Politiko Tsoureki (Easter bread recipe from Istanbul)

I am always honest with my recipes. So, I have to admit that today’s is a difficult one. It’s a recipe that you have to pay attention in all of its details and strictly follow the steps and the quantities. The quantity of the ingredients mentioned is enough for two tsoureki.

I use special flour for tsoureki because it contains more gluten than hard flour, so it gives to it the right texture, the texture that makes it stand out from all other kinds of bread or brioche. Upon your taste, you may also use hard flour, but I would advise you to opt for flour for tsoureki that you may find available by a variety of brands at super markets.

Although I avoid consuming white sugar, for this recipe you cannot substitute with any other kind of sugar or sweetener.

Among the ingredients, I mention 200 g of eggs. This stands for 4 medium-sized eggs, weighting around 50 g each. Though, you have to break and weight them before adding them to the mixture because, as I previously mentioned, this recipe requires absolute precision.

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1st mixture
  • 150 g flour for tsoureki
  • 120 ml water at room temperature
  • 25 g dry yeast
2nd mixture
  • 300 g white sugar
  • 200 ml milk
  • 200 g eggs (4 eggs)
  • 100 g butter
  • Zest of two oranges
  • 15 g mahleb
  • 5 g mastic
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 pinch of salt
3rd mixture
  • 850 g flour for tsoureki
  • 100 g melted battery
For the coating
  • 1 egg yolk diluted with 2 tablespoons of water


1st mixture
  • Add all of the ingredients to the mixer’s bowl and whisk them.
  • Keep aside for 15 minutes so that the yeast has activated.
2nd mixture
  • Add the mastic and a tablespoon of sugar to a mortar and grind properly with a pestle until it has dissolved.
  • Cut the butter into small pieces.
  • Add in a small pot the rest of the sugar, the milk, the butter, the mastic, the zest, the mahleb and the salt.
  • Bring it to a heat until the butter has melted, taking care not to bring to a boil the milk.
  • The mixture is ready when the butter has completely melted and all the ingredients are evenly distributed.
  • Remove from the heat and allow 10 minutes to cool down.
  • Then, add the eggs and stir properly the mixture with a whisk.
  • Add directly the mixture from the small pot to the bowl with the first mixture and beat over low speed, with the dough hook, for 5 minutes.
3rd mixture
  • Melt the butter over low heat and allow it to reach room temperature.
  • Add the flour to the bowl with the rest of the ingredients and beat for 15 minutes.
  • Until the flour has absorbed, beat over medium speed and then turn it up over high.
  • Add the melted butter to the bowl and beat over low speed for 5 minutes, until all butter has absorbed.
  • At this point, the dough has to have unsticked from the walls of the bowl and so to be ready.
  • Remove the dough from the mixer’s bowl and add it to a bowl filmed with seed oil. The bowl has to be large enough because the dough will puff up and fill the bowl up.
  • Cover properly with cling film and a kitchen towel and keep it aside for 2-2½ hours, until it has doubled in size.
  • Then, slice the dough into two parts.
  • Cut each part into four smaller parts and mould strips of about 50 cm length.
  • Braid the strips to shape 2 tsoureki.
  • Preheat convection oven to 150°
  • Cover the tsoureki with a clean kitchen towel made of cotton and allow 30 minutes to puff up.
  • Spread the diluted egg yolk on top of them and bake them for 50-60 minutes.
  • Allow them to cool down and then serve.
  • To keep them fresh, store in properly shut bag.

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