Greek Easter Sweet Bread "Tsoureki"
Updated: Apr 29
"Tsoureki" is a traditional greek bread we use to make especially at Easter time. It is a slightly sweet bread, super soft, chewy and has wonderfully flavours, because of the addition of two unique aromatic ingredients, mastic and mahleb. This recipe came up last Easter and the whole family loved it, so I decided to share it with you!
Sweet bread is perfect for breakfast or for a sweet treat during the day. I really enjoy it, while drinking my coffee or tea. You can enjoy it with a slice of cheese, cream cheese, marmelade or nutella or plain.
If you don't have on hand flour for "Tsoureki" or hard flour, all purpose flour works too. It won't come up so chewy with all purpose flour, but it will be the same enjoyable. In case you prefer "Tsoureki" sweeter, add 50 gr. sugar more.
1 kg Flour for "Tsoureki" or Hard Flour (plus more for kneading)
200 gr. granulated Sugar
16 gr. Dry Yeast
2 Oranges (only Zest)
1/2 tsp. Mastic
1 tsp. Mahleb
6 medium-sized Eggs, in room temperature
240 ml Milk, in room temperature
1 tsp. Salt
300 gr. unsalted Butter (cold and cut into cubes)
1 Egg Yolk, for brushing over tops of loaves
20 gr. Almond Slivers, for sprinkling
20 gr. Sesame, for sprinkling
In a big bowl add flour, half sugar, dry yeast and orange zest.
In a food processor add the rest of the sugar, mahleb and mastic. Beat until they are finely ground. Add them to the bowl with the other ingredients.
Add eggs, milk and start kneading, until all ingredients homogenised.
Add salt and gradually the unsalted butter. Knead for 20 minutes, until you have a chewy dough. While you knead add as much flour as the dough doesn't stick too much. Do not overdo it with the extra flour, maximum 200 gr. more.
Brush a bowl with melted butter and place dough in it.
Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let rest for 2-3 hours or until dough doubles in size.
When the dough is ready, cut dough into 4 pieces and knit 4 braids. Place them in oven pans with baking paper (2 braids in every oven pan, so you will need 2 big oven pans) and let them rise for 1 hour.
Meanwhile preheat oven to 170 degrees (Fan).
Brush braids with egg yolk, sprinkle with sesame or almond slivers.
Bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden.
Let it cool, cut in slices and serve.
Store in an airtight container or wrap it with a plastic wrap and refrigerate to enjoy it in some weeks or 1-2 months later.
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