Monday, April 25, 2011

Tsoureki Easter Bread

     We had an absolutely wonderful meal yesterday for Easter.  Filled with all sorts of goodies including ham, cheesy potatoes, sweet potatoes, corn casserole, green bean & artichoke casserole, lemon cheesecake and a Tsoureki Easter Bread, which was one of my contributions.  This year I decided to try something new for bread, so I did a little research. 
     Tsoureki is the traditional Greek Easter bread.  It typically is made the day before Easter, and then brought to the Saturday evening service the night before Easter to be blessed.  For the traditional bread they place a red hard boiled egg in the dough prior to baking (to symbolize Christ's blood), however I left the egg out of my recipe, to save me a bit of time :-) 
     The bread was pretty typical of any bread I've made, a little yeast, a little flour, a little sugar, a lot of kneading and rising.  However where this bread stood out to me was the heavenly aroma it produced while it was baking!  I have never made such a delicious smelling bread!  My husband even commented on the pleasant smell coming from the kitchen.  The following is the recipe that I used, however there are a few variations on the Internet if you browse.  Enjoy!

1 cup milk
4 1/2 to 5 1/2 cups flour, divided
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 Tablespoons yeast
3 eggs & 1 egg yolk
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 Tablespoons orange juice
2 teaspoons orange zest
2 teaspoons vanilla

1) heat milk to very warm and pour into mixing bowl
2) whisk in 1 1/2 cups flour, sugar and yeast until well mixed; cover with plastic wrap & let stand in warm place until bubbly (aprox 30 minutes)
3) add eggs one at a time to yeast mixture
4) add another 2 cup of flour, orange zest & salt; mix
5) add softened butter, vanilla & orange juice; mix
6)gradually add enough of the remaining flour to form a soft, sticky dough
7) knead on a well floured surface for aprox 6-8 minutes
8) coat a large bowl with vegetable oil/cooking spray
9) place dough in bowl and flip dough once to coat each side
10) cover with a clean kitchen towel and allow to rice in a warm place until doubled in size (aprox 1 1/2 hrs)

11) Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper
12) divide the dough into thirds, and shape each third into a rope
13) braid the dough making sure to tuck the ends under
14) let the braided dough rise for about 1/2 hr (don't let it rise too much as it will get to airy and full of holes)
15) mix egg yolk with 1 Tablespoon of water, and brush over the braided loaf

16) Bake for 15 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 350 degrees and bake for about 20 minutes longer, or until bread is golden brown.
17) remove from oven, cool for 5 minutes on pan, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely

And... Voila!  Here is my finished product


  1. Hi!! Thanks for stopping by and following Frazzled Mama. I'm following back.

    This bread looks so amazing. Thanks for sharing the recipe. I think I'm going to try it.

  2. Love, love love the smell of freshly baking bread! Following from MFM. Thanks for stopping by! :)

  3. Wow, I have not seen anyone make Easter bread since my Mom passed away. We had it every Easter. I sure do miss it. Thanks for stopping by and I came back and followed you thru GFC. Have a great nighta and I sure wished I lived next door so I could run over and get some of that bread! My mom was Russian Orthodox and I thought only the Russian/Serbian/Polish did Easter bread so I am really amazed at your bread.


  4. my grandmother made a braided bread with raw colored eggs too and I have yet to make it. Maybe next year. you have inspired me.
    thanks for stopping by my blog, returning the favor.

  5. Can i just tell you that it would never look that pretty if I made it. Mine would end up on a know I am sure:) I am following you back. Have a great week.

  6. Hey Katee! That bread is beautiful - you did an awesome job making me want to eat it, haha :) I usually veer more towards quick breads, because, well, they're quick, but this looks like something I might have to try soon!

  7. This looks great
    I am having a giveaway come on over.

  8. Beautiful bread . . . what a great tradition. :)
    Thanks for visiting, I'm following you back.

  9. oh my goodness this looks so delicious. Im a huge bread fan and I want some right now! lol

  10. Hi!
    I'm stopping by from the Tuesday Hop to say hello and follow.
    Have a great day!

  11. Okay..I'm a stay at home mom and I do not bake bread. Confession-eek! I want to but I have never attempted. This inspires me to try. I am writing the recipe down now. :)
    I am a new follower from the Where Are You Wed, hop.