My friend Kostas retired and discovered cookery.
He bought a super-dooper mixer, got a pasta making machine and off he went!
During this journey of discovery he put on a bit of weight and realised that he couldn’t eat what he had created any more. Not because it wasn’t tasty-no, the opposite, because it was!
The thing was that Kostas was a geek, a nerd. Once a nerd, always a nerd…. A bit like, once a leftie…
So starting out with wanting all the computers to be the best and as perfect as they could be, he wanted the recipes he made to be the best and the most perfect they could be..so he started to improve all his recipes.
He started to make Tsourekia (Greek Sweet Breads)..they were great..but not in his opinion..he wanted them to be the best Tsourekia in the world ..he started changing one ingredient after the other so in the end he made something quite different altogether.
He started using inverted sugar syrup to be sure that his Tsourekia would be moist and the best in the world….
I had been through the same process myself years before.. when trying different recipes for Tsourekia years ago I had arrived at the point where I had no idea which Tsourekia went with which recipe.. I had lost the plot as they say…
Not just that but I believed that the best recipe for Tsourekia had been lost in the process…
This year I thought I would do something different.
I would find a simple recipe to make Tsourekia…so simple and easy that anyone could make it..even those who had no idea how to make it at all.
I started off with a Jewish bread called Tsalah which is the Jewish version of Tsourekia… an enriched dough with eggs and milk like our Tsourekia…and I researched to see if this dough would work without kneading.
Bread without kneading already exists and it is great..so I thought I would find a similar recipe for Tsourekia.
I found one..without sugar but with honey..and without the traditional Mastic (a gum from the island of Chios)..because I personally don’t like it that much.. I like the addition of orange peel so I added that.
I also added orange honey from Yannis Kampouris..one of the finest orange honeys I have ever tried. I will write about Yannis Kampouris another time as it’s worth learning about him and his products.
His honey and his oil..His orange honey is like pure gold…anyway let’s get back to the Tsourekia…
So, these Tsourekia won’t tire out your hands kneading.. they will be made wonderfully and tasty without the need to knead. They do need a little patience, to rest the dough to rise and swell caused by the gluten in the flour. For that reason the dough should stay in the fridge overnight ideally.. take the dough out of the fridge the next day and once fashioned into loaves the dough should be allowed to swell at room temperature before baking.
So try it….
Like Kostas, they won’t be the perfect Tsourekia…but you won’t end up using inverted sugar syrup for these.. you could instead go for a nice walk….