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Tsoureki
Paskalya coregi.jpg
Paskalya çöreği (Easter çörek) and coloured eggs from Istanbul
Type Sweet bread
Variations Savoury versions
Cookbook: Tsoureki  Media: Tsoureki

Tsoureki (Greek: τσουρέκι), also known as شوريك (Arabic), panarët (Arbërisht), choreg or "chorek" (Armenian չորեկ), çörək (Azerbaijani), kozunak (Bulgarian козунак), cozonac (Romanian) or çörek (Turkish)), is a sweet, egg-enriched bread, rooted in the cuisines of Western and Central Asia.[1] It is formed of braided strands of dough. There are also savoury versions.

Such rich brioche-like breads are also traditional in many other countries, such as Hungary and the Czech Republic. Examples of similar breads from other cultures are badnji kruh in Croatian cuisine, folar de páscoa in Portuguese cuisine, Brioche in French, kulich in Russian cuisine, panettone in Italian cuisine and challah in Jewish cuisine.

Greek traditions[edit]

Rich brioche-like breads (often braided) are known by various Greek names that represent three major holidays for Greeks: Easter, Christmas and New Year's. There are many local varieties of these festive breads, based on milk, flour, eggs, sugar, yeast, butter, and a flavoring which can be mahlab, Chian mastic or cardamom. The butter is added after kneading: the dough is stretched, brushed with melted butter, folded and stretched again repeatedly, until all the butter is incorporated. The result of this technique is that the baked bread separates easily into strands. A good tsoureki should be soft, moist and fluffy, yet stringy and chewy.

Tsoureki may be eaten at any time of year, often for breakfast, but it is also associated with several holidays.

Tsoureki / Lampropsomo / Lamprokouloura: Easter Bread[edit]

The Greek word lampropsomo (λαμπρόψωμο) is derived from one Greek word for Easter, Λαμπρή, which means "bright light," and ψωμί, which means bread; referring to the light Christians believe is given to them by Christ's resurrection. Another name for the bread is lamprokouloura (Λαμπροκουλούρα): κουλούρα means "round" and, therefore, various forms of cookies and round breads. This braided bread can be shaped either into a circle or into two large braids and sprinkled with nuts, usually slivered, blanched almonds. It is served with red Easter eggs that have been dyed to represent the blood of Christ or red rosebuds[citation needed].

This bread was traditionally prepared with an essence drawn from the seeds of Mediterranean wild cherries, called makhlepi, (Greek: μαχλέπι). The bread can also be flavoured with mastic, the resin from Pistacia lentiscus, var. chia. In more recent years, vanilla-scented tsoureki has also become popular. If going for the full aromatic effect, a fourfold melange of aromatics is used: makhlepi, Chios mastic, cardamom, and vanilla.

Sometime tsoureki is used as a gift for special occasion, for instance, it can be given as an Easter gift from children to their godparents.

Christopsomo: Christmas Bread[edit]

Christopsomo (Χριστόψωμο), which translates as "Christ's bread", is a Greek bread decorated with an early form of the Christian cross with ends that split and curl into circles. Sometimes dough shapes representing initials, birth dates, ages and aspects of the family's life and profession are added. Christopomo is a rich, round loaf scented with wine soaked figs, anise and orange. It sometimes contains such ingredients as nuts, raisins, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and mastic, a dried pine resin. The bread is sometimes served with honey on Christmas Eve. Families leave pieces of bread on the table believing that Christ will come and eat them during the night.

The preparation of Christopsomo is considered a sacred tradition in Greek Orthodox homes, and the care with which it is made is said to ensure the well-being of the home in the year to come. In earlier times, Greek cooks baked large quantities of bread to last for ten to fifteen days, so baking just one or two loaves of Christopsomo the night before Christmas had special significance. The cook would begin by crossing him/herself before starting baking.

Tsourekaki: Easter Cookie[edit]

Tsourekaki (Τσουρεκάκι): A variant which consists of biscuits in the shape of the original tsoureki. It is common to add orange flavour.

Vasilopita: New Year's Bread[edit]

Main article: Vasilopita

The traditional New Year's Cake, Vasilopita (Βασιλόπιτα) is sometimes a tsoureki.

Armenian traditions[edit]

In Armenian tradition, a big batch of choreg is baked for Easter, with one of the choregs containing a coin for good luck to whomever gets it.[2]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Толковìй словарь живаго великорусскаго язîка, Dal' V.I., IAS, 1869
  2. ^ 10 Reasons Foodies Love Armenia

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tsoureki — Please support Wikipedia.
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420 news items

Huffington Post

Huffington Post
Tue, 07 Apr 2015 10:48:45 -0700

An easy recipe for "tsoureki": sweet bread with olive oil, so much taste and full of flavor, so light and above all... healthy! Soft, fluffy, with a beautiful brown semi-soft crust and an amazing stringy texture... Greek Easter bread (tsoureki) is ...

MarketWatch

MarketWatch
Mon, 13 Jul 2015 09:39:16 -0700

I'm not just talking about the nation's debt — which has risen faster than a loaf of tsoureki to some 340 billion euros — but bread itself. Getty Images. For sale on the streets of Athens. It may seem like one of the most half-baked ideas to come out ...

Neos Kosmos

Neos Kosmos
Tue, 07 Apr 2015 18:18:45 -0700

Tsoureki (sweet Easter bread). Don't knead the mixture, only fold. 8 Apr 2015. This is a fail-safe recipe; it has come to me via a friend from Thessaloniki that her mother taught her and has been in their family for generations, this is a large ...
 
Telegraph.co.uk
Fri, 22 Mar 2013 23:31:07 -0700

A rich, brioche-like bread that is traditionally flavoured with bitter cherry pits (mahlepi) and mastic, the resin from a tree that grows on the Greek islands. Not the sort of thing that one picks up at the local supermarket, but don't be put off. A ...
 
The Advocate
Wed, 07 May 2014 15:44:09 -0700

Greeks traditionally serve tsoureki, a braided sweet bread, at Easter, but those attending the Baton Rouge Greek Festival Saturday won't have to wait until next year to try it. Tsourekia (that's the plural spelling), along with other pastries, will be ...

Good Food

Good Food
Wed, 01 Apr 2015 17:13:58 -0700

While other teens take a break, 16-year-old Lola Laliotis is spending her Easter school holidays working flat-out, helping make the Greek sweet bread, tsoureki, at her father's bakery. But it's where she wants to be. Greek Easter Sunday this year is ...
 
Londonist
Thu, 02 Apr 2015 02:22:26 -0700

Easter eating is important in many countries with specific foods, rich in history and symbolism, associated with the holiday. Here we tell you about several classic Easter foods from around the world and some of the delis, bakeries and restaurants in ...

Shreveport Times

Shreveport Times
Tue, 24 Mar 2015 17:52:28 -0700

Eggs that are dyed red traditionally adorn the tsoureki. But the bread can be ordered with or without the egg. "The egg represents the steel tomb containing Christ," Mijalis explained. "The red dye signifies the color of the blood that he sacrificed ...
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