serves 7-8
TOTAL TIME: 20 minutes
Active time: 3,5 hours

For the prozymi
3/4 cup warm water
3 teaspoons yeast
1 Tablespoon sugar
4 Tablespoons flour

For the tsoureki
1/2 cup olive oil
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups orange juice
1/2 teaspoon ground mastic
2 teaspoons ground mahleb
1/2 teaspoon salt
4-5 cups flour
almond slivers for garnish

1. To prepare the prozymi , add in a bowl all the ingredients and stir. Wrap well with plastic wrap and set aside for about 15- 20 minutes, until the yeast rises and starts bubbling.
2. In the mixer’s bowl add all the ingredients of the tsoureki and the prozymi mixture and mix until the dough doesn’t stick on the sides of the bowl.
3. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and a towel and leave it in a warm place, until at least it doubles its size -for about 1.5-2 hours.
4. Divide the dough into 4 pieces and take one piece of the dough and roll it a little bit with your hands. Hold with your hands from the edges and shake to stretch the dough into a rope. You have to make three ropes to form a braid.

5. Transfer the braid on a large baking tray layered with parchment paper. Repeat the same procedure with the other three tsoureki.
6. Preheat the oven to 380 F.
7. Let the tsoureki rise for about 40 minutes at room temperature, until it almost doubles its size.
8. Sprinkle some water and some almonds and bake for 30-40 minutes, until nicely browned and fluffy.

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