Tsoureki – Traditional Greek Easter Bread (looks like Swiss Zopf, tastes different)


It is Greek Orthodox Easter this weekend! And traditionally, people eat Tsoureki, and of course lots of other culinary delights. The amazing fact about Tsoureki is, that you can keep it for a week and it won’t dry out.


For a loaf of about 600 g:
500 g white flour type 405 or 505
100 g sugar
20 g fresh yeast
125 ml fresh milk
2 eggs
1 teaspoon of ground Mastika
1 teaspoon of aniseed
Grated zest of a lemon
50 g butter

Egg yolk and milk
Optional: almond flakes

Put the flour in a bowl and make a hole, add the yeast and milk and let rest until the yeast has dissolved. Add all the remaining ingredients and knead well, add flour if the dough remains too sticky. Let rest for 45 mins in a warm place.
Knead a few more minutes, adding flour if needed.
Cut the dough in two parts, roll each one into equally thick strips of about 50cm, then braid them. Let rest again for 20 mins. Meanwhile heat the oven to 200c.

Mix the egg yolk and milk and brush over the loaf. Add almonds if you want. Bake for about 45 minutes. Traditionally, a hard boiled egg, colored red is placed on the loaf as well prior to baking. I skipped that part as I had no more eggs left:-)

Some recipes mention also to pour a syrup over the hot loaf, you may do that, for me, it is sweet enough as it is.


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Traditional Swiss Zopf

Zopf ( traditional swiss sunday bread)

There are about as many recipes for the perfect Zopf as there are households in Switzerland, every Grandma, every Mum, every baker have their own recipe…and of course, everyone’s THE real one! 😉
Me, being a baker’s daughter, have my very own recipe too, proudly stolen in my Dad’s bakery:-)

For one Zopf of approx 1kg (or two of 500g, one can easily be baked, then frozen and used for next sunday)

850 g flour type 400, Manitoba style
400 g milk, UHT
2 eggs
150 g butter, cut in cubes
20 g salt
20 g sugar
42 g yeast( i use the fresh one in a block), broken in small pieces

1 egg, diluted with some salt for the finish



All the ingredients must be cold, do not melt the butter nor warm the milk. The yeast should not be dissolved neither.
So, instead, I mix the flour, salt, sugar, yeast, milk and eggs in my Kenwood Chef until it starts looking like a dough, then I add the butter and let the machine knead the dough for about 10 mins at low speed. Then, I cover the dough with a moist linnen and let rest and grow for 1 hr.
Now comes the most difficult part:-)


Cut the dough in two (or 4) pieces of the same weight, with the flat hand, flatten it out and then roll it until you get an approx 25cm long roll, proceed with the other pieces the same way. Now take one roll by one and roll them gently, trying to keep the middle a bit thicker than the ends, don’t do too thin ends as the Zopf will otherwise be very dry at that end. Now, weave it.
Put one roll across the other (shape of a Swiss Cross). . Put top right end to left low and low left end to top right. Then put top left end to right below and low right end to top left. Continue until no more dough is left. Press ends and put below bread.
Now sweep the Zopf gently with the egg batter and let rest for another 30 minutes. Heat the oven to 240c.


After the 30 mins, sweep the Zopf once more with the egg and put into the oven, reduce the heat immediatley to 200c, bake for 45 minutes or less if you bake smaller pieces (35 mins for a 500 g Zopf).
Now, let cool and enjoy with home made jam, honey, nutella…mmmhhh