Give Some Kef, Save Some Bucks

7 Dec

All of us here at KefCentral love Christmas.  Not all of us here have the big bucks to buy for everyone on our list.  Luckily, Chef Kefi has got some great ideas for holiday gifts that don’t include buying (almost) anything. 

This week and next, I’ll post ideas for homemade gift ideas. If you’ve got good ones, post ’em in the comments (or, alternatively… I’ll just keep talking to myself). 

DIY Gift #1: Kefi Tsoureki

     Alright, alright– tsoureki is really an Easter bread, but its main spice is cloves, and nothing says “Merry Christmas” more than 5 tsp of those bad boys. Had I been able to find a single picture of my tsoureki loaf without the tell-tale red  Easter eggs, I wouldn’t have mentioned its Pascual roots it at all– so I promise, people will appreciate this delicious CHRISTMAS bread.
     This bread is time consuming but NOT complicated–don’t be intimidated.  As a rule, I make bread when I have a ton of stuff to do: you mix it, let it rise, knead it, let it rise, bake it, enjoy the smell, call it a day.  Imagine the studying, cleaning, or errands you could get done in between (assuming, of course, you aren’t making this recipe for the same reason I’m writing it: avoidance).

Chef Kefi with her first tsoureki
  • 1 tsp all spice
  • 5 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 c warm water
  • dash of salt
  • dash of sugar
  • 4.5 tsp dry yeast (2 of the individual packets)
  • 4 3/4c bread flour, divided (and yes, it needs to be bread flour, not all purpose)
  • 1/2 c sugar
  • 3 tbs butter, room temp
  • 3 large eggs, room temp
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbs water
  • 1 large egg yolk

1. Use whisk to combine water, dash of salt and yeast in a large bowl and let stand for about 5 minutes.  Add 1 cup of flour to mixture and stir until well combined. Let stand 20 minutes.

2. Beat butter and sugar together in a large bowl at medium speed until light and fluffy.  Add eggs one at a time, beating well with each addition.  Stir in spices.  Add yeast and butter mixtures together and stir with whisk until well combined.  Stir in 1 tsp salt, 3.5 c flour (one at a time) and stir until soft dough forms.  Flour a large cutting board (or anything clean and flat) and knead dough until smooth (it will also be a little elastic, this will take about 8 minutes).  Once dough is smooth, add flour 1 TBS at a time until the dough is tacky (basically, it sticks to your hands a lot less).

3. Grease a large, preferrably glass, bowl with cooking spray and put dough in there. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for an hour. The dough will double in size.

4. Divide dough into three equal pieces (or, for gifts, you can easily make 2 small loaves by separating 6 and might even be able to squeeze out 9 pieces for 3 loaves), and make a long rope (12-14inches) out of each section.  Place ropes lengthwise on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray.

5. Pinch the ends together on one end to “seal,” and braid the ropes together (if you don’t know how to do this, I can’t help you), and pinch together at the end.  Cover again with a lightly greased plastic wrap. Let it stand for another 45 minutes–it will double in size again.

6. Whisk 1 TBS water and egg yolk in a small bowl.  Brush half of yolk mixture over loaf (this is what gives it that beautiful browned color).  Let stand 5 minutes, then repeat.  

7. Bake at 350 for 30 min until loaf sounds sounds hollow when you rap on it with your knuckles.  Cool for 20 min.

8. Give to someone you love!

One Response to “Give Some Kef, Save Some Bucks”


  1. I Survived Greek Easter 2013 | Cooking Up Kefi - May 15, 2013

    […] Tsoureki                                                            τσουρέκι […]

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