Tsoureki

The Hellenic Society's Greek Tsoureki

Tsoureki is a traditional Greek Brioche recipe that is often made on Holy Thursday prior to Greek Orthodox Easter and eaten on Easter day, with the three plaits in the bread symbolising the holy trinity. But it is also really popular as a snack or breakfast item throughout the year! If you haven’t tried tsoureki before, then you are in for a treat!

Greek Easter bread owes its distinct flavour to the two aromatic spices used in this traditional tsoureki recipe, mastic and mahlab, which give it a really characteristic flavour and smell. You can purchase mastic and mahlab at Greek grocers, online or at specialty fruit shops and delis.

This specific recipe for tsoureki has been passed down numerous generations to Xrisoulas' grandmother (yiayia) and mother - and will give everyone who tries it a real taste of her culture. This recipe below gives you two tsoureki bread, feel free to increase quantities if you are making for a larger crowd. Traditionally - greek grandmothers make up to ten of these to give as gifts to family and friends at Easter!

What you will need:

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 packet yeast
  • 60g unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 250mL full cream milk
  • 1/4 packet mahlepi
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon mastiha
  • 1/4 packet continental flour
  • 5 cups plain flour

Method:

  1. Heat milk over the stove (or in the microwave) until lukewarm, add yeast and leave to develop for at least 1 hour in a warm area. (Do not overheat or it will kill the yeast)
  2. Beat/whisk butter and sugar until creamy. Add yolks and oil and mix.
  3. Beat/whisk egg whites separately to form stiff peaks.
  4. Pound mastiha/mastic in mortar and pestle with a pinch of flour.
  5. Add all ingredients together using an electric beater or whisk.
  6. When you can no longer use the electric beater, knead the mixture by hand until soft and no longer sticky.
  7. Cover the mixture with cling wrap and place in a warm spot to rise for at least 2 hours.
    Pro tip: Use an electric blanket to keep the dough warm.
  8. Divide the mixture into two portions and then divide each of these portions into three. Plait/braid the dough, placing into pans when finished.
  9. Leave to rest in a warm spot until about doubled in size.
  10. Brush with beat eggs, sesame seeds and any other decorations (eg. a hardboiled red egg)
  11. Bake for 20-25 minutes at 180C until golden-brown.
  12. Leave to cool on a cooling rack once completed.

Established in 1980 as Tri Gamma, Hellenic Society is now one of the younger University Clubs. We pride ourselves on bringing fresh, exciting and innovative elements into what is already a jumping Greek social scene. Be a part of something bigger then just an ordinary society - Hellenic collaborates with other Greek societies to bring you events that are truly memorable.

Follow us on Facebook and Instagram @utshellenic and tag us in your Tsoureki or other Greek dish creations so we can enjoy our cultural food together. Let us know what your favourite Greek dish is! We know we have lots!