Greek Easter is coming April 28th and that means I need to get my tsoureki ready to go! I know we technically have 2 months to prepare but hey I like to give you guys enough time to make this delicious bread! We dived into the tsoureki so fast that there wasn’t a chance to really take any photos of the entire loaf.
Tsoureki Filled with Cardamom and Nutella
Servings: 1 large loaf or 2 small loaves
Tsoureki has to be one of my most loved breads! It is a brioche dough made with mahlepi and mastiha two popular spices used in Greek cooking. During Greek Easter you will find this bread everywhere. I put my own twist to the traditional recipe with a stuffed tsoureki that includes layers of Nutella, and many unique spices.
Now I use Nutella because it is readily available here in the USA. But by all means please use Merenda when in Europe.
(Merenda Hazelnut Spread is the Greek version of the widely known Nutella.)
¼ cup of warm water
¼ cup of full-fat milk
1 ½ tablespoon of active yeast
2 teaspoons of sugar
3 eggs room temperature
2 ⅔ cup of all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons of salt
¼ cup of sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla flavoring
1 teaspoon of mahlepi grounded (click on the image to shop spice.)
1 teaspoon of mastiha finely grounded (click on the image to shop spice.)
12 tablespoons of unsalted butter cut into cubes, at room temperature
5 tablespoons of unsalted butter cut into cubes at room temperature
⅓ cup of brown sugar
2 tablespoons of ground cardamom
2 tablespoons of ground cinnamon
5 tablespoons of Nutella chocolate
2 teaspoons of grated orange zest
1 teaspoon of vanilla flavoring
Egg wash: 1 egg with ¼ cup of cold water
⅓ cup of sugar
In a stand mixer bowl add the yeast, warm water, warm milk, and sugar. Mix slightly and rest for 10 minutes until light and foamy.
Mix the salt and flour together on parchment paper and then add in two batches to the yeast mixture while mixer is on low. While mixer is running add eggs one at a time. The dough should start to form but will be wet. Add the sugar, mahlepi, and mastiha to mixer on low-speed.
Add the butter, 1 tablespoon at a time while mixer is on low and once you add the rest of the butter then turn mixer on medium speed. Mix for about 6 minutes until a fluffy dough starts to form.
Prepare a lightly greased bowl, and place dough inside. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 2 hours. Place bowl in a warm place so it can double in bulk.
Once the dough has doubled deflate the dough with hands and then let rest an additional 40 minutes covered in a bowl. While dough is resting prepare the filling.
In a mixer beat the butter until smooth. Add the brown sugar, cardamom, cinnamon, vanilla, orange zest, and Nutella. Mix for about 3 minutes until all ingredients are combined and creamy.
Set aside until ready to fill the dough.
Flour a large work surface and place dough onto surface. Roll out the dough into a large rectangle, approximately 20 x 12 inches. Spread the cardamom Nutella mixture evenly over the dough making sure to leave about 1 inch free of the spread around the edges.
Roll the dough into a log. Beginning at one of the longest edges of the rectangle tightly roll the dough into a log. Once you have a log pinch the ends of the log making sure filling is sealed. Then make three equal cuts into the dough making sure they are the same size. (This is a messy part but fun.)
Prepare the braids. You will gently stretch each of the three ropes just a bit. Then place each 3 ropes next to each other side by side and prepare to braid. Take the left strand and go over the middle strand then repeat with right strand then going to the middle and you will eventually have a braided dough.
Transfer dough to a baking sheet lined with parchment. Let dough rest for 20 minutes covered.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare the egg wash and set aside.
Once the dough is ready brush with egg wash and sprinkle with sugar. Place baking sheet in center rack and bake for 45-50 minutes or until bread is golden brown and tested with a toothpick.
In between baking time you can lightly brush bread with egg wash. This gives it a nice color. Remove from oven and let cool. You can serve warm or cool.