Tsoureki – Greek Easter Sweet Bread

about this recipe:

Tsoureki is a very popular Greek sweet bread, which texture resembles a brioche. This bread is traditionally made during Easter. Because it is so time consuming many Greeks normally go to their local bakers to buy their tsourekia for Easter. But with this recipe you will be able to make a 5-star one at home.

Want to try another Greek bread recipe? Try Koulouria Thesalonikis, Koulouria are normally eaten for breakfast, and you will be able to find them around every street corner in Athens.



  • 150 g water room temperature
  • 500 g flour We went to the Greek deli and asked for sweetbreads or brioche flour, if you cant find that, try find a flour with a higher yeast content.
  • 15 g active dry yeast
  • 1/2 tbsp crystallized sugar
  • 10-15 g mahlab – Mahlab is a mixture of spices – (I got this from the Greek deli if you can’t find it you could substitute with Mehlab alternatives
  • ½ teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1 ½ g mastic I got this from the Greek deli
  • 5 cardamom seeds
  • pinch of salt
  • grated zest of 1 orange
  • 2 medium eggs 50 g each
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 150 g honey
  • 50 g melted butter + extra for brushing
  • 100 g butter cut in to pieces, at room temperature
  • egg whites for brushing over tops of loaves
  • almond slivers for sprinkling


  • In a mixing bowl, add the water and yeast. Whisk by hand and gently add the flour over the mixture, until it is covered. Do not stir…. simply set aside for about 30 minutes, until the yeast activates. You will know that the yeast has activated because the live yeast bubbles will rise to the top, breaking out of the flour.
  • Beat the mahlab, sugar, mastic, cardamom and a pinch of salt in a food processor, until all of the aromatics are finely ground.
  • If you want your sweetbread even sweeter, add another 50 g of granulated sugar.
  • Once the yeast has activated, add the aromatic mixture, orange zest, egg, vanilla, melted butter and honey.
  • Begin beating on low speed and gradually increase the mixer’s speed until a nice dough has been created. This should take about 10 minutes.
  • When ready, lower speed and add the pieces of butter, which should be at room temperature. Beat again until the dough has completely pulled back from the sides of the bowl.
  • Brush a bowl with melted butter and place the dough in it. Cover with plastic wrap and set it aside to rest and rise for at least 2 hours, at room temperature, until it doubles in size.
  • Preheat oven to 180* C (350* F) Fan.
  • When the dough is ready, punch down on a clean working surface. Roll the dough in to a baguette shape, fold in half and roll again. Repeat this process 5-8 times. It is a necessary step because it creates even more elastic threads in the dough which is what gives the sweetbread such a nice, chewy texture.
  • Cut in to 4 equal sized pieces. Shape each piece in to a long strip and place them one next to the other on your working surface, leaving a little space between them.
  • To shape it in to a beautiful braid, begin by connecting the tips of all 4 strips and then fold each strip over the other. Repeat this over and over until you have created a beautiful braid!
  • Transfer to a baking pan that has been lined with parchment paper.
  • Brush with some egg whites, sprinkle with almond slivers and set it aside for 20 minutes, so it can rest and rise again.
  • When ready, bake for 20-30 minutes, until golden.

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