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home > recipes > breads > urbaan
This bread is offered as Holy Communion in the Orthodox and Catholic churches in the Middle East. The bread is sometimes also served at Easter time for breakfast with cheese, olives and other breakfast foods. 1 tsp. Sugar 1/2 lukewarm water 3 tsp. Yeast 2 Cups sugar 2 Cups water (lukewarm) 1 Cup of milk (warm) 1 tsp. Rosewater 1 tsp. Mahlab (see below) 9 Cups of flour 2 tsp. Baking powder rosewater for brushing on after baking Dissolve 1 teaspoon sugar in 1/2 cup water. Add yeast. Set aside for 5-10 minutes. Meanwhile, dissolve the 2 cups of sugar in 2 cups water and 1 cup milk in a large bowl. Add rosewater, yeast mixture and mahlab. Gradually fold in flour and baking powder. Dough should be firm (the consistency of bread dough). Knead well. Cover with plastic sheet then a tea towel. Leave to rest in aworm place for 1 hour. Knead again. Leave to rest another 30 minutes. Divide dough into 12 balls. Roll out each into 1/2 inch thick rounds. Press lightly Over each round with fingers. Then, press teeth of a fork into the rounds to decorate. Cover and let rest for 20 minutes. Bake in preheated 400°F oven for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven. Saturate in a small cloth in rosewater and wipe thoroughly over Holy Bread. Mahlab (whole): Also "mahleb", "mahlep". Small tan kernels of a species of wild cherry, with an almondy and slightly bitter taste (but no prussic acid), used to flavour breads and pastries in Turkey and the Middle East. Try ½ to 1 tsp per cup of flour in your recipe. Keep whole and grind fresh as needed. Mahlab This is an unusual spice that is a favourite in Middle Eastern baking, particularly at Easter. Mahlab or mahleb are the seed kernels of a black cherry tree that may have first grown around the Mediterranean. In fact the ancient Lebanese city of Mahalep is mentioned in the Bible. The fruit of this plant is similar to a sour cherry. The tree can grow to 35 feet and is very hardy. It resists deseases and insects. The root stock of this plant is often used to graft less vigorous North American cherry trees. Mahlab seeds have a slight bitter almond flavour. Many recipes suggest subsituting almonds or even anise for them but many pastry bakers look for mahlab to add an authentic flavour to Armenian Cheoreg (coffee rolls), Greek Lambropsomo (Easter Bread), and Syrian Ma'amoul (date or nut filled pastries). The seeds should be ground just before adding their flavour to a recipe because the nutty aroma will dissipate very quickly. Don't buy it powdered unless you are sure that it smells fresh. An easy way to grind these seeds is by mixing in a little of the sugar or salt that is bound to be called for in the recipe. Use a mortar and pestle. The salt or sugar granules will quickly break down the mahlab seeds into powder.

Urbaan


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keyword: urbaan
ethnicity: middle eastern
recipes for breads
recipes by cnvaness
Email Address:
(posted March 18, 2005)

This
bread is offered as Holy Communion in the Orthodox and Catholic
churches in the Middle East. The
bread is sometimes also served at Easter
time for breakfast with
cheese, olives and other breakfast foods.

1 tsp.
Sugar
1/2 lukewarm water
3 tsp.
Yeast
2 Cups
sugar
2 Cups water (lukewarm)
1 Cup of
milk (warm)
1 tsp. Rosewater
1 tsp. Mahlab (see below)
9 Cups of
flour
2 tsp.
Baking powder
rosewater for brushing on after
baking
Dissolve 1 teaspoon sugar in 1/2 cup water. Add
yeast. Set aside for 5-10
minutes.
Meanwhile,
dissolve the 2 cups of sugar in 2 cups water and 1 cup milk in
a large bowl. Add rosewater,
yeast mixture and mahlab. Gradually fold in
flour and
baking powder. Dough should be firm (the consistency of bread
dough). Knead well.
Cover with plastic sheet then a
tea towel. Leave to rest in aworm place for
1 hour.
Knead again. Leave to rest another 30 minutes.
Divide
dough into 12 balls. Roll out each into 1/2 inch thick rounds. Press
lightly
Over each round with fingers. Then,
press teeth of a fork into the rounds to
decorate. Cover and let rest for 20 minutes.
Bake in preheated 400°F oven for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.
Remove from oven. Saturate in a small cloth in rosewater and wipe thoroughly over Holy
Bread.

Mahlab (whole):
Also "mahleb", "mahlep". Small tan kernels of a species of wild
cherry, with an almondy and slightly bitter taste (but no prussic acid), used to flavour breads and pastries in Turkey and the Middle East. Try ½ to 1 tsp per cup of flour in your recipe. Keep whole and grind fresh as needed.

Mahlab
This is an unusual spice that is a favourite in Middle Eastern
baking, particularly at Easter. Mahlab or mahleb are the seed kernels of a black
cherry tree that may have first grown around the Mediterranean. In fact the ancient Lebanese city of Mahalep is mentioned in the Bible. The fruit of this plant is similar to a sour cherry. The tree can grow to 35 feet and is very hardy. It resists deseases and insects. The root stock of this plant is often used to graft less vigorous North American cherry trees. Mahlab seeds have a slight bitter almond flavour. Many recipes suggest subsituting almonds or even anise for them but many pastry bakers look for mahlab to add an authentic flavour to Armenian Cheoreg (coffee rolls), Greek Lambropsomo (Easter Bread), and Syrian Ma'amoul (date or nut filled pastries).

The seeds should be ground just before adding their flavour to a recipe because the
nutty aroma will dissipate very quickly. Don't buy it powdered unless you are sure that it smells fresh. An easy way to grind these seeds is by mixing in a little of the sugar or salt that is bound to be called for in the recipe. Use a mortar and
pestle. The salt or sugar granules will quickly break down the mahlab seeds into powder.


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