This is my recipe for the most aromatic, fluffy and stringy Greek tsoureki you have ever baked. If you haven’t taste yet here is your chance. Let’s make the most fluffy Greek tsoureki.
Do you have any unknown word by now? Yeah, I know. Tsoureki. Well tsoureki is a sweet holiday bread made with flour, milk, butter and sugar and commonly seasoned with orange zest, mastic resin or mahlab.
This year Easter will be very different for all of us. For instance we will not go to my hometown Florina, where we spend these days every year. But let’s not talk about what we will lose, after all, since we are not talking about human losses, we are lucky.
But what I certainly couldn’t miss was my mom’s tsoureki. No tsoureki is like this. Last year I tried to make tsoureki for the very first time, but I was not happy with the final result. Perhaps I had in mind that I could eat my mom’s since during Easter I was with her. But this year I had no choice. If I wanted a fluffy and stringy tsoureki I had to do it alone. And I did it.
This post is quite large. And that’s because a successful tsoureki is based in details. Details that I want to share with you. Please read carefully the following notes and get ready for baking the most fluffy and stringy tsoureki.
Tips for making a fluffy Greek tsoureki
Flour plays a very important role in how successful and stringy a tsoureki will be. For this recipe, please use special flour for brioche, rich in gluten and protein. Gluten helps our dough become more elastic.
Since as each flour is different, I give a range of corn oil that will be needed, from 85 to 100 ml. Remember that we should end up with a soft dough that does not stick to the hands.
If not the most important, certainly one of the most important factors for a successful tsoureki, is the temperature. For instance, it does matter the temperature of the ingredients, the temperature of the pot that we will let the dough rest. To ensure the right temperature follow the following steps:
- We should activate the yeast in lukewarm water. Not hot, just lukewarm. If the temperature is high, the yeast will die.
- Before adding the corn oil to the mixture, heat it slightly in a small pot.
- Before letting the dough rest in a large pot, add the pot in the oven for ten minutes at 30 ° C so that it is not cold. We don’t want it to be too hot, we just don’t want it to be cold.
In order to have a soft and stringy dough, we need to knead the mixture very well. Prepare for kneading even by hand if needed. Towards the end, and as I felt my mixer tired, I kneaded the dough with my hands.
If you follow me in this you will need to smear your hands with a little corn oil and knead the dough. A very good sign for the dough is whether small bubbles appear in the dough.
If you decide to bake tsoureki this year you have to have patience. Not so much for kneading, but for the rising process. There are 3 crucial rising points:
- Activation of the yeast: We will activate the yeast in lukewarm water. We will understand that it is activated when our mixture has foamed. It will take 15-20 minutes.
- First rising: The first rising of the dough will take place after we knead it very well. Leave the dough either in a very warm environment or in the oven, at 30 ° C. If your oven has a setting of Fan, do not use it. It is quite possible to dry the dough. In any case, wrap the dough well so that it does not dry out and wait until it doubles in size. It will take about 45 minutes if the temperature is right, while it may need up to 1,5 hour if the temperature is lower. To test the dough press it with your finger, it should not bounce back (photo: after the first rising).
- Second rising: The second and last rising will be done after we shape the tsoureki. Leave the tsoureki in a very warm environment or in the oven (at 30 ° C, not in Fan). In any case, wrap the tsoureki well so that they do not dry. Wait until they double in volume. It will take about 30 to 45 minutes.
Before the first rising
After the first rising
Before and after the second rising
Knitting & baking
It may sound like I’m repeating myself, but really every oven is different. In the recipe below, I mention that the tsoureki needs 25-35 minutes to be baked. I would suggest to start checking the tsoureki in the first 25 minutes. We don’t want to overbake it, it will dry out.
While, the size of the tsoureki also plays an important role in the baking time. You will need less time if you choose to make 3 smaller tsourekia, rather than 2. If it helps, I have made a large one and a smaller one. The big tsoureki took 30 minutes, while the smaller one was ready in 25 minutes.
The dough before knitting
Greek tsoureki recipe
- 130 ml lukewarm water
- 30 gr dry yeast
- one pinch of sugar
- seeds from 1/2 vanilla
- 4 gr mahlab
- 4 gr cardamom
- 2 gr Chios mastic
- 210 ml milk, full fat
- zest from 2 oranges
- 330 gr sugar ,you may increase sugar to 400 gr
- 5 medium eggs, at room temperature
- 1165 gr flour for tsourekia, rich in gluten
- 85-100 ml corn oil, lukewarm
- 1 egg
- almond slivers or sesame seeds
- In a bowl add the lukewarm water, yeast and a pinch of sugar. Be careful, the water should not be hot because it will "kill" the yeast, nor cold because then the tsoureki will never rise. It should be lukewarm. Mix by hand and set aside until foamy. It will take about 15-20 minutes in a relatively warm environment.
- With a mortar and pestle beat the mahlab, cardamom and mastic until ground. Add the vanilla and orange zest.
- In a saucepan over medium heat, slightly heat the milk together with the sugar. Stir until dissolved.
- Add to the saucepan the Mixture 2.
- In a bowl slightly beat the eggs.
- Add the orange zest.
- Check if the sugar has melted in the milk mixture and if so, add the eggs to the saucepan and stir. Remove from the heat.
- In the bowl of the mixer, on medium to low speed, add all the flour and slowly add the lukewarm water with the yeast.
- Add mixture 3 and mix on medium to low speed. After it is well incorporated increase the speed.
- While the mixture is kneading in the mixer, lightly heat the corn oil in a small saucepan. After it heats up slightly, add it to the mixer. Stir until the dough is completely detached from the sides of the bowl. At this stage your mixer may start to get tired, at least mine did. If so continue kneading by hands until you end up with a smooth and elastic dough. Coat your hands with some corn oil if the dough is sticky.
- After 15 minutes, and after our mixture has become smooth and soft, transfer it to a large bowl or saucepan. Coat the dough with little drops of corn oil, cover the surface of the dough with parchment paper and then with a clean towel.
- Put the dough in a preheated oven (not Fan option, because there is a risk of the dough drying out) at 30°C.
- Wait until the volume of the dough has almost doubled, it will take from 45 minutes to 1.5 hours.
Knitting the tsourekia
- When the dough is ready, gently remove it from the bowl and divide the dough into 8 equal pieces.
- By using our hands we form four equal long strips. After we have made the strips, we knit the bun with the method of the photos above. Alternatively, we can make 9 strips and make 3 smaller tsourekia into simple braids.
- After we shape the tsourekia, transfer them to pans lined with parchment paper. Let them rest in the oven at 30°C for about 30-45 minutes, or until they double in size.
- Brush them gently with egg wash (egg yolk diluted with water) and sprinkle with almond slivers.
- Bake the tsourekia for 25-35 minutes in a preheated oven to 160°C or until they get a golden colour on top.
I hope you to trust me this Easter and try to make my recipe for a fluffy Greek tsoureki. If you read carefully and execute the recipe correctly then you will have the most fragrant, fluffy and stringy tsourekia. And don’t forget the most important thing, the temperature. Temperature is everything.
If you like this recipe you may also like my babka recipe. The recipe calls for chestnut filling, but we are in April. You can replace the chestnut with nuts or even put a completely different filling, such as e.g. jam. You will find a recipe here.
I would be thrilled to hear from you. Tell me about your favorite Easter baking recipe or if you bake my Greek tsoureki don’t forget to share your photo under the hashtag #tetisflakes. Please do not hesitate to comment below or contact with me on Instagram, or Facebook or Twitter!