Tsourike: Greek Easter Bread is a sweet yeast bread that is a bit brioche-like. You'll love this perfectly dense braided loaf that's adorned with red-dyed eggs.
- 2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast (1 envelope)
- 5 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, more for dusting
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 1/3 cup milk
- 5 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 tsp fine salt
- 2 large eggs, beaten, PLUS 1 egg beaten with 1 tsp water (egg wash)
- 2 tbsp anise seed
- 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 hard-boiled eggs, dyed red and fully dried
- Olive oil
- 2 to 4 tbsp toasted sesame seeds (optional)
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine 1/3 cup hot water (about 110 degrees F) with the yeast, 1 tbsp of the flour, and 1 tbsp of the sugar. Whisk gently. Cover with a towel and leave aside for 10 minutes until bubbly.
- In the meantime, heat the milk in a small sauce pan until the edges begin to bubble, about 4 to 6 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the butter, remaining sugar and salt. Set aside for 5 minutes to cool.
- Using the paddle attachment of your stand mixer, stir the milk mixture into the yeast mixture. While paddle is stirring, add the 2 beaten eggs. Gradually mix in the flour, anise seed, and vanilla extract. Beat unit a soft dough forms. Increase speed to medium (or medium-high if needed) until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl.
- Transfer dough onto a lightly floured surface (dough will be sticky at this point.) Kneed by hand until very smooth (about 5 minutes), then place dough into a lightly-oiled bowl. Cover and place in a warm, closed space for 1 1/2 hours, until doubled in size. (I had heated my oven to lowest temperature, then turned it off a few minutes before placing my covered dough in.)
- Punch dough down, and transfer to floured surface again. Cut dough into 3 equal parts, and gently roll each to form a long 16-inch rope. Transfer to a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Press ropes together at one end and braid fairly loosely. Form into a circle and press together on the other side. Stretch the circle to about 10 inches across and the hole in the middle about 3 1/2 inches wide.
- Cover with a clean towel and place back in warm space for 1 hour until doubled in size.
- Rub the dyed eggs with olive oil, and buff with paper towel. Select three spots in the dough, evenly spaced, and gently insert the eggs. Cover and return to warm space. Let rise 1 more hour until dough doubles in size.
- Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Brush the bread with the egg wash and sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds. Bake about 45 minutes until braided loaf turns a nice deep golden brown (should sound hallow when you tap on it.)
- Let cool for about 30 minutes before serving. Serve with more boiled eggs, honey or other breakfast items. Enjoy!
- Cook's Tip 1: Make the boiled eggs and dye them first. Set aside to fully dry before use in this bread recipe.
- Are the eggs within the bread edible? We simply sliced around the eggs and did not eat them, they had been boiled then baked with the bread.
- Additional Notes: Traditional recipes rely on mastic and mahlab for flavoring. This modern recipe is tailored for the North American kitchen, relying on anise seed for flavor and topped with toasted sesame for added texture. You can use toasted slivered almonds in place of sesame seeds, if you prefer
- Recommended for this Recipe: Our Private Reserve Greek extra virgin olive oil (from organically grown and processed Koroneiki olives!)
- Visit The Mediterranean Dish store for quality Greek extra virgin olive oils and spices.
- Prep Time: 4 hours (3 1/2 hours inactive time)
- Cook Time: 45 mins
- Category: Bread
- Method: Baked
- Cuisine: Greek
Keywords: Tsourike, Greek Easter Bread, Easter Bread Recipe, Greek recipe, Bread, Holiday Bread