bitter orange & dulce de leche ‘tsoureki’ bread rollsbitter orange & dulce de leche ‘tsoureki’ bread rollsbitter orange & dulce de leche ‘tsoureki’ bread rollsbitter orange & dulce de leche ‘tsoureki’ bread rollsbitter orange & dulce de leche ‘tsoureki’ bread rollsbitter orange & dulce de leche ‘tsoureki’ bread rollsbitter orange & dulce de leche ‘tsoureki’ bread rollsbitter orange & dulce de leche ‘tsoureki’ bread rollsbitter orange & dulce de leche ‘tsoureki’ bread rollsbitter orange & dulce de leche ‘tsoureki’ bread rollsbitter orange & dulce de leche ‘tsoureki’ bread rollsbitter orange & dulce de leche ‘tsoureki’ bread rollsbitter orange & dulce de leche ‘tsoureki’ bread rollsbitter orange & dulce de leche ‘tsoureki’ bread rollsbitter orange & dulce de leche ‘tsoureki’ bread rollsbitter orange & dulce de leche ‘tsoureki’ bread rolls

PULLING APART THE LAYERS & NO SLICING, PLEASE ... that’s all that matters to me when eating this type of sweet aromatic bread, whether rolled, braided or twisted. The mere idea (and this is just my sincere & humble opinion) of taking a knife to a “tsoureki” horrifies me and literally annihilates the pleasure I can derive from slowly unraveling it (like a cinnamon roll or danish pastry or french-style raisin bread or babka) and tearing it with my teeth, no matter how neat & sweet & large the slice may be !

What is this thing called ‘TSOURÈKI’ ?

Firstly, it’s a cake-like sweet bread. A denser, sweeter and more aromatic brioche-style preparation usually baked around the religious holidays in many different countries, each with its own appellation, variations & historical references (chorek, kozunak, cozonac, follar, kulich, challah, fouace, mona, mouna and even panetonne).

Secondly, it’s another reinterpretation of mine with a creamy milk caramel filling (but I also show you how to make a simpler & plainer version without the creamy filling with just some butter and sugar). I had shared a more traditional recipe about 2 years, with decorative red-dyed little quail easter eggs in the middle as garnish, (you can see the recipe here).

I adore pulling on that spiral of dough that easily unravels with a mere tug of my fingers, offering little resistance, in an almost natural and fluid manner, stretching it out before popping it into my mouth.

Several tests & adjustments were required but both provide very satisfying results. The simpler & plainer no-caramel filling version will rise higher because it’s less heavy and weighed down. The milk caramel filling version (like “dulce de leche” or as it’s called here in France “confiture de lait” which means “milk jam”) adds extra flavor and inner creaminess but is heavier and a bit flatter. Too much caramel filling (which is tempting I admit) makes it too difficult to shape and will fall or flatten too much and will look end up looking like a pizza. Stay reasonable and use just the amount of filling that is needed. A thin layer will suffice.

Be HUMBLE, be a little bit FRUGAL (with the creamy milk caramel filling) & HAPPY SPRING HOLIDAYS to all . . . :)

bitter orange & dulce de leche ‘tsoureki’ bread rolls


12 large rolls


dough :

  • 500 grams (3 ¾ cups) white bread flour - divided into 350 grams (2 ¾ cups) + 125 grams (1 cup) + 25 grams (3 tbsp) for flouring & sprinkling
  • 50 grams (½ cup) very finely ground almond powder
  • 10 grams (2 ½ tsp) dried instant yeast
  • 2 grams (½ tsp) baking powder
  • 1-2 grams (¼ - ½ tsp) fine salt
  • 180 ml (¾ cup) milk
  • 60 ml (¼ cup) fresh orange juice
  • 2 grams (1 tsp) orange zest
  • 2 grams (1 tsp) ground mahlepi (or use ½ tsp almond extract)
  • 5 ml (1 tsp) vanilla extract or 1 split vanilla pod
  • 10 ml (2 tsp) orange blossom water
  • 0,5 gram or 4 whole cloves (or 1/8 tsp ground clove powder)
  • optional : 2 grams (1 tsp) mastic gum resin (ground to a fine powder)
  • 125 grams (2 large) eggs
  • 125 grams (2/3 cup) granulated sugar
  • 125 grams (½ cup) soft butter

'dulce de leche' milk caramel filling :

  • 200 grams ‘dulce de leche’ milk caramel spread (or make your own with 400 grams or 1 can sweetened condensed milk but only use half of it or ½  cup after boiling & thickening the whole thing)
  • 30 ml (2 tbsp) cointreau (or cognac flavored with 4-5 drops of aromatic orange bitters)
  • *or for no dulce de leche caramel filling : just use approximately 47 grams (3 tbsp) very soft butter + 48 grams (4 tbsp) golden cane sugar

finishing garnish :

  • egg-milk wash : 1 egg yolk ( 19 grams) + 1 ½ tbsp (22 ml) milk
  • 15 grams (1-2 tbsp) rock sugar
  • optional : add 2-3 tbsp flaked almonds 


  • heat up the milk until simmering, add all flavorings (orange zest, mahlepi, mastic, vanilla, orange blossom water, cloves, salt) and let simmer some more and finally add the orange juice and let cool slightly until still warm to the touch (remove the vanilla bean & cloves if whole)
  • mix together the 350 grams of flour, almond powder, baking powder and the dried yeast
  • add the warm liquid mix to the dry mix and simply stir and let sit 5 minutes (to hydrate the flour) and add 2 whole eggs, mix with a dough hook for 1 minute, then add all the sugar, mix again for 3 minutes and add the remaining 125 grams of flour and mix until smooth for 2 minutes and finally add the softened butter (2 tbsp at a time) and mix for 5 minutes until the dough is smooth and let it rest for 15 minutes and later, mix again with the dough hook for another 5 minutes
  • transfer the soft dough to a lightly oiled bowl, cover and let rise until doubled in size about 3 hours at 25°C (or longer, depending on room temperature)
  • for the dulce de leche milk caramel, place a closed can of sweetened condensed milk (remove label) in a large pot, add enough water to completely cover the can (add more water later if necessary) and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and let simmer for 2-3 hours, then turn off the heat and let cool down 45-60 minutes before opening the can

note : 2 hours simmering will result in a lighter milk caramel and 3 hours in a much darker and thicker version …

  • add the cointreau (or cognac) to the still warm caramel, whisk until smooth and set aside
  • remove the risen dough and place on a floured work surface (sprinkled with 1 ½ tbsp of flour), fold it over itself several times, flatten it down, sprinkle with another 1 ½ tbsp of flour and roll and shape into a large rectangle

note : either work with one large rectangular surface that you will later roll into a log (more difficult and it flattens and spreads out a lot) or pre-cut the rectangle into thinner strips for easier rolling ...

  • spread the bitter orange caramel over the entire surface, (you will be tempted to use the whole can of 400 grams but resist and only use half or less, it will be very difficult to shape) and carefully roll into a long log and cut into 12 segments or individually roll up the pre-cut strips (which is easier)

note : you can also make these buns without the caramel spread, simply cut into long slices, brush with some melted butter (about 47 grams or 3 tbsp) and then sprinkle with brown sugar (about 48 grams or 4 tbsp) and roll and place in buttered and floured large cupcake/muffin tins or in individual baking forms …

  • place the 12 segments in 2 large muffin tins or molds, (I used smaller molds the first time and they overflowed, deep ramekins or muffin tins are better) cover with oiled baking paper and a slightly damp cloth and let rise again for 1 hour at 25°C (or longer) until almost doubled in size
  • preheat the oven to 190°C
  • brush the risen buns with the egg yolk-milk wash, sprinkle with rock sugar (and/or flaked almonds) and bake for 25 minutes until golden (loosely cover with a sheet of aluminum foil if the tops darken/brown too quickly, after 15 minutes of baking)
  • remove from the oven, let cool, unmold and store in air-tight bags or containers

note : if you prefer making 1 or 2 larger spirals instead of 12 smaller ones, preheat oven only to 170°C and bake for 35-40 minutes until golden …