Tsoureki (greek sweet mahlab bread) from Akis Petretzikis

This is one of the most successful recipe of the chef Akis Petretzikis. Tsoureki is one dessert that is baked or offer during Christmas and Easter !

servings2 servings preparation time3 h 45 min.cooking time30 min.difficultyhardpricevery cheap


  • 500 g flour for sweetbreads or brioche
  • 150 ml water at room temperature
  • 15 g dry yeast
  • 15 g mahlab
  • 1.5 g mastic
  • 150 g honey
  • 5 cardamom seeds
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • tablespoon sugar
  • grated zest of 1 orange
  • 2 medium eggs (50 g each)
  • 2 vanilla extract
  • 50 g melted butter
  • butter for brushing
  • 100 g butter, cut in to pieces, at room temperature
  • egg whites for brushing over tops of loaves
  • almond slivers, for sprinkling


  • 1 mixer
  • 1 whisk
  • 1 food processor
  • 1 baking pan
  • 1 knife
  • parchment paper
  • 1 pastry brush



In a mixer’s bowl, add the water and yeast. Whisk by hand.


Add the flour over the mixture, until it is covered. Do not stir. Simply set aside for about 30 minutes, until the yeast activates.


Beat the mahlab, sugar, mastic, cardamom and a pinch of salt in a food processor, until all of the aromatics are finely ground.


If you want your sweetbread even sweeter, add another 50 g of granulated sugar.


Pour the mixture in the mixer bowl with the flour.


When the yeast has activated, add the aromatic mixture, orange zest, egg, vanilla, melted butter and honey.


Attention ! The eggs should weight in total 100 gr.


Begin beating on low speed and gradually increase the mixer’s speed until a nice dough has been created. This should take about 10 minutes.


When ready, lower speed and add the pieces of butter, which should be at room temperature.


Beat again until the dough has completely pulled back from the sides of the bowl.


Brush a bowl with melted butter and place the dough in it. Cover with plastic wrap .


Set it aside to rest and rise for at least 2 hours, at room temperature, until it doubles in size.


Preheat oven to 180° C Fan.


When the dough is ready, punch down on a clean working surface. Roll the dough in to a baguette shape, fold in half and roll again.


If the dough is more elastic than usual, add 2-3 tablespoons of flour until it thickens.


Repeat this process 5-8 times. It is a necessary step because it creates even more elastic threads in the dough which is what gives the sweetbread such a nice, chewy texture. Cut in to 4 equal sized pieces.


Shape each piece in to a long strip and place them one next to the other on your working surface, leaving a little space between them. To shape it in to a beautiful braid, begin by connecting the tips of all 4 strips.


Giving each strip a number… 1-2-3-4.


In the beginning, fold strip 4 over strip 2…


Then, strip 1 over strip 3 and finally strip 2 over strip 3.


Repeat this over and over until you have created a beautiful braid!


Cut the braid in half to make 2 loaves. Transfer to a baking pan lined with parchment paper.


Brush with some egg whites, sprinkle with almond slivers and set it aside for 20 minutes, so it can rest and rise again. When ready, bake for 20-30 minutes, until golden.


You can also leave it whole; just bake it 15 minutes longer.

Bon appétit !

Tsouréki, brioche grecque tranchée
Easter eggs and tsoureki braid, greek easter sweet bread sliced on wood, banner, closeup view

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