Print

Greek Easter sweet bread with olive oil (Tsoureki)

This Greek Easter sweet bread with olive oil is light, fluffy and stringy. Ground mahlepi makes it extra fragrant and irresistible.
Course Bread, Sweet
Cuisine Greek, Mediterranean
Keyword Bread, Easter, Greek, Tsoureki
Prep Time 5 hours
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 5 hours 35 minutes
Author The Hungry Bites

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup (125 grams) warm milk
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons (15 grams) active dry yeast
  • 4 cups (560 grams) bread flour or high-gluten flour (you may need 2-3 tablespoons more)
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (130 grams) white sugar
  • 2 tablespoons (40 grams) honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1 tablespoon ground mahleb
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • 3 large eggs, 180 grams
  • 1/2 cup (100 grams) olive oil

  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Some blanched sliced almonds, optional

Instructions

  1. Transfer the milk, the yeast, one tablespoon of the sugar and two tablespoons of the flour to the bowl of your electric mixer and stir to combine. Let it rest until foamy.
  2. When the mixture is bubbly and active, add the rest of the flour, the sugar, the honey, the salt, the spices, the olive oil and the two eggs. Break the third egg into a cup, beat it with a fork and add half of it to the bowl with the rest of the ingredients. Reserve the other half for the egg wash.

  3. Using the dough attachment, knead the dough until very soft and elastic, about 20 minutes. The dough may be a little sticky, but that’s ok. Restrain yourself and don’t add any more flour.
  4. Let the dough rest in a warm place until tripled in volume (a closed oven with only the oven-light on, should do the trick). It may take 2-5 hours depending on the yeast and the rest of the conditions. Only when the dough has tripled in volume, you will oil your hands and knead it once again on your counter. If it is still too sticky, use the extra flour.

  5. You can give the bread whatever shape you want, or even bake it in a loaf tin. If you want to make a wreath, divide the dough into three equal parts and shape long strings, about 25-inches long (65 cm). Braid the strings and join the edges to create the wreath.
  6. Transfer the wreath on a baking pan lined with baking paper and let it rest in a warm place until almost doubled in volume (about 1-2 hours)
  7. Preheat your oven to 356°F (180°C).

  8. Beat the reserved half egg with 1 tablespoon milk, 1 teaspoon sugar, and the vanilla and gently brush the surface of the bread. Then, sprinkle it with some sliced almonds. Bake for 30-40 minutes. If you notice the surface getting browned too quickly, cover it with a piece of foil.

  9. Take it out of the oven and let it rest on a rack to cool. Eat!

Recipe Notes

Tsoureki should be stringy and moist inside (but not underbaked). Having said that, take care not to overbake it because it can dry out easilly.