This tsoureki bread-Greek brioche french toast is a delicious breakfast that couldn't be easier to prepare. It's made with fantastic tsoureki, the greek brioche bread, an aromatic egg custard, and served with warmed honey, blueberries, and walnuts.
What is tsoureki bread
Tsoureki is a Greek semi-sweet bread that is made during Christmas and Easter. It is made from a yeast dough of flour, sugar, butter, and milk and is flavored with mahlep, and mastic resin. At Easter, tsoureki is decorated with traditional red eggs. Greeks enjoy it all year round with an emphasis during the holidays. I love dipping it in my coffee. It is excellent and naughty with some Nutella on top!
Tsoureki is a close relative to brioche and challah bread.
Brioche is a french bread. It is sweeter than tsoureki and does not have any mastic and mahlep aromas and flavors.
Challah bread is a part of Jewish tradition. It is a kosher bread and is not made with any dairy, i.e. butter and milk. It is not as sweet as tsoureki but has a very similar appearance and consistency.
I personally find brioche is much richer than challah and tsoureki.
Where can I find tsoureki bread?
Option A. You can make it! Try this fantastic recipe from my grandmother Evgenia.
Option B. Purchase it. You can find great tsoureki loaves at local Greek grocery stores or online at titanfoods.
Here is what you need
A loaf of tsoureki bread. The soft slightly sweet bread is ideal for french toast.
Half and half. You can also use whole milk or heavy cream. The milk will result in a lighter custard, the heavy cream will produce a richer result. Half and half is like the best of both worlds.
A few cloves, ground nutmeg, and a cinnamon stick. They bring an ideal aroma and flavor to the egg custard.
Fresh herbs like sage and thyme. I love fresh herbs. My favorite is fresh sage if I only could use one.
Eggs. Added to the warmed cream to make a light custard.
Butter. I usually prefer salted butter for everything unless I am baking. Use your preferred butter.
For serving. You will need warmed honey, crushed walnuts, and fresh blueberries. I love mild-flavored Greek honey with thyme, like Attiki. Orange blossom or and wildflower honey are great with this recipe.
- You can easily substitute tsoureki with brioche or challah bread. Results will be sweeter with brioche and not sweet with challah. You can sprinkle some powdered sugar on top of the challah toast if you like, add more honey or both.
- Almond or oat milk should also work well instead of milk or cream.
- A teaspoon of ground cinnamon can substitute for a cinnamon stick.
- Use any type of berries you like for this recipe. You can also use fruits like peaches, figs, bananas, etc.
- Instead of honey drizzle maple syrup.
- Pecans, almonds, hazelnuts, pistachios even brazil nuts can work well with this recipe.
Add the half and half, ground nutmeg, cloves, sage leaves, and thyme sprigs, and salt in a saucepan. Bring to a simmer for 10 minutes. Let it cool.
Remove cloves, cinnamon stick, and herbs from the milk mixture. Beat the four eggs and add them to the milk. Stir well.
Serve immediately with a drizzle of warm honey and blueberries.
Detailed measurements and instructions can be found on the recipe card at the bottom of the page.
- Brush a medium to large baking dish with melted butter. Arrange tsoureki bread slices in the pan, overlapping them if you need them to fit.
- Add the half and half, ground nutmeg, cloves, sage leaves, thyme sprigs, and salt in a saucepan. Bring to a simmer for 10 minutes. Let is cool.
- Whip the eggs and add to the milk mixture. Pour all over the tsoureki slices, to absorb the milk. Top bread with crushed walnuts. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours and up to 12 hours.
- Heat oven to 350° F. Let the chilled casserole stand at room temperature for 20 to 30 minutes before baking.
- Place casserole on the center rack in the oven and bake until browned and set, about 30 to 45 minutes. Remove, let it cool slightly, and serve.
- Cut into serving pieces and serve with warmed honey and blueberries on the side.
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Tsoureki Bread-Greek Brioche French Toast
- 8 slices tsoureki bread about ¾ of an inch thick each slice
- 1½ cup half and half or heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 3-4 cloves
- 1 cinammon stick
- 3-4 fresh sage leaves
- 2-3 fresh thyme sprigs
- 4 eggs beaten
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- 4 tablespoons butter salted or unsalted
- honey warmed
- crushed walnuts
- Add the half and half, ground nutmeg, cloves, sage leaves, thyme sprigs, and salt in a saucepan. Bring to a simmer for 10 minutes. Let it cool.
- Remove cloves, cinnamon stick and herbs from the milk mixture. Beat the four eggs and add them to the milk. Stir well.Dip the tsoureki slices in the mixture in batches. Let them soak for 1- 2 minutes.
- Melt 1-2 tablespoons of butter on a skillet and fry slices in batches of two or three until golden brown, then flip to cook the other side. Serve with a drizzle of warmed honey, a handful of walnuts and blueberries.
- You can use, low-fat milk, whole milk, half and half or heavy cream depending on your dietary preferences. Plant-based milk will also work well with this recipe if you are avoiding dairy.