is a more than material difference between floating and fixed exchange rate regimes that they continue to exclude from their analysis.
They know that one agents ‘deficit’ is another’s ‘surplus’ to the penny, a critical understanding they continue to exclude.
They know that ‘demand leakages’ mean some other agent must spend more than its income to sustain output and employment.
They know federal spending is via the Fed crediting a member bank reserve account, a process that is not operationally constrained by revenues. That is, there is no dollar solvency issue for the US government.
They know that ‘debt management’, operationally, is a matter of the Fed simply debiting and crediting securities accounts and reserve accounts, both at the Fed.
They know that if there is no problem of excess demand, there is no ‘deficit problem’ regardless of the magnitudes, short term or long term.
They know unemployment is the evidence deficit spending is too low and a tax cut and/or spending increase is in order, and that a fiscal adjustment will restore output and employment, regardless of the magnitude of deficits or debt.
Carmen’s husband Vince was the head of monetary affairs at the Fed for many years, serving both Alan Greenspan and Ben Bernanke. He knows implicitly how the accounts clear and how the accounting works, to the penny. He knows the currency itself is a case of monopoly. He knows the Fed, not ‘the market’ necessarily sets rates. He knows that, operationally, US Treasury securities function as interest rate support, and not to fund expenditures. He knows it all!
Carmen, Vince, please come home! I hereby offer my personal amnesty- come clean NOW and all is forgiven! As you well know, coming clean NOW will profoundly change the world. As you well know, coming clean NOW will profoundly alter the course of our civilization!
Carmen, Vince, either you believe in an informed electorate or you don’t!?