|Place of origin||Greece|
Tsoureki (Greek: τσουρέκι), is a sweet holiday bread made with flour, milk, butter and sugar and commonly seasoned with orange zest, mastic resin or mahlab. One variation commonly called "Easter bread" is made by Greek communities during Easter, not only in Greece, but also in other countries with Greek communities. It is also sometimes called Armenian Easter bread.
There are different variations of the Greek tsoureki holiday breads including a round Christmas loaf with a cross decoration called Christopsomo, a braided easter bread with whole dyed eggs pressed into the dough called lampropsomo, and a loaf with a coin hidden inside for good luck called vasilopita that is baked for St. Basil's Day (New Year's Day).
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 is made from a sweet yeast dough of flour, sugar, butter and milk, with dyed red Easter eggs pressed into the dough. The dough is brushed with egg wash before baking, and sometimes flavored with mahlep, mastic resin or orange zest. Other flavorings might include almond extract, cinnamon, sultanas or fennel seed.
This bread is sometimes called "Armenian Easter bread". Traditional Armenian cheoreg omits the dyed Easter eggs and may be made in smaller sizes, dividing the dough into 10 or 12 portions rather than baking as one whole braided loaf.
The Turkish language name for this bread is paskalya çöreği (paskalya is the Turkish word for Easter). Turkish recipes include egg in the dough, rather than pressed into the dough as decoration. Some recipes substitute a neutral-flavored oil, such as sunflower oil, and margarine in place of milk and butter. The dough may be seasoned with orange zest, vanilla, mahlep and slivered almonds.
Christopsomo (Χριστόψωμο), which translates as "Christ's bread", is a traditional Greek holiday bread that is sometimes decorated with whole walnuts, sesame seeds and slivered almonds. Also called Christmas fruit bread, the tsoureki dough may include a combination of raisins, dried apricots, dried figs, orange zest, cinnamon, allspice, cloves, cardamom, mastic resin and mahleb. (Some recipes suggest marinating the raisins and dried figs overnight in wines like retsina or mavrodaphne). Some of the dough is set aside for the loaf's cross-shaped decoration.
New Year's bread
The traditional New Year's cake, Vasilopita (Βασιλόπιτα) is sometimes a tsoureki.
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