This Greek Vegan Easter Bread (Vegan Tsoureki) recipe is egg and dairy free and it perfect during Lent. Still fluffy and tasting just the same!
Preparing Tsoureki can be a quite onerous task, however if you are armed with my fall proof recipe and patience you are fine! Patience you ask, well Tsoureki requires a few proofing sessions which are time consuming, though extremely crucial!
So, let’s go and see the recipe for this delicious, fluffy Vegan Greek Easter Bread (Vegan Tsoureki). Go on, impress your friends and family during the upcoming Easter holidays with this recipe.
Greek Vegan Easter bread (Vegan Tsoureki) ingredients
I prefer vegan fresh yeast as the the dough comes out fluffier, however if you cannot get your hands on some, you can substitute for active dry yeast or instant yeast.
To prepare this delicious vegan Tsoureki you will need strong flour with a high protein content (12-13% protein). All purpose flour has a lesser protein content which does not allow the Tsoureki to be all fluffy and stringy!
Dairy free milk
So far I have used non-dairy Soya milk as I find it overpower the Tsoureki aromatic spices. For ease, you can use soya milk with added vanilla.
Of course there are a number of other non-dairy milks such as oat, almond, cashew and coconut milk in this recipe. I find these non-dairy varieties quite overpowering thus masking the authentic Tsoureki taste and tend not to use them.
This Greek Vegan Easter bread (Vegan Tsoureki) and no butter whatsoever and thus utilises oil. I use sunflower oil due to its subtle flavour , compared with other oils such as extra virgin olive oil.
For this recipe I use freshly squeezed orange juice. I find two medium sized oranges yield around 100mls.
Orange zest from 1-2 oranges gives this Vegan Greek Easter bread a citrusy flavour.
Use white granulated sugar.
Mahleb/ Mahlab/ Mahlepi or St Lucie cherry kernels is a an aromatic spice from wild cherry pit that is commonly used in Tsoureki recipes. It has a cherry, rose and almond like taste.
Cardamon is also an aromatic spice commonly used in Tsoureki recipes. It has a fruity flavour, pairs really well with citrus flavours and adds sweetness to the Tsoureki dough. Cardamon can be rather bitter, so avoid large quantities.
Mastic / Mastiha / Tears of Chios
For an authentic Vegan Tsoureki recipe add 2 small pieces of mastiha. Mastiha has a strong flavour so less is more. Grind mastiha it in a mortar with a teaspoon of sugar. If you cannot find mastiha, do not worry, as you can prepare this delicious Vegan Tsoureki recipe without mastiha. I for one, rarely use mastiha in my Tsoureki.
A few drops of vanilla are all you need.
A pinch of salt enhances flavour in this Vegan Tsoureki recipe.
How to prepare Greek Vegan Easter bread (Vegan Tsoureki)
Assemble and weigh all ingredients. Place them aside on the kitchen counter and add as required.
Preparing Vegan Tsoureki starter
First things first, prepare the Vegan Tsoureki starter. In a mixing bowl dissolve yeast in 50mls lukewarm water. Add two tablespoons of sugar along with two tablespoons of strong flour. Rather than adding extra sugar and flour, use from the ones that the recipe calls for. Whisk and set aside in warm place so that the yeast gets activate. Check on the yeast after 15 minutes. If the yeast mixture is bubbly in nature, then it is alright to use. If the yeast mixture is flat and not bubbly, throw it out and prepare another one with a different yeast. Check the yeast’s expiry date.
The Tsoureki starter should be bubbly as in this picture.
Preparing Vegan Tsoureki dough
In a mixer’s bowl add all the liquid ingredients, ie milk, orange juice, sunflower oil, orange zest along with sugar and aromatic spices, vanilla and pinch of salt. Mix to combine.
Add the Tsoureki starter to the above mixture and beat with the standmixer.
Continue by adding the flour at small batches. I add one cup at a time.
On medium speed, knead the Vegan Tsoureki dough for 20 minutes.
Proofing Vegan Tsoureki
Cover the mixing bowl in cling film and let the dough proof in a warm place for 30 minutes or until it doubles in size.
Currently my favourite way to proof Tsoureki dough is in my Instant Pot Pressure cooker that my daughter has gifted to me. Saying that, if you have a bread machine and it has a proofing function, you can try proofing the Tsoureki dough there.
For a step by step guide to Tsoureki proofing in Instant Pot pressure cooker have a look at my Greek traditional homemade Tsoureki recipe.
For further proofing ideas, have a look at my Chocolate Tsoureki recipe.
Have you heard of the poke test?
A simple test to check whether the Vegan tsoureki is proofed enough is the “poke test.” Gently poke it with your finger and it should spring back slowly, leaving a slight indentation. If it springs back immediately with no dent, it’s under-proofed. If it doesn’t spring back at all and the dent is deep, it’s probably underproofed.
Shaping Vegan Tsoureki
Tsoureki is traditionally braided with the exception of Vasilopita Tsoureki which a Tsoureki in a round form.
Divide the dough into two equal portions. I use a kitchen scale for this step. Continue by dividing each portion into three smaller, equal dough portions. On floured surface, take each small portion, roll it and make a string.
Set three strings side by side and start braiding.
For this Vegan Tsoureki recipe, I have braided the strings and have connected the ends so that a ring is formed. This particular shape is called ‘Kouloura’ ,from the word ‘koulouri’, ie a ring.
Line a baking tin with baking sheet and place the Vegan Tsoureki Kouloura inside. Place the Tsoureki Kouloura dough in a warm place to proof once more until it doubles in size ( approximately 30-40 minutes).
Decorating Vegan Tsoureki
If you do not have a ring baking tin, then add a heat proof water glass in the middle of the tin.
To impress your guests, allow the Tsoureki Kouloura some spaces so that you can add your dyed Easter eggs.
For this step, I use a few wooden egg shapes I have.
To finish off, decorate with almond slivers.
Mix 1-2 tablespoons honey with water and brush the Vegan Tsoureki.
There are numerous delicious filling that you can add to your Tsoureki, from chopped almonds, chocolate to jams in the dough.
If you love Tsoureki as much as Greeks do, then have a look at my Tsoureki recipes:
- Greek traditional homemade Tsoureki ( now in German too!!!)
- Greek Marble Tsoureki ( Chocolate Tsoureki)
- Greek mini two tone cocoa Tsoureki with syrup (Easter bread)
- Tsoureki with strawberry jam
- Tsoureki with Carob flour
- Spanakotiropita Tsoureki
- Vasilopita Tsoureki
- Tsoureki pudding
For a guide to Tsoureki leftovers, look no further than my Guide to Tsoureki leftovers.
Easter Recipes you will love
- Greek style roasted leg of lamb with thyme recipe
- Greek leg of lamb with yogurt (Giaourtlou)
- Greek style rosemary roasted potatoes and carrots recipe
- Kyra Sarakosti/Lent Lady
- Lazarakia buns (Little Lazarus Sweet Bread rolls)
Greek Vegan Easter bread (Vegan Tsoureki)
Vegan Tsoureki starter
- 50mls lukewarm water
- 75gr fresh yeast or 23gr dry yeast
- 2 tablespoons strong flour ( from Tsoureki dough ingredients)
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
Vegan Tsoureki dough
- 1Kg strong flour or bread flour ( 12-13% protein)
- 75gr fresh yeast or 23gr instant dry yeast
- 500mls non-dairy milk (soya)
- 280gr granulated sugar
- 120mls fresh orange juice
- 150mls sunflower oil
- 10gr mahlepi or mahlab
- 3gr ground cardamon
- 2-3 vanilla drops
- pinch of salt
- ground mastic resin (optional)
Wash and Decoration:
- 1-2 tablespoons honey
- almond slivers
- To prepare this Greek Vegan Easter bread (Vegan Tsoureki) start by preparing the 'starter'. In a mixing bowl add lukewarm milk, yeast, 2 tablespoons sugar along with two tablespoons of strong flour. Rather than add extra sugar and flour in the starter, use some from the ones the recipe calls for.
- Let the yeast activate for 10-15 minutes. If the yeast mixture is bubbly then you can proceed as the mixture is alright for the next recipe steps. If you find that the yeast mixture does not have any bubbles, then do not proceed with the recipe and waste away your ingredients, but rather invest in a new batch of yeast.
- In a mixer's bowl add the liquid ingredients, ie remaining milk, orange juice, orange zest, sunflower oil, vanilla drops along with sugar, the aromatic spices , ie mahleb, ground cardamon, and pinch of salt. Mix to combine.
- Carry on by adding the flour in batches. I add a cup of flour at this step and mix to combine. Turn the mixer on medium speed and with a dough hook, knead the Tsoureki dough for 20 minutes. If you do not have a stand mixer, you can knead the Vegan Tsoureki dough by hand.
- It is time now to allow the Vegan Tsoureki dough to proof and double in size. Cover with a blanket and leave in a warm are of house until it doubles in size.
- Allow the Tsoureki dough proof for 30-35 minutes.
- Punch down the dough and divide it in equal portions. I use weighing scales so that I have uniform Tsoureki loafs. Take each of these equal portions, further sub-divide them in three and roll each one in a strand.
- Take each of the three strands and braid the Vegan Tsoureki.
- Place the braided Vegan Tsoureki loaf in grease free paper lined trays and also for a second round of proofing. Allow the braided Tsoureki proof for another 30-35 minutes, until they have doubled in size.
- Preheat the oven to 160C or 320F.
- In a separate bowl, mix honey with water and brush the Tsoureki. To finish off these delicious Vegan Greek Easter bread (Vegan Tsoureki), sprinkle with almond slivers.
- Bake at 160C or 320F for 40 minutes until golden brown.
- Cover with aluminium foil at around 30 minutes to ensure a golden colour in your Tsoureki.