Make Ahead

"Tsoureki" (Greek Easter Bread)

January 29, 2011
0 Ratings
  • Makes 6 Braids
Author Notes

Tsoureki (tsoo-RHE-kee) is a very popular traditional type of sweet bread that is baked for Easter in Greece. It is flavoured with different spices according to the traditions of each geographic region within Greece. In Northern Greece, where I am from, we use "Kakoule" which is ground cardamom seeds with "Mahlepi" (a.k.a. as mahlab which is ground seed of wild-cheries). "Kakoule" is also a "secret" way to give great flavour to Greek coffee! Enjoy! —Julie Yefsi

What You'll Need
  • 3 kg of flour
  • 2 tablespoons Dry Yeast
  • 1 kg sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 450 grams fresh unsalted butter
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1/2 liter milk
  • Dash Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1 tablespoon Mahlab (mahlpei ground pits of wild-cherries)
  • 1 tablespoon "Kakoule" - ground cardamom seeds
  1. In a small bowl disolve the yeast in a cup of lukewarm milk and a few tablespoons of the flour and let it stand for 15 mintues.
  2. Gently beat the sugar and eggs in a bowl until the sugar is disolved. Add the milk, vanilla, mahlab and ground cardamom seeds.
  3. In a seperate bowl sift the flour and baking powder. Create a little opening (whole) in the center of the bowl and add the liquid mixture. Start slowly stirring the flour with the liquids to create the dough.
  4. Melt the butter and add it in small batches to the dough. Knead the dough well but keep it soft and smooth. Let the dough stand covered in a warm place and let it rise until it has doubled in size for approx. 1,5 to 2 hours.
  5. When the dough has rised seperate it in 6 parts (balls). Seperate each ball in 3 parts and roll each out into long thick "ropes". Take the 3 "ropes" and braid them.
  6. Preheat the oven to 330 F (165 C). In a small bowl mix egg-white with water and brush some over each braid. You can also add almond slivers and/or sesame seeds. Let the braids stand and rise for about 45 minutes to 1 hour.
  7. Bake them for 30 - 40 minutes until they have a nice golden-brown colour.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • YunJi Choi
    YunJi Choi
  • Despina Yeargin
    Despina Yeargin
  • Yolenis
  • checker
  • Kitchen Butterfly
    Kitchen Butterfly

6 Reviews

YunJi C. July 18, 2023
Something is very wrong between the flour and liquid ratio - I had to add lots of water/milk to create the dough consistency. I am puzzled by the previous reviews. 3kgs of flour with just a half liter of milk (500g), six eggs (300-400g all together), and 450g butter is not enough to hydrate the dough. Am I missing something?
Despina Y. April 10, 2017
In my part of Greece--Sparti--we only use masticha. I will have to try your version. I love cardamom--it's so fragrants--and I've never used mahlepi, so I'm excited to give this a go. Thanks for sharing!
Yolenis October 31, 2014
Excellent recipe. Made it yesterday for Greek Easter and it came very close to my Thea's that we used to enjoy! I'll make this again
checker March 15, 2011
Here in the States there is a large Greek community in Chicago, enough to be called 'Greektown' and allow the street signs to be written in Greek. This year I am going to marry into a Chicago Greek family. Being just "plain white" (like so many Americans, I am a Northern European mutt, so-to-speak) I have been scrutinized throughly when I attempt Greek cooking. Last Easter I made my boldest move yet when I made and brought "Gia-Gia Rice" to dinner. Fortunately even Gia-Gia thought it was a success. This year I am contemplating Tsoureki. This will be a good resource to study. Thank you for sharing!
Kitchen B. January 30, 2011
What a beautiful loaf. Delicious.....
Julie Y. January 30, 2011
Thank you!