Tsoureki – Greek Easter Bread Recipe

A traditional Greek Easter bread adorned with hardboiled eggs that have been dyed red.

Tip

Turn the bread over and knock on the bottom – if it sounds hollow, the bread is done; otherwise return it to the oven for a few minutes more.

Ingredients – For 1 loaf

– 450 g (1 lb.) white flour

– 175 ml (3/4 cup) lukewarm milk

– 20 g (2/3 oz.) yeast

– 140 ml (1/2 cup + 1 tbsp.) hot milk

– 1 tsp. allspice

– 1/2 tsp. salt

– 1/2 tsp. cinnamon

– 1/2 tsp. caraway seed

– 50 g (3 tbsp.) butter

– 40 g (3 tbsp.) sugar

– 2 eggs

Decoration

– 1 tbsp. water

– 1 tbsp. liquid honey

– 1 egg yolk

– Flaked almonds

– Small silver or gold leaves (optional – available in pastry shops)

Red eggs

– 3 eggs or more

– red food colouring

– 1 tbsp. white vinegar

– 1 tsp. olive oil

– 1 tsp. water

Method

Preparing the eggs

  • Hard cook the eggs by boiling them in water for 10 minutes;
  • remove from the boiling water and place on a rack to dry;
  • in a small bowl, mix the food colouring with the hot water and vinegar; dip each egg into the dye and place on the rack to dry;
  • oil a piece of paper towel and rub over each egg.

Making the bread

  • In a large bowl, combine the flour, allspice, cinnamon, caraway and salt;
  • in another bowl, dissolve the yeast in the 175 ml warm milk;
  • in another bowl, cream the butter together with the sugar; whisk in the eggs and the 140 ml milk;
  • slowly pour the yeast and butter mixtures into the centre of the flour, gradually blending the flour in until a dough is formed;
  • place the dough on a floured work surface and knead for about 10 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic;
  • place into a lightly oiled bowl; cover with a cloth and let rise about 2 hours or until doubled in volume;
  • knead and divide into 3 balls; roll each one out into a rectangle approximately 38 x 50 cm (15 x 20″); braid the three pieces together; fold under at each end to create nicely rounded ends;
  • place the 3 coloured eggs onto the dough, pressing down a little; cover and let rise another hour;
  • mix the beaten egg yolk with the honey and water; brush over the bread; sprinkle with the flaked almonds;
  • place in a preheated 190° C (375° F) oven for 40-45 minutes.