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Greek Tsoureki

Greek Tsoreki
A traditional braided bread enjoyed by Greeks during Easter, tsoureki is made using an incredibly tender, enriched bread akin to challah, with brightly dyed Easter eggs nestled into the braided ring. The three strands of dough are said to represent the Holy Trinity, while the crimson eggs are said to symbolize the blood of Christ as well as eternity and fertility. It’s customary to flavor the bread with orange, anise, and mahleb, a spice made from the seeds of a species of cherry with a taste akin to bitter almond and cherry. Because the availability of mahleb varies by region, we’ve used almond extract in its place. It'll be the perfect addition to Easter brunch!
Yield 1 (14-inch) loaf




  • 1 cup (240g) whole milk
  • 1/4 cup (57g) unsalted butter
  • 4 3/4 to 5 cups (594 to 625g) all-purpose flour, divided
  • 1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
  • 2 (0.25oz each) packages (14g) or 4 1/2 teaspoons Platinum Yeast
  • 1 teaspoon (3g) kosher salt (see note)
  • 1 teaspoon (1g) orange zest
  • 3/4 teaspoon (1g) ground anise seed
  • 2 large (100g) eggs, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons (6g) almond extract


  • 4 large (224g) in-shell eggs
  • Vegetable oil (for coating eggs)
  • 1 large (50g) egg, room temperature (for egg wash)
  • 1 tablespoon (15g) water (for egg wash)
  • 2 tablespoons (14g) sliced almonds

Dye Eggs

  • 3 cups (720g) warm water (105°F/41°C to 110°F/43°C)
  • 3 tablespoons (45g) distilled white vinegar
  • 50 to 55 drops red liquid food coloring


  • Make the dough: In a small saucepan, heat milk and butter over medium-low heat until butter is melted and an instant-read thermometer registers 120°F (49°C) to 130°F (54°C).
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together 3 cups (375 grams) flour, sugar, yeast, salt, orange zest, and anise seed. Add warm milk mixture, room temperature eggs, and almond extract; using the paddle attachment, beat at low speed until combined. With mixer on medium-low speed, gradually add 1¾ cups (219 grams) flour, beating until a soft dough forms.
  • Switch to the dough hook attachment. Beat at medium-low speed until dough is smooth and elastic, about 15 minutes; add up to remaining ¼ cup (31 grams) flour, 1 tablespoon (8 grams) at a time, if dough is too sticky. Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface, and shape into a round.
  • Lightly spray a large bowl with cooking spray. Place dough in bowl, turning to grease top. Cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 8 hours, preferably overnight. (Alternatively, cover and let rise in a warm, draft-free place [75°F/24°C] until doubled in size, about 1 hour. Punch down dough, and refrigerate for 30 minutes. It will be easier to braid while cold.)
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Prepare eggs: Lightly coat in-shell eggs with vegetable oil. Set aside.
  • Shape the Tsoureki: Punch dough down, and lightly knead 2 to 3 times. Divide into 3 portions (about 389 grams each). Roll each portion into a 26-inch rope. Pinch strands together on one end, and braid strands together, pinching to seal on other end. Shape into a wreath, tucking ends under wreath. Transfer to prepared pan. Gently tuck oiled in-shell eggs between strands of dough in wreath as desired. Cover with plastic wrap, and let rise in a warm, draft-free place (75°F/24°C) until puffed, 45 minutes to 1 hour.
  • Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C).
  • Topping: In a small bowl, lightly whisk together 1 tablespoon (15 grams) water and room temperature egg. Lightly brush egg wash over braid, avoiding in-shell eggs. Sprinkle sliced almonds evenly over braid.
  • Bake: Bake until golden and an instant-read thermometer inserted in center registers 190°F (88°C), about 50 minutes, covering with foil during final 15 minutes of baking to prevent excess browning. Let cool on pan for 15 minutes. Remove from pan and let cool completely on a wire rack.
  • Carefully remove in-shell eggs from loaf. Clean off any bread or vegetable oil residue with a clean towel.
  • Dye eggs: In a medium bowl, whisk together warm water, vinegar, and food coloring until combined. Carefully lower in-shell eggs into bowl; let stand until desired color is reached, about 45 minutes to 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Remove in-shell eggs from water, and transfer to a paper towel to dry for at least 30 minutes. Carefully place in-shell eggs back in loaf. Serve immediately. Store bread (with eggs removed, store these in refrigerator) in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.


Salt weight and volume vary by brand. Diamond Crystal kosher salt was used in this recipe (1 tablespoon is 9 grams). If you a have different brand or type of salt, use the weight listed in the recipe, not the volume measurement. If you do not have a scale, check your brand’s website for what the equivalent volume measurement is for the weight listed in this recipe.
Recipe by Bake From Scratch.

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