Besides the Ricotta Cake, I also baked these Spiced Orange Buns for Easter Sunday. Well. I actually had my mind set on Tsoureki, the Greek Easter Sweet Bread and was looking around for a bread machine recipe for it. and the first link that popped up was by Maria Sgourakis Buehler . i had all the listed ingredients and the recipe seemed simple. so i went ahead with it. I understand that there are several other versions of Tsoureki that are spiced with Chios mastic, cardamom and vanilla. but this version is simple. it just uses ground nutmeg. nevertheless it is flavorful. and with its blend of spices and citrusy flavor its makes a perfect bite to go with your breakfast milk or evening chai.
Tsoureki breads are traditionally braided into a circle or into two large braids and sprinkled with nuts and served with Easter eggs that have been dyed deep red to represent the blood of Christ or red rosebuds. however I wasn't aware of the symbolism before and therefore braided my buns the way i did and decided to call them the Spiced Orange Buns, just so that my ignorance does not misguide someone else.
now the recipe, as adapted from here.
1/3 cup of water (75-85 degrees)
1/3 cup of whole milk
3 eggs lightly beaten
1/2 cup of butter or margarine, softened and cut into pieces
grated peel of one orange
juice of 1 orange
2 cups bread flour
2 cups whole wheat flour plus more for dusting
1/4 cup of sugar
1 teaspoon of salt
1/4 teaspoon of ground nutmeg
2 + 3/4 teaspoons of breadmaker yeast
egg wash (1 egg white slightly beaten with 1 tablespoon of water and 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice)
sesame seeds for sprinkling on top
what i did
- i began by placing the first 12 ingredients in the bread machine pan and programming it for the dough cycle.
- few minutes before the dough cycle was about to be completed, i lined 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and kept them aside. when the dough cycle completed and the machine beeped, i removed to dough from the pan, placed it on a well floured work surface and kneaded it till the dough was no longer sticky and easy to work with. i then divided the dough into 6 lemon sized ball plus 3 more balls which where slightly bigger. I shaped the bigger balls like regular buns and played around and braided / knotted the remaining 6 lemon sized balls into different shapes.
- i then placed the braided dough on the prepared sheets, covered them with a soft cotton cloth and allowed them to rise and double in the next one hour.
- in the meantime i heated the oven to 350 degrees F.
- once the braided dough balls doubled, egg-washed their surface, sprinkled some sesame on top and put them in the preheated oven to bake for 25-27 minutes, until their surface looked golden and they sounded hollow on being thumped at the bottom.
- i then removed them from the oven and cooled them completely and enjoyed them with a spread of butter in between.
Oh !! how i love them both....
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