Greek Sweetbread (tsoureki) with the Tangzhong method

I am not sure if I have talked to you about my friend Panagiotis. He is one of Greece's top designers, he makes killer lights and fixtures, he is a super guy, comes from the city of Volos in the center of Greece, studied and lived in Italy for years, he is well travelled and with a great love for food and especially baking. 

I saw him a few days ago and as we were talking he told me about his Tsourekia. He makes tthese Greek delicacies every year around easter and since I had tried his in the past I know how tasty they are! But this year he told me, they were exceptional. He used a method called Tangzhong. 

You need to look into that he told me.. It is what makes all the Asian baking goods sooooo fluffy.. 

So, I searched on line and found out that this Tangzhong is actually something like a starter. It has no leavening effect though... And they make it by boiling some of the flour of the recipe with water. Flour absorbs water when you mix it, but it absorbs five times the amount of water if you boil it. 

So if you incorporate this wonder mixture in the rest of the dough it makes it very supple, it stays fresh for a lot longer and the texture is just sublime.. And this is always the problem with the home made Greek Tsoureki.. in most recipes that I have tried for years now in the second day they become hard.. 

So, how much flour can we make it this way? Up to 10% of the flour in the recipe. And with how much water we boil it? 5 times more water than the weight of the flour we use. 

How long do we boil it for? till it reaches 65 celsius. 

And how much water we take out of the water in the recipe for the dough? The water required in analogy with the flour we removed to make the Tangzhong. 

Using this method I made a killer Tsoureki.. the best ever!! 

Give it a try! 



Diffuculty: 2 of 3
Duration:cooking 30 mins, prep 30 min, wait 1 hour
Serves:2 loaves


For the tangzhong

40g strong bread flour

200g water


For the dough

600g strong bread flour

120g sugar

5g salt

8g ground mahlep

8g ground cardamom

3 small pieces of mastic ground

zest from one orange

8g dry yeast

260g full fat milk

1 medium egg

70g butter in room temperature plus a but more for forming the sweet bread 


one egg yolk with some milk for eggwash

crushed or slivered almond


For the Tangzhong

In a pan we add the flour and water for the tangzhing. Bring to a simmer and boil till thick or till it reaches 65 celsius.

Mixture will be thick and glossy. Remove from heat, put in a bowl and keep in the fridge till it cools down. When we are to add it in the dough it needs to be in room temperature.  

Put the flour, sugar, salt, spices, and yeast and mix them all up.

Add milk, egg and start mining in slow speed picking up along the way. 

When the dough forms and starts pulling out of the sides of the bowl then add the butter and mix till it is all incorporated in the mixture and we have a dough slightly sticky but silky and pillowy. 

Remove it from the mixing bowl in another bowl that we have smeared it's sides with melted butter. Better to butter your hands as you do all these. 

Cover the bowl with cling film and let rise for an hour or until  it doubles in size. 

Remove from the bowl, form 6 balls from the dough and let them rest covered with  cling film for 15 minutes and then turn each ball into a strand and after cvering them up let them rest for another 15 minutes before you form using three stands one sweetbread and form another one with the three remaining strands.

Put them on a baking tray, each one on their own parchment paper and let them rise for an hour.. 

use a brush to eggwash tem and sprinkle with the almonds.   

Bake in a preheated oven at 180 celsius for 25 minutes.. 



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