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Greek Easter Bread ‘Tsoureki’ Recipe

Tsoureki, Greek Easter sweet bread, is something you must try if you haven’t already. Soft, fluffy, with a fantastic stringy texture and a gorgeous brown semi-soft crust. You will not find a more flavourful tsoureki recipe than this one!

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While this Greek Easter bread (tsoureki) is traditionally served on Orthodox Easter, it is also very popular throughout the year and is sold in many Greek bakeries. Shop Tsoureki and more for Greek Easter online here. 

Why do Greeks bake“Tsoureki” brioche sweet bread for Greek Orthodox Easter? Tradition has it that the tsoureki bread symbolizes the Resurrection of Christ and his rebirth in general. The dough is molded and then braided into shape. The three braids symbolize the Holy Trinity. The dough rises taking on life while transforming into its final baked shape. The red dyed eggs, which are usually placed on top of the braided sweet bread, symbolize the blood of Jesus.

Every Greek home will have this sweet and savoury Greek Easter bread brioche on there Orthodox Easter table! The bread is usually baked on Holy Thursday of Orthodox Holy Week along with dying red eggs. This delicious recipe is brought to you by DimitrasDishes.com

Ingredients:

Starter:

  • 1/2 cup milk, lukewarm
  • 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

Dry Ingredients:

  • 4- 4 and 1/2 cups (720 grams) bread flour
  • 1 cup (240 g) granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground mahlepi (Shop Mahleb here)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • ​1/4 teaspoon ground mastic gum (optional)

Wet Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup (177 ml) lukewarm milk
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • zest of an orange
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 ounces unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
  • ​The egg wash: 2 egg yolks plus 2-4 tablespoons milk

Instructions:

  1. Add the starter ingredients together in the bowl of a tabletop mixer. Whisk and set aside for 10 minutes to activate the yeast. When a puffy cloud forms above the mixture, it is ready.
  2. ​In another bowl, add the flour, sugar, orange zest, salt, mahlepi, and mastic gum together. Mix thoroughly.
  3. ​Once the yeast is activated, add all of the remaining ingredients into the mixer’s bowl. Turn the mixer on low and knead for 8 minutes.
  4. Add the softened butter and increase the speed to medium (4 on the Kitchen aid) and knead for 2 minutes.
  5. ​Place some oil in the bottom of a large bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl. Toss around to coat and form a ball. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm place until doubled in volume. About 1 and 1/2 to 2 hours.
  6. Quick Rise Tip: A good place to keep the dough so that it rises quickly is in the dryer.
  7. ​1) Place 3-4 clean bath towels in the dryer and turn it on (high heat setting) for about 5-6 minutes.
  8. ​2) Place the bowl with the dough into the dryer (on top of the warm towels) and close the door.
  9. 3) Make sure the dryer is OFF!!
  10. ​4) Remove from the dryer when it has doubled in volume.
  11. ​This tip usually cuts 30 minutes from the rise time.
  12. Punch down the dough to remove the air. Cut into 2 equal portions.
  13. Cut each portion in thirds.
  14. ​Roll each portion into about 13 inch long ropes.
  15. ​Form the 3 ropes into a braid and do the same with the remaining three ropes to shape 2 loaves of brioche. (The three braids symbolize the Holy Trinity)
  16. Place both braided loaves onto a baking tray (18 by 13 inch) lined with parchment paper.
  17. Cover with plastic wrap or with a clean towel.
  18. ​Set aside for 30-40 minutes or until puffy. They should not double in size this time.
  19. Preheat the oven to 350 °F, 180 °C.
  20. ​Brush the tops of the brioche dough with the egg wash.
  21. Optional: Place a hard-boiled, red dyed egg in the braids or top with sliced almonds.
  22. ​Bake in the center rack of the oven for 30 minutes.
  23. ​Remove from the oven and cool at least 30 minutes before serving.
  24. ​Once baked and cooled, the bread can be frozen up to a month. Just make sure to wrap it well with plastic wrap.
  25. ​Enjoy! Kali Anastasi! Kalo Pascha!







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