Greek sweet bread-tsoureki with chocolate filling



For the sweet bread

In a small pot, heat OLYMPOS Milk of Life 3.7% fat with some sugar (5g.), until it reaches 35°C. Add the yeast and whisk, until dissolved. In a bowl, put 150 g. of the flour used in this recipe, pour the hot mixture of milk and yeast and stir, until they get homogenous. Cover the bowl with a wrap and let the dough rise and double in size. This will need approximately 45’ in the oven at 35oC.

In a bowl, mix the flour with the mahlab, mastic, sugar and orange zest.  

Transfer the yeast mixture to the mixer’s bowl and attach the hook. On low speed, start adding the flour mixture slowly and once you finish, put the eggs and let them homogenize. 


Add the salt, the vanilla, until incorporated in the dough.

Then, increase the speed of the mixer from medium to high and gradually add the butter, waiting for the previous batch to be incorporated before adding the next. 


Keep kneading the dough for approximately 20 more minute at high speed, until there is a uniform and smooth dough that completely pulls back from the bowl. 


Attention! At the beginning of the process, the dough may have a strange texture and it may seem that more flour is needed. Do not add any extra flour, because the dough will become firm. By kneading, it will get to the right form. 


Remove the dough from the mixer’s bowl and put it in another large bowl, cover it with a wrap and leave it in a preheat oven at 35oC until it gets double in size for approximately 3 hours. 

Remove the dough from the bowl, transfer it to a parchment paper of 60Χ40 cm. and gently press with your hand, until it flattens. Cover it with another parchment paper. With a rolling pin, roll out the dough to 54Χ34 cm maintaining a uniform thickness and put it in the fridge for 10 minutes, until it slightly tightens.


Take the dough base off the fridge, place it on the working surface and remove the parchment paper from the top. Spread the hazelnut all over it, leaving 1 cm of the dough uncovered from each side. Spread chocolate evenly on the top of the praline. Use the parchment paper to lift the dough carefully and wrap it in a roll.  Squeeze the end carefully all along with your fingers and in the same way, fold the 2 edges. 


Cut the dough in 3 equal-sized stripes and press the edges with your fingers.


Knead the 3 strips, until they reach approximately 35 cm. Place them vertically towards you, leaving around 6 centimeters gap between them. Starting from the side that is not close to you, bond the end of the 2 external strips together then bring the end of the middle strip over their bonding and press to stick them together. Bring the right strip over the middle one and then between the middle and the left one. Next, bring the left strip over the right one and then between the left and the middle one. Continue in the same way, in order to form a braid and when you reach the end, bond the edges and twist them under the braid. Press the braid carefully in its length and width, so as to correct its shape


Put the sweet bread in a non-stick cake pan of 28Χ10Χ6 cm. that you have already buttered and cover with a towel. Leave it in a warm place (again 35C), until it doubles in size once again, for approximately one hour. Remove the towel and brush the egg very carefully over the whole surface. Bake the sweet bread in a preheat oven at 160°C for approximately 45’, until it becomes golden.


Remove the sweet bread from the oven, turn out carefully and set aside to cool in a rack. 

*Tip: You can check if the sweet breads were baked properly by inserting a thermometer into their center. We want the temperature to reach 90°C.


*Tip. The stages of bread rising can take place at room temperature or even at the fridge. The only difference will be in the time needed for the process to be over. At the same time, the longer time it takes, the more delicious the dough might be. 


*Tip: When shaping the 3 stripes, in case they open at some points, pinch them with your fingers to close these openings and continue with the rest of the process.