Tsoureki (Greek Easter Bread)

April 4, 2012 · 9 comments

in breads and muffins,greek


I’m SO excited to have finally made my first tsoureki! Tsoureki (tsoo-reh-kee)  is the traditional Greek bread made at Easter (Pascha) time, and I love it. It’s slightly sweet and gets its unmistakable flavor from mahlepi, which is made from cherry seeds. I had my grandma bring some  home from Greece, but I actually ran across some in a semi-ethnic grocery store near me recently, so it can definitely be found in the states. You can also purchase it from Penzey’s.

I’ve been wanting to make my own for years, but the problem is, a recipe for a loaf or two (or even 4) of tsoureki doesn’t seem to exist. All recipes, my grandmothers’ included, use at least 30 cups of flour. No joke. Most Greeks always have a loaf on hand to take to someone else’s house, or just to give to someone who drops by. But I definitely don’t have that need, and also didn’t want to even think about cutting down a recipe that huge.

Thankfully, I found this recipe for 2 (sort of) loaves. I ended up halving the recipe below, which should have made one loaf. And it did. But I should have definitely, definitely made it into two.

Because it was huge.

Massive.

I had to put it diagonally on my sheet pan just so it would (barely) fit and of course it stretched the limits of the pan and I ended up having square-ish ends, and not looking very braided when it was all said and done.

See what I mean?

For a minute, I was starting to wonder if the rising bread would bust through the oven door.

Anyway, despite its  massive size, the tsoureki turned out fabulously. It tasted exactly like the slightly sweet, eggy bready I’m used to. Many people compare it to Hawaiian bread, which I can see. I’d liken the texture and eggy-ness to challah, but tsoureki is a bit sweeter.

Normally, tsoureki should have a dyed red egg or two baked right into the loaf, but I had zero interest in dying eggs red (maybe next year with Zachary).

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Ivy April 4, 2012 at 11:53 am

Congratulations for making your first tsourekia. They look delicious. It’s strange because my recipe makes exactly four tsourekia and I avoid adding a red egg to it as it dyes the bread. http://kopiaste.org/2011/04/tsourekia-with-chestnut-filling/

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Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar April 4, 2012 at 3:26 pm

What a yummy looking bread!

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Lisa @ Snappy Gourmet April 4, 2012 at 8:39 pm

I love Greek Easter bread and always looked forward to my dad bringing some home from Greektown in Detroit when we lived in Michigan. This looks delicious!

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Banana Wonder April 5, 2012 at 1:27 am

Love the tsoureki! I can’t believe this is your first! Well, I guess you are not into baking and have access to Greek baked goods, so that makes sense. Gotta love the massiveness of it. Good work!!

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Joanne April 5, 2012 at 5:38 am

Tsoureki is really SO similar to Italian easter bread…which is really the only thing I LOVE about easter. I have so many memories of my grandmother making a gazillion loaves and us getting to have chunks of bread for breakfast for days on end.

30 cups of flour?!?!? WHat kind of bowl would one even use for that!!

I think your braid is super pretty. :)

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Mary Ellen @ Pâte à Chew April 5, 2012 at 9:21 am

Congrats on making your first tsoureki – I’m going to try my hand at it for the first time this weekend!

LOL, 30 cups of flour, that is so typical of every yiayia’s recipes :)

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anastasia May 21, 2012 at 5:12 am

dear Elly,i just found out your sight and i love it.Bravo for your tsoureki, you must know that its very difficult to make it.I make them(tsourekia) every year(PASXA) for our godmothers,parents e.t.c.Unfortunatelly i can suxxed the taste but not the presentation(plexouda),you know it must look like a braid.So i make a lot small atomic sizes circles and i dont have to worry about the looks anymore.

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