Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Olive Oil Tsoureki - τσουρέκι με ελαιόλαδο

I made tsoureki with olive oil instead of butter for my 7 courses of olive oil feast  using a subtle, fruity olive oil from the Peloponnese region of Greece. It was an experiment, which turned out to be successful (or else I wouldn't blog it and trust me, I have many rejects from the science lab buried out back). I was worried the richness from the butter would be missing, but the robust olive oil came through with more than enough gusto. I put less sugar in this recipe as my ultimate goal was to make Greek style grilled cheese sandwiches with the tsoureki. The decreased sugar ended up being a perfect balance of just slightly sweet that it could go either way - as a dinner bread, sweet breakfast bread, or whatever your versatile head had in mind. I also omitted the mahleb, mastiha and/or anise seeds with the sole purpose of allowing the olive oil flavors to shine through.

All in all I am extremely happy with the result of my olive oil tsoureki and I throughly encourage everyone to try it (or if you're in the Portland area and not into bread baking, then come one over and try mine)!

Olive Oil Tsoureki - τσουρέκι με ελαιόλαδο

  • 1 envelope (2 1/4 teaspoons) of dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup of lukewarm milk
  • 8 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 4 eggs, separated
  • 1 level teaspoon of sea salt
  • 1 cup of fruity olive oil 
  • 1/2 cup of milk
  • sesame seeds
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon of water

1. In a large mixing bowl, dissolve the yeast in the 1/2 cup of lukewarm milk. Stir in 1/2 cup of flour and mix until fully combined. Cover with a clean kitchen towel, and let sit in a warm place for 1 hour.

2. Beat egg whites and salt to the stiff peak stage.
Beat together egg yolks and sugar and add to the yeast mixture and beat well. Beat in olive oil, and remaining 1/2 cup of milk. Stir in egg whites to distribute thoroughly. Add flour slowly, mixing or kneading with hands until each addition is completely mixed in. The dough should be very dense, but don't use all the flour if not needed. 

3. Form the dough into a ball, place in a bowl, cover with a clean towel, and set in a warm place to rise for about 3 hours, until doubled in size.

4. Poke the dough with fingers to deflate (do not "punch down") and knead for 5 minutes. Form into one or two round loaves and place in one large or two smaller round baking pans lined with greased baking parchment paper. Cover with clean towels, set in a warm place, and allow to rise for 2 hours more, until doubled in size.

5. Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C).
With a fork, beat together the egg yolk and water, and brush the top of the loaf (or loaves) with this egg wash. Sprinkle sesame seeds on top. Bake at 350°F (190°C) for 30 to 40 minutes, until dark golden.


elly said...

It looks great! The bread definitely doesn't look like it suffered any texture issues or anything like that. I want some!

Dewi said...

This is a new kind of bread for me. Thanks for sharing the recipe Anna.

Maria said...

It looks just like plain tsoureki ... texture wise it looks perfect I'd say. I will definitely try this some time. Maybe even this weekend.

Anonymous said...

This looks amazing! I'm Kim. We met at the food carts. Love the blog. Hit me up sometime :) kwintern@gmail.com

Banana Wonder said...

elly - thanks! olive oil never fails, i guess!

elra - thanks, this is a one-off recipe. for an authentic tsoureki, you'd use 1 cup of butter instead of the olive oil and also add mastiha and mahleb.

Maria - Oh! I hope you do! I was thinking about making some more this weekend also.

Kim - Yay! I'm so glad you stopped by. Meet you again same time, same place at Ziba's? I will try the bowl (and secret sauce next time!).

Peter G | Souvlaki For The Soul said...

Another successful experiment Anna...the olive oil in the tsoureki is a great touch! It looks magnificent!

Esi said...

Anna your bread is awesome. Can I have a loaf? ;)

Banana Wonder said...

Peter - Thanks! Olive oil is a friend indeed.

Esi - hah, trade you for some of your goodies? lol

Ivy said...

Must try this Anna. Everything I have made using olive oil instead of butter never disappointed me.

Helen said...

Great results Anna! Impressive too! What's this Greek-style grilled cheese sandwits(say it with a Greek accent) you are talking about? I want to learn more...

Foodjunkie said...

What a great alternative especially for people watching their cholesterol a little bit. An the texture looks perfect. Has been bookmarked for future use!

Banana Wonder said...

Ivy - thanks, yeah, olive oil has had a bad wrap in the states here, but things are turning around now that we have a better selection available :)

Helen - hehe I will post the "tost" soon :)

Foodjunkie - Thanks! I forget about the health aspects sometimes, yeah, go low choleresteral!

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Kulsum@JourneyKitchen said...

This looks so good. Love it when substitution works out and you end up with a special recipe!

Oh Anna I'm so envious of your access to all great types of olive oil!:D

Banana Wonder said...

Kulsum - Thank you! I haven't found anything can couldn't be sub'ed with olive oil... well then again I haven't made olive oil chocolate chip cookies?

Anonymous said...

nice post. thanks.