Egg wash: 1 egg plus 1 tablespoon water(beaten together)
Make the dough
Mix the yeast, salt, Mahlephi, orange zest, eggs, honey, and melted butter with the water in a 5-quart bowl, or lidded (not airtight) food container.
Mix in the flour, using a spoon or Danish dough whisk until all of the flour is incorporated.
Cover (not airtight), and allow to sit at room temperature for about two hours.
Make the eggs
To dye the eggs: place 2 cups boiling water, 2 teaspoons vinegar and food coloring in a bowl. Drop the eggs into the dye (if the solution cools off, reheat it and continue with the other eggs). Make sure your eggs are well rinsed and dry before placing on the bread, so they don’t bleed color.
Assemble the Tsoureki
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Take out 12 pieces of dough, each piece weighing 3 1/2 ounces (99g). Gently roll each piece of dough to form a 1-inch thick rope about 13-14 inches long. Take two pieces of dough and twist to form a braid. Pinch the ends together, and form the braid into a circle. Tuck the ends underneath and press them into the dough gently so they stay put during baking. Repeat with the remaining dough, making 6 rings total.
Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 350°F. Place each dough circle on the prepared baking sheet. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled, about an hour. Brush each circle with the egg wash, and then decorate each piece with sprinkles. In the middle of each dough ring, gently place an Easter egg.
Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden. Allow to cool on a wire rack before serving.
You can use uncooked eggs, since they will cook while the bread is baking. The eggs are for decoration and not really meant to be eaten, so it’s a nice way to save time.Recipe by Artisan Bread in Five.