5 Minute Easter Bread – Tsoureki

Easter Bread 11

This beautiful loaf is the traditional bread of Easter in Greece and many other Christian countries. It is an enriched dough that is twisted around brightly dyed eggs. The bread is often braided with three strands to represent the holy trinity, formed into a circle as a reference to life and the eggs are dyed red as a symbol of Christ’s blood. The dough is lightly sweet, flavored with orange zest and a traditional Middle Eastern spice called Mahlepi, which is made from ground cherry pits. The spice can be found in Middle Eastern or Greek markets. If you don’t have the spice, you can make the dough with ground Anise seed or even Cardamom. 

Easter Bread:

2 pounds chilled Challah or Brioche dough (When you mix the dough add 1 teaspoon Mahlepi or ground anise seed and 1 teaspoon orange zest to the water.)

5 eggs (you can use uncooked eggs, since they will cook while the bread is baking. The eggs are for decoration and not really meant to be eaten, so its a nice place to save time.)

Egg wash (1 egg mixed with 1 tablespoon water)

Easter Egg 01

To dye the eggs place 2 cups boiling water, 2 teaspoons vinegar and food coloring in a bowl. Drop the eggs into the dye. If the solution cools off, reheat it and continue with the other eggs.

During my classes I stir our dough with a Danish Dough Whisk. One evening a student laughed and said “My wife bought me one of those and I had no idea what it was, so I use it to retrieve hard boiled eggs from the boiling water!” Well, that struck me as a brilliant idea, so when I dropped the eggs in the dye and had nothing to pluck them out with, I thought of him and grabbed my whisk. Worked like a charm.

Easter Egg 02

Make sure your eggs are well rinsed so they don’t bleed color onto the bread.

Easter Bread 01

Form the dough into a ball.

Easter Bread 02

Divide the ball into two equal pieces. (If you prefer to make a 3-piece braid, follow these instructions.)

Easter Bread 03

Stretch the pieces into ropes. If the dough is not stretching easily, just let it sit on the counter for about 5 minutes. If your kitchen is draft, lightly cover with plastic.

Easter Bread 04

Continue stretching until each piece is about 1-inch wide and about 24-inches long.

Easter Bread 05

Join the ends together and twist the dough together tightly.

Easter Bread 06

Continue and join the other end together.

Easter Bread 07

Form a ring and gently transfer to a cookie sheet lined with parchment or a Silpat Baking Mat. Stretch the twisted dough apart to place the dyed egg in between.
Easter Bread 08

Evenly space the eggs around the twisted dough. Cover the loaf loosely with plastic and allow to rise for 90 minutes.

Easter Bread 09

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Brush the dough, avoiding the eggs, with egg wash.

Easter Bread 10

Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the loaf is golden brown.

Easter Bread 12

Allow the loaf to cool on a wire rack.

Happy Easter!

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28 thoughts on “5 Minute Easter Bread – Tsoureki

  1. I like to cook my eggs in advance with beet juice, purple cabbage (aqua!), carrot tops, etc. to get a natural dye (search natural egg dye). The color doesn’t smudge onto the bread so much that way.

  2. Bless You! I’m Greek Orthodox, but as a convert, I’ve never made the traditional Pascha bread. This looks beautiful – and I love how you told some of the symbolic meaning of the bread : )

    I’ve been making your bread for years, but since I’m a vegan, I’ve never tackled the Brioche.

    It’s especially nice that you published this early enough for those who celebrate Western Easter to enjoy it – and with lots of time for Greek Orthodox Christians to plan to make it for our Pascha -which on May 5, is VERY late this year!

      • Yes, I’m also delighted with this bread published at this time, I had stopped by to make Hot Cross Buns but now I have something to make for my Romanian office mate and Greek colleagues who will celebrate in May. Merci beaucoup!

  3. I am so glad you posted this! I have absolutely fallen in love with the bread in 5 minutes a day method. I am hosting Easter this year, and my Greek family has to have Easter bread, but I was really not looking forward to going back to kneading. I checked the brioche recipe against my grandma’s though, and it is quite different (hers calls for milk instead of water and a lot of sugar instead of honey, plus ouzo) – do you have any tips for adapting a family bread recipe to the ABin5 method? If not, I’m just going to make this one, but I thought I’d ask! :) Thanks!

    • It was gel color and used about 20 drops, but didn’t actually count the actual drops. I also started with brown eggs, so the color will be totally different.

      • In the Greek community, a special red dye powder is often sold exclusively for this purpose. If you go to a Greek Specialty Grocery, you might have luck finding the “real thing” (not to mention online). (

  4. I’m learning how to bake bread AND use a solar oven at the same time. I have played with the oven enough to know that it heats up to 350 degrees. Is that hot enough to bake a yeast bread?

    • certainly enough for challah, brioche, and tsoureki. Egg and sweetener-enriched loaves shouldn’t be done higher than 350. You can do any bread at this temp, but even “lean” doughs won’t get a hard, crackly crust at such a low temp.

  5. Wow!Greetings from Greece!I’ve been baking your breads for three years(although it was hard to find your book-I had to order it).
    I LOVE tsoureki!!!
    We also use some ground mastic in the dough.It is wonderfully combined with mahlepi!

  6. I just made this for our family to enjoy over the Easter weekend. I made my dough ropes shorter and thicker (not on purpose!) so it turned out quite fat and with a small hole in the middle when it rose and baked. Not exactly like the photo, but it still looked pretty good. Even if it doesn’t look as good as the ‘professionals’, it still looks like a lovely dough with some beautiful coloured eggs inside. It got everyone excited for the holiday and it will make a yummy breakfast tomorrow morning. I saved just enough ww brioche dough for two bunny rolls for my kids! Hopefully these will be less lumpy-dumpy than some of the others. The result is always tasty though!

  7. I love your Artisan Bread in five minutes a day book. Every bread I’ve tried so far has come out heavenly. Thank you for sharing your recipes.

  8. Easter Sunday morning I used the brioche dough to which I had added grated orange peel and just a hint of orange flavoring. I made a braided wreath with colored eggs and lightly frosted it with a confectioners sugar/orange juice icing. It was spectacular! It looked like the Italian Easter bread my Mom made when I was a kid! You have given me the confidence to attempt to recreate this dish and our family loved it! Thanks!

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