How to Make an Ultra Soft Braided Easter Bread

Easter is the time of the braided loaf, and you can find a few good examples of this in the Breads of Easter playlist on my channel. This loaf is inspired by the Greek tsoureki. A sweet rich white bread flavoured with orange, mahlab, mastic, and topped with almond slices. My version does not contain mastic as I could not find it anywhere. But it still contains mahlab which is a powder made from cherry stones.

All the ingredients work together to create an ultra-soft and flavourful Easter loaf perfect for slathering a thick layer of jam on top and taking a big bite out of. Or you could be nice and gift it to someone.

Watch the video down below for detailed instructions.


For the dough

400g (14.1oz) white bread flour

100g (3.5oz) egg (2 medium eggs)

5g (0.17oz) mahlab or 3g (0.1oz) cinnamon

6g (0.21oz) vanilla paste or 2g (0.07oz) mastic

120g (4.25oz) milk

60g (2.1oz) butter

5g (0.17oz) instant dry yeast or 6g (0.21oz) active dry yeast or 15g (0.53oz) fresh yeast

1 orange worth of zest

40g (1.4oz) sugar

8g (0.28oz) salt


To top –

1 egg for glazing

Sliced almonds to decorate


For the syrup –

30g (1oz) sugar

20g (0.7oz) orange juice


To learn more about no-knead bread dough temperature control click here.

The flour I use has a protein content of 13%. If your flour is weaker, then you may need to lower the hydration. 

If you are using active dry yeast, then you may need to let it sit in the water for 10 minutes before adding the other ingredients or else it could take a lot longer to raise the dough.

If you are curious about why the dough contains butter, egg, and sugar, click the links to learn more about the effects those ingredients have on bread dough.


  1. In a large bowl combine the milk, egg, yeast, salt, sugar, mahlab, vanilla, orange zest, and melted butter. Mix well to dissolve the salt and sugar completely. Add the flour and mix to a dough. *Desired dough temperature 25C (77F). If your dough is warmer, then it will ferment more rapidly. If it is cooler, then it will take longer. Adjust fermentation time accordingly.
  2. Cover and ferment for 30 minutes.
  3. Fold #1.
  4. Ferment for 30 minutes.
  5. Fold #2.
  6. Ferment for 30 minutes.
  7. Divide the dough into 3 equal pieces and pre-shape. Cover and rest for 20 minutes.
  8. Roll the dough into long strands. Braid the loaf.
  9. Place on a non-stick paper lined baking tray. Cover and final proof for 1 hour.
  10. Brush the loaf with beaten egg. Leave to dry for 5 minutes and brush again before applying the sliced almonds.
  11. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 150C (300F) fan on for 35 – 40 minutes.


Leave to cool down and enjoy!


Keep in mind that the conditions in each kitchen are different, so fermentation times may vary for you. It is up to the baker to control the bread and react accordingly.

Your oven may be different too, so your baking time may vary.

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