Have A Happy Easter!
Tsoureki is a Greek holiday bread that is made by Greeks during Easter, not only in Greece, but also in other countries with Greek communities. It is made from a sweet yeast dough of flour, sugar, butter and milk, with dyed red Easter eggs pressed into the dough. The dough is brushed with egg wash before baking, and flavored with mahlep , mastic resin or orange zest . Other flavorings might include almond extract, cinnamon or fennel seed .
The Greek word Tsoureki is borrowed from Turkish çörek . Some dictionaries claim that this is derived from the Old Turkish root çevir- ‘turn, others say it is Persian or Armenian.
Greek Easter bread owes its full and rich flavour to the 2 aromatic spices used in this traditional tsoureki recipe, mastic and mahleb, which give it a really characteristic flavour and smell. Once put in the oven, the intense aromas of the sweet spices permeates the house and brings back all those wonderful childhood memories!
I love Tsoureki! Why do I love it so much? Because it awakes all my childhood memories with my family in our village! Because, me and my brother were hiding the tsoureki so we could eat it for breakfast, every single Easter! Because, I was watching how much love and passion my family made it every year and I appreciated it so much!
Discover all the secrets behind making the fluffiest, tastiest traditional Tsoureki bread by following my recipe step by step!
- 125g strong white flour Robin Hood
- 125g milk (at room temperature)
- 38g fresh yeast
- 25g lukewarm water
- 575g strong white flour Robin Hood
- 175g granulated sugar
- 1 tsp ground mastic of Chios
- 1 tsp ground mahlep
- 3 eggs
- 125g orange juice
- zest of 1 orange
- vanilla extract
- egg wash (1 egg and 1 tbsp water)
- 125g strong white flour Robin Hood
- 125g butter, melted at room temperature
- some almond flakes or sesame seeds for garnish
- In a large bowl, mix together the fresh yeast with the milk, until yeast is dissolved. Then, add in 125g flour and water, whisk well to combine. Wrap well with plastic wrap and set aside for about 1 hour, until the mixture rises and starts bubbling. Be careful, not do add hot water, as it will kill the yeast, nor cold, as it will take forever for the Greek Easter bread to rise. The water should be at the same temperature as your finger, so check it out sticking one finger in; you should feel no difference in temperature.
- Use a pestle or a blender to ground the mastic and mahlep, along with a pinch of sugar and set aside.
- After 1 hour, use another large bowl and add in 575g of flour, sugar, mastic, mahlep, 3 eggs, 125g fresh orange juice and zest of 1 orange, vanilla and the yeast mixture and whisk to combine.
- In a saucepan add 125g of butter. Place over very low heat and stir, until the butter has melted. The key is to melt the butter at very low heat, so that the temperature doesn’t ‘kill’ the yeast. Remove the pan from the stove and check the temperature. The mixture should be at the same temperature as your finger. If it is warmer, leave to cool down for a few minutes and check again. Then, pour gradually the melted butter to the dough and knead with your hands, until the dough absorbs all the amount of butter. At this point the dough should be really soft, a little sticky and soft.
- Wrap it tightly and set aside the dough for about 3 hours to rest and double it’s size.
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees and place in a baking pan with water.
- Transfer your dough on the working surface and add gradually 125g of flour and knead with your hands, until combine.
- Then, cut your tsoureki dough into 6 equal pieces (200g each), three pieces for each Greek Easter bread. Take one piece of the dough (do not flour the working surface!) 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. This technique will help the Greek Easter bread (tsoureki) form the characteristic stringy texture, as seen in the picture. Form the Greek Easter bread into a braid and transfer 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 30 minutes at room temperature, until it almost doubles it’s size.
- In a small bowl add 1 egg and 1 tbsp water and whisk with a fork. Brush the top of each Greek Easter bread with the egg wash, garnish with almond flakes or sesame seeds and bake in preheated oven (and another baking pan with water in the oven, like bain marie) at 180 degrees on air for about 30 minutes, until nicely browned and fluffy. Ready!
- Let the Greek Easter bread cool down and wrap well with plastic wrap, so that it doesn’t become hard and dry. Store for up to a 5-7 days at room temperature.
Don’t forget to tag us #foodenyo on Instagram, if you remake this one. We’d love to see your recreations!