If you haven’t tried tsoureki (Greek Easter bread) before, then you are certainly missing out! Soft, fluffy, with a beautiful brown semi-soft crust and an amazing stringy texture. Tsoureki is a Greek holiday bread that is made by Greeks during Easter, not only in Greece but also in other countries with Greek communities. It’s a very soft and airy sweet bread, filled with sweet flavors and aromas. And even though it’s described as bread (because it’s made with yeast and kneading), it’s much softer in texture. Bread is kinda firm and condensed, while Tsoureki is very airy and fluffy.  Despite the fact that this recipe is vegan thus lacking eggs, milk, and butter, still, the bread is tender, flavorful, and moist and is a lovely recipe to try if you’re vegan or allergic or you’re cutting down on dairy!

Variety’s the very spice of life, That gives it all its flavor.

William Cowper

While this Greek Easter bread (tsoureki) is traditionally served in Easter and the three braids symbolize the Holy Trinity, it is also very popular throughout the year as a delicious mid-day snack, breakfast, or tea or coffee companion. We certainly love it in the morning! This delicious bread traditionally comes in the shape of a braid, which makes it look as good as it tastes, but we are taking the fuss out of braiding it and we’re baking in a cake tin – rebellious, we know!

What gives Tsoureki its unique flavour?

Greek Easter bread owes its full and rich flavor to the two aromatic spices used in this traditional tsoureki recipe. Freshly ground mastic (masticha), which is an aromatic spice from Chios island, and aromatic mahlab or mahleb (mahlepi), a spice made from ground seeds of cherry, are essential to prepare this tsoureki recipe. They give the traditional Greek Easter bread its sharp and distinctive taste so try your best to source some. Once put in the oven, the intense aromas of the sweet spices permeate our house and bring back all those wonderful childhood memories of our grandmother baking away in her kitchen.

To make the Vegan Tsoureki you will need

690 grams flour (we used one specifically for making buns)

13 grams dry yeast,

100 grams water

100 grams orange or mandarin juice,

200 grams brown sugar

70 grams vegetable oil

250 grams boiled pumpkin, drained,

half tsp of ground cardamon 

half tsp of mahleb

for the coating: sugar water (2 tbsp sugar-1 tbsp water), grated almonds.

optional: Chestnut Paste for the filling!

How to make the Vegan Tsoureki

Heat the oil, the orange juice, the sugar (not more than 50 degrees Celsius) in a saucepan, remove from the heat, add the pumpkin and mix well. Put the sifted flour, the yeast, the spices in the bowl of the mixer and add the liquid ingredients mixing with the kneading hook until it forms a soft dough. Let it rest and rise. Knead one more time and let it rise again. Shape it into your preferred shape. We divided our dough into portions and we filled each portion with Chestnut paste. Place portions into a baking tray (we used a cake tin!). Brush the bun with sugar water and sprinkle it with nuts.

Bake for 25-30΄ at 180 degrees Celsius.

Did you make this recipe?

We’d love to know how it turned out! Let us know by leaving a comment below, or share a photo on Instagram: tag @thelifelaboratories and hashtag it #thelifelabbakes

Good Luck!