Easter is just around the corner and it’s always a fun time to get in the kitchen and do some baking. Tsoureki is a traditional Greek bread that is made at Easter time. I have never made it on my own before – this year will be the first time for me.
Usually I bake Tsoureki with the help of my Aunty. However my Aunty always seems to do most of the cooking I tend to just watch from a distance or take photos. Making Tsoureki on my own this year will be a huge challenge because I know that it’s is not an easy task.
I do not suggest that you make Tsoureki on your own if this is the very first time for you (or unless you have a Thermomix). This recipe is best for people who are experienced bakers and bread makers or for those who have made Tsoureki before.
Easter cooking can be lots of fun so ask a friend or family member to come over and cook with you. Remember to take a photo of your Tsoureki (whether you made it or even if you are just eating it!) and tag your post with the hash tag #GreekCookingChallenge.
You might also like last year’s Easter recipe: Red Eggs For Greek Easter.
This Greek Easter Bread recipe and all of the image photography is by Michelle – The Brown Eyed Baker.
Michelle has some AMAZING recipes on her blog and her food photography is really inspiring. If you are looking for more great Easter recipes then you might like some of Michelle’s Easter Recipes – she has 158 of them!
- - 10 brown eggs
- - 6 cups water (plus more for boiling and chilling the eggs)
- - 1 ounce red food coloring
- - 3 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
- - 2½ cups all-purpose flour, divided
- - 1 cup granulated sugar
- - 4½ teaspoons active dry yeast
- - 1 cup whole milk, warmed to 110 degrees F
- - ½ cup unsalted butter, cut into small cubes, at room temperature
- - 3 eggs, lightly beaten
- - 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- - Zest of 2 oranges
- - 2 tablespoons orange juice
- - 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- - 2 to 3 cups bread flour
- - 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 1. Make the Red Easter Eggs: Place the eggs in a large pot, cover with 2 inches of water, and bring to a boil over high heat. Cover the pot and remove from heat. Let stand for 7 minutes. Transfer the eggs to a bowl of ice water and let stand until chilled, about 10 minutes, then drain.
- 2. Pour the 6 cups of water into a large bowl. Stir in the food coloring and vinegar until combined. Add the eggs and let stand until deep red, about 2 hours. Lightly rinse the eggs under running water and let dry on a paper towel-lined plate.
- 3. Make the Bread: Combine 1½ cups of the all-purpose flour, sugar and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment; whisk on low speed to combine. Increase the speed to medium-low and gradually add the warmed milk to the mixer bowl, scraping down the sides if necessary. Mix until combined. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let stand until bubbling, about 30 minutes.
- 4. Return the mixer bowl to the stand and attach the dough hook. On medium speed, mix in the lightly beaten eggs in 3 additions. Add the remaining 1 cup all-purpose flour and salt and mix until incorporated. Add the butter, orange zest, orange juice and vanilla, mixing until combined. Gradually mix in 2 cups of the bread flour, scraping down the sides of the bowl if necessary; then add enough of the remaining bread flour to form a soft, slightly sticky dough that pulls away from the sides of the bowl.
- 5. Increase the speed to medium-high and mix until the dough is very smooth, about 8 minutes. Form the dough into a ball, place in a greased bowl and turn to coat. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until 1½ times its original size, about 1½ hours.
- 6. Line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. Punch down the dough and cut the dough in half with a bench scraper or sharp knife. Set one half aside and cover with plastic wrap. Cut the other half into 3 equal pieces and roll each piece into a 16-inch-long rope. Loosely braid the ropes together, pinching the ends to seal, and place the loaf diagonally on one of the baking sheets. Repeat the process with the other half of dough. Loosely cover each loaf with plastic wrap coated with non-stick cooking spray and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, 1 to 1½ hours.
- 7. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F and adjust the racks to the upper-third and lower-third positions.
- 8. Transfer the baking sheets to the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Remove one baking sheet from the oven. Quickly and carefully push 5 eggs, larger side down, into the center of the loaf, spacing them evenly down the length. Brush the dough with the egg wash and immediately return to the oven. Repeat with the second loaf.
- 9. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F and bake, rotating baking sheets from top to bottom and front to back halfway through, until the loaves are deep golden and sound hollow when tapped on the bottom, about 25 minutes more. Transfer the bread to a wire rack; let cool completely before slicing. The bread can be stored at room temperature, wrapped in foil, for up to 2 days.
- The recipe advises not eating the decorative red eggs.
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I’d love to hear about your cooking experience so please post a comment at the end of this article or send me an email to tell me all about it!
If you have a cooking tip or a tsoureki recipe that you would like to share with us please provide a link in the comments below.
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