Tsoureki Recipe: Traditional Greek Easter Bread

Tsoureki at Easter

Tsoureki is a sweet Greek bread which is traditionally served during Easter. The tsoureki symbolizes the Resurrection of Christ and rebirth in general as the flour is moulded into shape and rises, taking on life as it transforms into its final shape. The red-dyed eggs which is usually placed on top of the braided tsoureki symbolizes the blood of Jesus. Today, tsoureki is very common to eat throughout the year as a delicious snack, breakfast or as a companion to a tea or coffee. So what exactly is tsoureki?

The very popular Greek sweet bread, tsoureki resembles a texture similar to brioche. It is soft, fluffy and flavoured with unique aromatic spices. If you haven’t tried Greek tsoureki before, then you are certainly missing out! However we have below our own recipe which you can follow to make you own tsoureki at home.

Our Greek tsoureki recipe is like none other you’ve ever tried before! Its full and rich flavour thanks to the two aromatic spices, mastic and mahlab, which give it a really characteristic taste and flavour. Give it a try below!

Ingredients

For the dough

  • 24g dry yeast
  • 110g lukewarm water
  • 3g ground mastic
  • 10g ground mahleb
  • 135g butter
  • 230g sugar
  • 150g milk, at room temperature
  • 4 medium eggs, at room temperature
  • 870g strong white (bread) flour
  • zest of 1 orange

To garnish

  • 1 egg and 1 tbsp water
  • almond slivers

For the syrup

  • 150g sugar
  • 150g water

 

Instructions

  1. Add in a bowl the lukewarm water, a pinch of sugar and yeast and stir. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside for about 6-7 minutes.
  2. Use a blender to ground the masticha and mahlepi, along with a pinch of sugar and set aside.
  3. In a saucepan add the butter, sugar and milk. Over a very low heat stir the mixture until the butter has melted and the sugar has dissolved.  Then remove the pan from the stove and allow to cool slightly until the mixture is lukewarm.
  4. Pour the butter mixture into a large bowl and whisk in the eggs. Then add the yeast mixture and whisk until mixed.
  5. In a bowl add the flour, the ground mastic and mahlepi, orange zest and the butter-egg-yeast mixture from step 4. Mix until the ingredients start to combine for at least 20 minutes, until the dough doesn’t stick on the sides of the bowl.
  6. Cover the dough with plastic cling film and place in a warm environment for the dough to rise at least double its size.

Once the dough has risen, continue to follow the below steps:

  1. Gently deflate the tsoureki dough with your hands and cut in 6 equal portions (three for each Greek Easter bread). Take one piece of the dough (do not flour the working surface!) and roll it a little with your hands. Hold with your hands from the edges and shake to stretch the dough into a rope.
  2. Make the Greek Easter bread into a braid and move on a large baking tray layered with parchment paper. Repeat the same procedure with the second tsoureki. Let the Greek Easter bread rise for about 1 more hour at room temperature or in the oven.
  3. In a small bowl add the egg and 1 tbsp water and whisk with a fork. Brush the top of each Greek Easter bread with the egg,  garnish with almond slivers and bake in preheated oven at 150C / 310F fan for about 30-40 minutes.
  4. Let the Greek Easter bread cool down then wrap well with plastic cling film to prevent it from becoming hard and dry. Store for up to a 5-6 days at room temperature or up to a couple of months in the freezer.

We hope you enjoy making this traditional Greek bread, tsoureki at home. Feel free to let us know in the comments how your got on with baking and don’t forget to share our recipe!

 

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