Greek Easter bread – Tsoureki – soft, sweet, yeast egg-enriched bread flavored with citrus and aniseed.
Tsoureki it’s the famous Greek Easter bread. It’s soft, sweet, yeast egg-enriched bread usually flavored with citrus, aniseed or mahlepi (sour cherry pits ground into powder). A couple of cooked red dyed eggs tucked between the braids, sprinkle some slivered almonds on top. The aroma of the bread while baking will take over your kitchen.
Unlike the Italian Easter Bread, the red eggs tucked into the bread just before baking are already cooked. Since they are way over cooked, I would not recommend eating them. You can use raw dyed eggs if you’d like to eat them as well.
Tsoureki it’s usually braided into a log but you’ll also find it braided into a ring/circle. The three-strand braid symbolizes the Holy Trinity, while the red-dyed hard-boiled eggs braided into the dough symbolizes the blood of Christ. Like many other countries bread has religious significance and in lots East European Countries you’ll find very similar traditions around the holidays. Only in the last couple of years the Easter Eggs have been dyed in different colors, but red it’s still the most used color.
I was actually planning on making several Easter breads and share the recipes with you, but I’ve been down with a flu since the weekend and don’t have much baking energy. I’ll try to share the Romanian Easter Bread later today or tomorrow with you.
Greek Easter bread – Tsoureki - soft, sweet, yeast egg-enriched bread flavored with citrus and aniseed.
- 6 hard boiled red dyed eggs
- 2 tsp dry yeast
- 3/4 cup lukewarm milk
- 3 1/2 cups (420 grams) bread flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp aniseed
- 1 tbsp grated orange zest
- 1/4 cup melted butter
- 3 tbsp sugar
- 2 eggs, raw
- 2-3 tbsp milk
- slivered almonds
- In a mixing bowl add 1 cup of flour, yeast and the lukewarm milk. Stir to combine and leave at room temperature for about 5 minutes until bubbles start to appear at the surface.
- In the meantime, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the two raw eggs and mix some more. Stir in the orange zest, anissed and salt.
- Add the creamed sweet butter to the spongy yeast mixture.
- With the dough hook on, start mixing, slowly adding enough flour to make a smooth elastic dough, about 2 1/2 cups.
- Take the dough out and place it into a greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and leave at room temperature until doubled in volume.
- When the dough is risen, punch down and divide the dough into 6 pieces. Shape each piece into a rope and braid two loaves. Tuck 3 eggs into each bread.
- Cover and let rise again for another 30-40 minutes.
- Meanwhile heat the oven to 375F.
- Just before baking, brush the loaves with milk and sprinkle some slivered almonds on top. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden.
- Leave to cool completely before slicing it. Enjoy!
recipe adapted from The Bread and Bread Machine Bible
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