Foodbook #448 Greek sweet bread – Tsoureki


Good morning my friends, today I got for you a class Christmas recipe that everyone loves and can’t stop eating, please be careful because it’s not to easy and there are many steps to get the best results , let’s start and good luck


1 kg flour for buns, with proteins ± 14%
60 gr. fresh yeast (or 2 sachets dry)
500ml lukewarm milk (40 degrees Celsius)
300 g sugar
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
2 teaspoons chopped mastic
4 eggs, room temperature
125 g butter, melted hot
egg diluted with a little water for spread
grated almonds, poppy seeds, sesame

The classic aromatics:

8 g grated mahlep (or 2 tablespoons chopped if you want intense mahlep)
1 teaspoon grated mastic
10 seeds of green cardamom, only the inside is beaten


I give you the ingredients for the regular recipe, not my own variations that I made in the testing stages (1. with 15% cream and milk comes out tighter because they increase fat, 2. with orange juice half and half with milk comes out more grated -do not be afraid that it cuts when you heat it, put the gels together).

Execution of this recipe is in the mixer. Most mixers on the market can knead 750 g of flour, so I suggest you divide the dough into the dough so as not to strain the motor.

With fresh yeast you will make yeast. With dry yeast you will skip this stage.

The yeast

In a bowl, put the 100ml warm milk, the yeast and 80g of the flour to make a thick porridge. Cover with cling film and leave the mixture in a warm, moist place until it doubles in volume and bubbles. It takes about 30 '. I put it in the oven - which I had lit for a while and turned off - with a bowl of water. Inside the oven, I hang a thermometer that allows me to monitor the actual temperature of the oven.

If you use dry yeast add 2 sachets directly to the flour and skip the above step.

The kneading

In a saucepan, heat the butter a little to melt, add the sugar, lemon zest or classic spices, the rest of the milk and mix. Add the eggs and stir to combine with the mixture.

Put them in the bowl of the mixer, add the yeast mixture and mix with the hook. Pour the flour in large portions, kneading constantly at a slow speed. Add the beaten mastic.

When you have added all the flour, stop kneading, remove half the amount in a bowl and continue kneading the rest of the dough in the mixer.

At first it sticks a lot but gradually - when you bite it with your fingers - it does not stick. This dough does not come off the walls of the bowl. Take it out with a hard spatula and put it in a large bowl. Knead the other half of the dough. When finished, put all the dough in the bowl.

The first inflation

Cover first with cling film and then wrap the basin in a blanket. Let it swell until it doubles in volume. It takes about 3 hours.

One test to see if the dough has risen as it takes is to dip your finger into the dough. If the hole remains and the dough does not rise again, it means that it has swelled as it takes.

The creation

Divide the dough into 4 equal parts for each bun (it will be about 500g). Decide what buns to knit and divide each piece of dough into an appropriate amount for the strings. For a 6-strand, each cord is approximately 86 g. For a 5-strand 100g, for a 4-strand, divide 2 strings of 250g that will be inserted crosswise, for a 3-strand, approximately 160g.

Forming is the most important step in making well-formed buns. You can also make the laces 3 times before you start knitting them. This strengthens the gluten network and the fibers in the dough.

Form the pieces of dough into strings. The dough is soft, very elastic and sticks a little to the counter. First make all the laces, putting oil on the hands and the counter if it sticks. Finally, sprinkle some flour on them, just enough to sit on the surface and be able to knit easily.

Knit them in braids with 4 or 6 strings for me they are tighter.

Place each bun on its own non-stick paper. It is easier to move them this way and even if they can be baked together, the paper separates them in case they swell dangerously much. You can bake one separately, if it has swelled too much or fix it, if you have crooked it and it has swelled incorrectly. This is being fixed

The second inflation
Leave the buns on the counter and wait for them to rise. At room temperature 16-17 degrees it took me 2 hours.

In my tests I had put some buns in a 40 degree oven together with a bowl of water in the oven to give moisture but it does not help because it softens the casing and makes the buns spread.

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees. Get an oven thermometer to make sure the actual temperature inside the oven is 200 degrees. This bun only needs 15 minutes to bake!

The decoration

Spread only the bun that you will bake first, with an egg diluted with a little water. Apply very carefully, do not pierce the crust. Smear a second time with egg and decorate with white almonds, or sesame or poppy seeds, dipping your finger first in the egg, then in the seed and then on the bun, while the egg is fresh.


With the wet dough I thought I definitely want a strong fire to evaporate the excess moisture.

I baked in resistors, at 200 degrees Celsius for 15 minutes in total, each large. Bake one by one in the second place of the oven from below, on an inverted copper pan. Transfer each bun with a wooden oven shovel.

If you have dark sheet metal, place a piece of aluminum foil on it and put the bun with its paper on it to bake. We do this so as not to override the base of the bun.

The guard

We wrap them in foil and they are ready for gifts or to decorate our house and protect them from dust until we eat them. Or put them in the freezer well wrapped. They thaw in their packaging overnight and in the morning as if waiting tenderly tender!

If you want to make buns, once a month -if you have small children-, make small buns, snails, bake them, wrap them in foil after they cool down and store them in the freezer. Thaw them at night and give them to school in the morning. For super breakfasts, heat them a little in the oven and they will be like freshly baked!

That’s all folks , I hope you create and enjoy this delicious Christmas sweet bread , I also got a video for you from akis petretzikis YouTube channel that may be very helpful

Stay safe and healthy my friends and take care of your people

My best wishes from Greece

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