“Tsoureki” Greek Easter Bread Recipe
4 cups flour (plus more for dusting)
1 packet (or 2 ½ tsp active dry yeast)
1 tsp salt
2/3 cup sugar
3/4 cup milk
2 eggs beaten
1 stick (8 Tbs. unsulated butter)
1 ½ tsp orange zest
1 tsp Mahlepi (if you can find it)
¼ tsp mastic powder (http://mastihashopny.com/)(or at Indian Markets)
1 egg yolk combined with tbs milk,
1-2 red-dyed hard-boiled egg
Sesame seeds or toasted sliced almonds to decorate
- Warm the milk in a small saucepan to about 105 – 110 degrees and to a bowl. Add the yeast to activate. (You will know it is working when bubbles start to form).
- Sift dry ingredients and set aside.
- Melt the butter and after it has cooled add the two eggs and orange zest.
- Combine the wet ingredients in a stand mixer with the dough hook attached.
- Slowly add the flour until it is all incorporated and let the dough hook knead the bread until the mass cleans the sides. Continue to knead for about 5 minutes. Turn out onto a floured surface and need for another 2-3 minutes.
- Place the dough in a warm, draft free spot covered by oiled plastic wrap and allow it to rise until it has doubled in size.
- After two hours (or more) divide the dough into three parts and roll out into long ropes. Secure the ropes together on one end and then braid them. Let the bread rise for a second time in a warm draft free place for about one hour.
- Preheat the oven to 350 and make sure the oven rack is in the middle.
- Immediately before putting the bread in the oven, brush with the egg milk wash, sprinkle with either the almonds or sesame seeds and insert the red egg into the desired location (see photo).
- Bake for about 30 minutes until a deep golden color is obtained. Check after 20 minutes. When you tap the bottom it should sound hollow.
This year I divided the dough into two and made two mini loaves (see above), one straight and one circular, but use your discretion and creativity. There is no right or wrong way. As long as the red egg makes its debut, you have successfully made a Greek Tsoureki! For directions on dying the eggs, follow this link:
I found it necessary to add a little red food coloring to deepen the color, but the results were spectacular.