Recipe: The Most “Shareable” Easter Tsoureki of 2021

Are you, and your kitchen scale, up for a challenge? Try this sourdough tsoureki enriched with matcha tea and raspberries.


Nikos Chandolias was born and bred… on bread, in the northern Greek town of Katerini. His childhood memories revolve around his dad’s bakery – and around the tsoureki that he would make, which, to this day, Nikos considers to be the best there ever was. Although he does admit to being biased.

Last spring, he created a new Instagram account, @frommydadsbakery, to honor his dad’s legacy. He calls it his “baking journal,” posting recipes that combine tradition with new techniques as he experiments with contemporary, all-natural ingredients and flavors in the kitchen of his London apartment.

Almost everything he bakes is made with sourdough (naturally-leavened dough, which rises as a result of the gas produced when the grain ferments), and contains something unexpected for color and flavor, like cabbage, tomato juice, or purple carrots.

The first photo on his feed, however, is one of his dad at the bakery, holding a tray full of freshly baked tsoureki.

Traditional tsoureki, like the ones Nikos’ dad would make, are sweet, brown, stringy, and flavored with mahleb and mastic (you can find a traditional recipe here). Today, Nikos is sharing a recipe for one that looks quite different, but which still captures the essence of the sweet bread.

“Greek Easter is associated with many traditions, but the undeniable winner of the customs is the tsoureki-making on Holy Thursday. Tsoureki for me is all about the senses of smell and taste – we all experience them differently as they can vividly trigger so many different personal memories,” he explains.

So what inspired him to make a pink and green tsoureki?

“Easter for me signifies the beginning of a new and sunnier season,” he says. “Usually, the weather turns warmer, trees begin to show up their first green leaves, and plants start to bloom. The streets are filled with almond and cherry trees’ pink blossoms and the parks begin to turn greener and greener as days pass. So, this tsoureki’s flavor and color combination is an homage to nature’s awakening at spring.”

It’s not the easiest tsoureki recipe you’ll find (you’ll need patience and a precise kitchen scale), but the result might be the prettiest.

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by A baker’s son (@frommydadsbakery)

Methodology for the levain (prepare the night before):

  1. Mix all the ingredients well the night before and leave it at room temperature (20-22C degrees) for 12-15 hours, to at least double in size.

Methodology for the roux (prepare an hour before start kneading the dough): Roux is basically the same as yudane, which is Japanese or just like the Chinese tangzhong. This method originates in Asia and what it achieves is to pre-gelatinize the starches in the flour, allowing them to absorb more water, leading to a more tender and chewy result.

  1. Add the flour and milk to a small saucepan and set over medium-high heat, whisking constantly until it cooks and becomes a thick bechamel-like sauce. Set aside and let it cool.

Methodology for the final dough: For this recipe, you will need to prepare two doughs, one enriched with matcha tea powder and one with fresh raspberry juice. In order to prepare the doughs, you will need to follow the following steps twice.

  1. First, prepare your roux and let it rest at room temperature. Then, melt the butter and whisk in the sugar, and set aside to cool down as well.
  2. In a large bowl whisk together the levain, the flour roux, eggs, mahleb, cardamom, vanilla, orange juice (or raspberry juice), orange blossom water & the butter, and sugar mixture. Whisk until well combined. In the matcha dough, add the matcha tea powder at this step.
  3. Place the mixture together with the flour in your mixer bowl and knead it at low speed for about 10 minutes until it forms a nice dough ball.
  4. Add the salt and the orange zest. Continue kneading until the dough comes completely together and it does not stick to the bowl at all. It took me a total of 40 minutes for the dough to come completely together and not stick in my hands or in the bowl.
  5. Lightly oil a container and your hands (I used sunflower oil) and form a boule. Transfer the dough to the container.
  6. Let the dough rise at least until it doubles in size. Mine took about 8 hours in the oven with the light on.
  7. Transfer the dough to the fridge and leave it overnight (about 12-15 hours).
  8. The next morning deflate the dough and divide it into equal parts.
  9. Shape your tsoureki. You can check the following videos for inspiration on how to: Bi-colorSpotted Pattern, Marbled with a Swirl
  10. Let it rise again until it doubles in size – this takes about 6 hours.
  11. Preheat the oven at 190C with an empty pan in it (at least for 45 minutes).
  12. Egg wash the tsoureki and sprinkle it with whatever you enjoy!
  13. Place the tsoureki in the oven and add a cup of water to the preheated pan. This is to create humidity and help your tsoureki rise.
  14. Bake for 20-30 minutes.
Ingredients

Tsoureki Levain

  • strong white flour 140gr (100.00%)
  • water 70gr (50.00%)
  • milk 70gr (50.00%)
  • sugar 14gr (9.00%)
  • mature sourdough starter 140gr (100.00%)

 

Tsoureki Roux

  • strong white flour 25gr (100.00%)
  • milk 100gr (400.00%)

 

Tsoureki Raspberry Dough

  • strong white flour 370gr (100.00%)
  • raspberry juice 56gr (15.00%)
  • eggs 81gr (22.00%)
  • unsalted butter 56gr (15.00%)
  • sugar 148gr (40.00%)
  • salt 4gr (1.00%)
  • vanilla 4gr (1.00%)
  • orange blossom water 4gr (1.00%)
  • orange zest 10gr (2.00%)
  • mahlep 4gr (1.00%)
  • cardamom 4gr (1.00%)
  • Tsoureki Levain 210gr (56.00%)
  • Tsoureki Roux 60gr (16.00%)

 

Tsoureki Matcha Dough

  • strong white flour 361gr (100.00%)
  • orange juice 54gr (15.00%)
  • eggs 79gr (22.00%)
  • unsalted butter 54gr (15.00%)
  • sugar 144gr (40.00%)
  • salt 4gr (1.00%)
  • Matcha 25gr (7%)
  • vanilla 4gr (1.00%)
  • orange blossom water 4gr (1.00%)
  • orange zest 10gr (2.00%)
  • mahlep 4gr (1.00%)
  • cardamom 4gr (1.00%)
  • Tsoureki Levain 202gr (56.00%)
  • Tsoureki Roux 58gr (16.00%)

 

* The grams in this recipe will give you two doughs of 1kg each.


Read More

Editor's Pick

16 Islands for Greek Easter

Across Greece, Easter is the most important holiday of the...


Ionian Islands

Spring Destination: The Grandeur of Corfu

Even in these days of mass tourism, the jewel of...


Editor's Pick

Greek Salutations: A Glossary to Help You Sound Like a Local

The Greek language is full of set phrases that act...


GASTRONOMY

Strapatsada, aka Kagianas: Greek Scrambled Eggs with Tomato Recipe

This traditional Greek version of a classic breakfast dish is...


Greece Is Blog Posts

A House in Kritsa

BY Claire Lees Ingham

“It was all a bit spontaneous,” I say, when people...

read more >

Musing on the Greek Legacy in the Shadow of the Acropolis

BY Stella Thomas

How the ancient Greek virtues of wisdom, courage,...

read more >

An Easter to Remember

BY Pavlos Zafiropoulos

“Can I have the lamb’s teeth?” Haris, a close family...

read more >