Greek Easter bread owes its full and rich flavour to the two aromatic spices used in this traditional tsoureki recipe, mastic and mahlab, which give a really characteristic flavour and smell. Once put in the oven, the intense aromas of the sweet spices permeates the house and brings back childhood memories. Freshly ground mastic (masticha), which is an aromatic spice from Chios island, and aromatic mahleb (mahlepi), a spice made from ground seeds of cherry, are essential to prepare this tsoureki recipe, giving the traditional Greek Easter bread its sharp and distinctive taste. (You can purchase mastic and mahlepi at Greek grocers or online).
Greek Easter bread (tsoureki) is traditionally served in Easter and the three braids symbolise for the Holy Trinity, but it is also very popular throughout the year as a delicious mid-day snack, breakfast or tea or coffee companion.
1 kl flour
80 gr yeast
200 gr Horio Cow Butter
250 gr sugar
1 glass of milk
1 tsp. Crushed mastic
1 tsp. grated mahlabpinch of saltpinch of vanilla
1 egg (to brush on the top part of the loaves)
½ cup sliced almonds
1. Prepare the yeast: in a bowl, add yeast, half a class of warm water and 150gr of sifted flour; mix and leave in a warm place
2. In a mixer, beat 100 gr of Horio Cow Butter, 220 gr of sugar, the eggs, the milk, the mastic and the mahlab, as well as, the salt and vanilla, until it forms a dough
3. Slowly add the remainder of the sifted flour
4. Slow the mixer and begin to add the remaining butter; the dough is ready when it no longer sticks to the side of the bowl
5. Place the dough into a metallic bowl, cover with 2-3 towels and place in oven at 40 degrees for 1 hour and let it rise
6. Take the dough out, knead it again for 2-3 minutes and place in the oven again for another ½ hour
7. Remove the dough and cut into 9 portions
8. Brush olive oil on a flat surface and turn each ball into a long, thin roll
9. Braid three rolls together (achieving a braid shape) and place one red egg on the end.
10. Place the braided loaf on a pan that has been brushed with olive oil and which has parchment paper on it
11. Beat one egg in some water and brush the top of the tsoureki. If you’d like, you can also sprinkle almond slices on the top
12. Bake for 1 hour at 170 degrees until they have risen and have a nice, golden color