I have been making “tsoureki” for many years now. Maybe it’s because I love it so much, I want to eat it all year round. This delicious sweet bread is not difficult to make but needs love and attention so some rules for optimum results.

Let me start with the texture. It needs to be stringy! Meaning, you should knead it long enough for the gluten in the flour to expand, thus creating the strings in the dough.

Then it’s the fluffiness. Tsoureki is not supposed to be spongy and springy to the touch. It’s not supposed to be dense either. It should have a bread like texture only stringy!

About the flavour. It should have enough mastic (tree resin) and mahleb (cherry seeds) to feel it in your nostrils and enough orange zest to tickle your taste buds.

One of the problems I encountered while recipe testing for the millionth time, was an inconsistency to the proofing of the dough. I had doughs rising and tripling in size and I had doughs as flat as a deflated bike tire. I experimented with different methods like adding the yeast in the flour or whisking yeast in warm milk. What I discovered during these “adventures” is that yeast needs water, sugar and flour to rise to its’ full glory. I also read in one of my million cookbooks that protein in milk affects yeast and it may kill it. So, bringing milk to boiling point, then cooling it to lukewarm and then adding it to the dough, eliminates the protein. However, most of the times, I can’t be bothered to do that.

This is my go-to recipe. I have worked on it for a very long time and every time it yields fantastic results. If I had to give one advise when making tsoureki is this: Knead-knead-knead as if your life depends on it. And when you think you have kneaded the dough long enough, knead it a bit longer. That’s why I think a stand mixer is the best tool for the job.

The possibilities are endless once you get the hang of it. 3 strand braids, 4-strand, 5-strand, I have watched more you-tube videos about braiding than my hairdresser!

Hope you will try this recipe. It’s such a delicious treat and the perfect easter gift to your loved ones.

“Tsoureki” – Greek Easter Bread

Galatia Pamboridis
We should eat this all year round! I love it and this is my best recipe. Three tips before you start: 1. Use the correct flour. Strong, bread flour. 2. Be patient. This is an enriched dough and it takes time to proof. 3. Knead as if your life depends on it. And when you are done kneading, knead more!
Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Proofing Time 3 hours 30 minutes
Course Breads, dough, Pastry
Cuisine Cypriot
Servings 2 small “Tsourekia” or 1 large


For the yeast (starter) mixture:

  • 80 grams water, lukewarm
  • 11 grams dry yeast
  • 10 grams granulated sugar,
  • 40 grams strong bread flour

For the dough:

  • 30 grams orange peel, without the white pith
  • 130 grams granulated sugar,
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract or 1 sachet vanilla powder
  • 70 grams milk, lukewarm
  • 2 large eggs
  • 460 grams strong bread flour
  • ½ tsp mastic tears
  • ½ tsp mahleb seeds
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 125 grams butter, at room temperature

For Coating:

  • 1 egg lightly beaten
  • Sliced almonds optional



  • Make the yeast batter: In a stand mixer bowl, pour in the water and sprinkle over the yeast. Whisk to dissolve the yeast. Add the sugar and flour. Whisk again to combine. Cover with plastic wrap or a tea towel and let it stand for 10-15 minutes. During this time the mixture will have bubbles on the surface and it will rise. If it doesn’t, your yeast is not “working” and you should start over.
  • Make the orange sugar: In a small blender blend sugar and orange peel on high speed. The sugar will take on an orange colour and all the aromas and oils from the orange peel will be extracted.
  • Crush mastic seeds and mahleb seeds in a mortar and pestle or a coffee grinder.
  • Make the dough: Place bowl with yeasted (risen) batter on mixer and attach the dough hook. Add lukewarm milk, orange sugar, vanilla, eggs, flour, crushed mastic and mahleb, salt and knead at medium-low speed for 10 minutes. Start adding the butter piece by piece. Knead 10-15 minutes more. Check the dough by pulling it. It should be soft and stretchy.
  • Transfer dough in a buttered bowl. Cover and let it rise in a warm place for 2-3 hours until double in size.
  • Shape the tsoureki: Divide risen dough in three or four equal pieces depending on how you want to braid the tsoureki. Roll each piece into a log. Join the top tip of the logs and braid the tsoureki (see note on braiding). Place it on a baking sheet on greaseproof paper or silicon mat. Cover with a tea towel for 30-45 minutes. In the meantime, pre-heat oven to 160 C fan.
  • Brush the entire surface of the tsoureki with beaten egg. Sprinkle with sliced almonds if you like. Transfer in the oven and bake for 45-50 minutes. Cool (if you must!) and enjoy.


The 4-strand braid: Don’t panic and memorize the pattern:
Starting from the right:
The 2nd rope over 2
The 1st rope over 1.
Repeat on the other side. It’s that simple!
Collections afternoon tea, baking, Easter, Kids

1 Comment

  1. Maria Vassiliou Reply

    What if you are using a Thermomix? At which setting would you knead ? The standard one ? Thanks

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