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Greek Bread (Tsoureki)

This traditional Easter Greek Bread called Tsoureki is slightly sweet, soft and tasty. It is perfect on its own or with a slather of butter, and it makes a nice addition to your gathering table.

close up shot of Greek bread.

Sweet Greek Bread is comparable to a brioche. It is mildly sweet, buttery and an egg rich bread perfect for snack or breakfast.Enjoy it plain or with a pat of butter.

Greek bread has been on the blog for quite a while now. I have always wanted to update it to a better recipe and pictures but that took quite a while to happen. But here we are now. And I love, love this new Greek Bread recipe so much.

This Greek Bread called Tsoureki is a traditional Greek bread for Easter. I love this braided loaf with its sophisticated flavor,  with the orange zest adding a pop of bright flavor. Very subtle yet it makes a big difference. I suggest not to skip it. You can also use lemon zest if that is what you have.

Top shot of Tsoureki Greek Bread.

Tsoureki

  • It is almost like, but not as rich as a Brioche. It is a dough that is rich in eggs, sugar and fat but not as many as that of a brioche (a brioche can have as many as 4 eggs in a 5 cup flour batch).
  • Like a Challah, Tsoureki Greek Bread can be shaped into a loaf or a ring.
  • The toppings of almonds are a nice decorative garnish but also add texture to every slice of the loaf.

A slice of Tsoureki Greek bread.

Now my hope is that you don’t brush making this aside because, well… it’s a braided loaf and it looks complicated. The truth is, making this is not really hard at all. And I hope you don’t get intimidated by the sponge part in the dough making. There is really nothing different making this loaf from making the rest of the bread recipes we have here on the blog.

I assure you and promise you that as long as you live for beautifully baked breads fresh from the oven, you will have fun with this and you will admire your creation at the end. 

Ingredients of Greek bread Tsoureki.

Let’s Make Tsoureki Greek Bread

  • Combine warm water, yeast and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer.  Stir the mixture well, then add 1 cup of all-purpose flour. Using a wooden spoon, stir everything until a soft dough is formed. Cover the bowl and let it sit for 30 minutes. The dough will rise at this time.
  • In a small bowl, stir together the eggs, the warm milk, and the butter until the eggs are dispersed. Pour this mixture into the bowl.  Add in the salt, sugar, craisins, and orange zest. Stir everything until incorporated.

A collage showing the process of making the bread dough for the Greek bread.

  • Add the  2 cups of flour, one cup at a time while stirring. Gradually add just enough of the remaining flour, until a soft, shaggy dough forms in the center of the bowl.
  • Attach the dough hook to the mixer, and knead the dough for 3-5 minutes, or until the dough starts to gather in the center and cleans the sides of the bowl. Gradually sprinkle 2-4 tablespoons more of flour as the mixer runs, speeding up the mixer just to help the dough to release from the bottom of the bowl. The dough will start to slap the sides of the bowl. This is your sign that your dough is ready.
  • Transfer the dough into a lightly greased bowl, turning to coat. Cover the bowl loosely with a clean kitchen towel and allow to rise for 1 ½ hour, or until doubled in bulk.

A collage showing the process of braiding a loaf.

  • Gently deflate the risen dough. Divide it into 3 equal portions. Using your palms, elongate each portion into a 12-14 inches long log. On a clean surface, position the logs parallel to one another.
  • To start the braid, pinch the top ends of the logs together and slightly tuck them underneath. Start braiding the logs, and once you reach the end, pinch the ends together, then tuck it underneath.

The braided Tsoureki just before baking.

  • Carefully transfer the braided loaf to a large baking pan that is lined with parchment paper. Loosely cover the bread with a clean towel. Let this rise for 40 minutes to 1 hour.
  • Preheat oven to 350 F. Beat together 1 egg white with 1 tablespoon of water. Brush this mixture on the surface of the braided loaf. Top the loaf with lots of almond slices. Bake the loaf at 350 F for 35-40 minutes, or until the top is golden. If the top is browning too quickly, cover it loosely with foil during the last 5-10 minutes. 

Top view shot of Tsoureki Greek Bread.

Storage

  • Store leftover tsoureki in a container with a tight lid at room temperature for up to 3 days.
  • To reheat, warm it up in the microwave for 8-12 minutes. 

Here is More for You, Bread Baker:

Greek Bread

Greek Bread

Yield: 12 servings
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Additional Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 3 hours 5 minutes

This traditional Easter Greek Bread called Tsoureki is slightly sweet, soft and tasty. It is perfect on its own or with a slather of butter, and it makes a nice addition to your gathering table.

Ingredients

For the Sponge

  • 2 and 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour

For the Dough

  • 1/2 cup warm milk (105-115 F)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup craisins or raisins
  • zest of one orange
  • 3 ½ cups all-purpose flour

Instructions

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine warm water, yeast and sugar. Stir the mixture well, then add 1 cup of all-purpose flour. Using a wooden spoon, stir everything until a soft dough is formed. Cover the bowl and let it sit for 30 minutes to allow it to rise.
  2. In a small bowl, stir together the eggs, the warm milk, and the butter until the eggs are dispersed. Pour this mixture into the bowl with the sponge. Add in the salt, sugar, craisins, and orange zest. Stir everything until incorporated.
  3. Add 2 cups of flour, one cup at a time while stirring. Add just enough of the remaining flour gradually, until a soft, shaggy dough forms in the center of the bowl.
  4. Attach the dough hook to the mixer, and knead the dough for 3-5 minutes, or until the dough starts to gather in the center and cleans the sides of the bowl. Gradually sprinkle 2-4 tablespoons more of flour as the mixer runs, speeding up the mixer just to help the dough to release from the bottom of the bowl. The dough will start to slap the sides of the bowl. The dough is now ready.
  5. Transfer the dough into a lightly greased bowl, turning to coat. Cover the bowl loosely with a clean kitchen towel and allow to rise for 1 ½ hour, or until doubled in bulk.
  6. Gently deflate the risen dough. Divide it into 3 equal portions. Using your palms, elongate each portion into a 12-14 inches long log. On a clean surface, position the logs parallel to one another. To start the braid, first, pinch the top ends of the logs together and slightly tuck them underneath. Start braiding the logs, going down to the other end. Once you reach the end, pinch the ends together, then tuck it underneath.
  7. Carefully transfer the braided loaf to a large baking pan that is lined with parchment paper. Loosely cover the bread with a clean towel, then allow to rise for 40 minutes to 1 hour.
  8. Preheat oven to 350 F. Once the loaf has risen, make the egg wash. Beat together 1 egg white with 1 tablespoon of water. Brush this mixture on the surface of the braided loaf. Top the loaf with lots of almond slices. Bake the loaf at 350 F for 35-40 minutes, or until the top is golden. If the top is browning too quickly, cover it loosely with foil during the last 5-10 minutes. Allow the bread to cool slightly before slicing.

Notes

Store leftover bread on a tightly covered container at room temperature for up to three days.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 184Total Fat: 9gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 52mgSodium: 176mgCarbohydrates: 24gFiber: 1gSugar: 15gProtein: 3g
This Greek bread is mildly sweet and is rich in egg and butter, making it almost like a brioche without the complex preparation. #GreekBread #Easterbread #Braidedbread

 

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6 Comments

  1. Hi, You forgot to add the Flour amount in the “For the Dough” list of ingredients. You do have Add 2 cups of flour, one at a time in the instructions.
    I will be making this recipe on the weekend. Hope to add it to my Easter table if it works out well (instead of my usual Challah)

    1. Hi Lori! I am sorry about that and thank you for pointing that out. I really appreciate it! I updated the recipe with the amount of flour now. Thanks and I hope you enjoy this.

  2. The everyday dishes recepie says kneading is 2 mins and not 12 mins. Is this what was modified in your recipe? I wasn’t sure I stopped kneading after 5 mins.

    1. Hello, Liyana! Thank you for trying the recipe. If at 5 minutes, the dough can stretch thinly if you pull out a little piece, your dough is ready 🙂 You may not need the entire 12.

      Thank you and let me know how it went.

    1. Hi Carson! Dear me, I am so sorry about that! I have already corrected the recipe. The salt is added together with the flour, sugar and yeast.I hope things still turned out well!

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