Make Tsoureki (Greek Easter Bread) at home with this easy, traditional recipe! This lightly sweetened, fluffy bread is flavoured with orange and traditional spices resulting in an absolutely delicious loaf!
If you have yet to try Tsoureki, I am so glad you are here because you need to try this bread! It is easily one of my favourite bread recipes out there. Similar to brioche or challah bread, this bread is sweet and soft. Where it stands out from other sweetened breads is in its flavour. Tsoureki is traditionally made with ground mahleb and mastic which gives it its delicious and distinct flavour!
This fluffy, sweetened bread is traditionally made around Easter time but it is not uncommon to enjoy it at other times of the year. I mean, when something tastes this good, why wouldn’t you want to make it year-round? It is delicious on its own but if you want to take things up a notch, you can slather it with jams, nutella (a personal favourite) or even transform it into French toast for the ultimate breakfast!
How to make Tsoureki – Greek Easter Bread
The recipe I am sharing today makes 2 large loaves or 4 smaller ones (I often opt for smaller loaves).
This recipe is based on my moms recipe. I say based on it because my mom’s “recipe” doesn’t include standard measurements nor does it even include an amount for the flour- just “as much as needed”. This seems to be a typical thing for many Greek mom recipes (and I have been told in many other cultured too) so I am sure many of you out there have encountered this. I broke it down and measured it all out for myself and now am sharing it with you- easy to follow and precise!
- 1 tablespoon dry active yeast
- 1/2 cup lukewarm water
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 2/3 cup butter, softened
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 4 large eggs
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground mahleb
- 1/2 teaspoon ground mastic
- 1 1/2 cups milk, warm
- 1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice, room temperature
- zest of 2 oranges
- 1/3 teaspoon salt
- 8 1/2 cups flour
Egg wash and toppings
- 1 large egg
- 1 tablespoon water
- almond slivers
In a small bowl, add the yeast, 1/2 cup lukewarm water, and 1 teaspoon of sugar and stir together. Set it aside and let it rest for 5-10 minutes to activate the yeast and let it bloom.
Separate the egg yolks and egg whites.
In the bowl of your stand mixer using the paddle attachment, beat the butter and oil together (be sure to start on low speed to avoid splattering oil everywhere). Add the egg yolks and sugar and mix until light and fluffy.
In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until they form stiff peaks. Add the egg whites to the butter mixture along with the mahlepi, mastiha, warm milk, orange juice, orange zest and salt and mix until combined.
Replace the paddle attachment with the dough hook on your stand mixer. Slowly add the flour and mix the dough on low speed for 10 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic and pulls away from the side of the bowl. The dough will be slightly sticky at this point.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and clean kitchen towels and place it in dry, warm spot. Let it rise until it doubles in size (about 2 hours).
How to form the loaves
Once the dough has risen, gently deflate it and then divide the dough into 2 portions to make 2 large tsoureki loaves or 4 portions if you are making smaller loaves.
Working with one portion at at a time, divide it into 3 equal dough balls. Roll each of those balls into a long cylindrical log shapes using your hands. Braid the 3 logs together to form the braided loaf, pinching the ends together lightly and tucking them underneath the loaf. Repeat with the other portion(s).
Transfer the loaves onto a baking sheet and let them rise again for 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 350F. In a small bowl, whisk the egg and water to form the egg wash. Brush the egg wash over the loaves and sprinkle with almond slivers.
Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the loaves have browned nicely. Transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.
Other ways to enjoy Tsoureki (Greek Easter Bread)
This Tsoureki is absolutely delicious on its own. Because it is sweetened, it really doesn’t need much. But as I mentioned earlier, you can totally use this delicious bread as the base of other new exciting treats:
- slathering it with jams, nut butter or nutella
- transforming it into French toast
- turn it into bread pudding
I also like a sweet and salty combo of tsoureki with cheese (especially kefalotiri). Does that make me weird? Maybe, but I love it!
Can you freeze tsoureki?
You sure can! Much like other breads, tsoureki freezes well. In fact, I often double the recipe so I have extra loaves to freeze and enjoy again months down the road. In order to ensure it freezes well, make sure you let the loaves cool completely. Then place them in a freezer safe bag and ensure it is sealed well.
When you are craving another tsoureki fix again, just let the bread thaw on the counter and enjoy!
I hope you enjoy this recipe!