Choereg with anise seeds, fennel seeds and ginger Recipe
Choereg with anise seeds, fennel seeds and ginger
Flavors of Armenia

Prep time: 15 minutes
Rising time for the dough: 2 + 1 + 1 hours (you can also prepare the choeregs a day ahead. For the last rising, leave at room temperature, covered with plastic wrap) 
Baking time: 70 minutes for 1 large choereg or 20-25 minutes for small ones 

Chef's Note

Choereg, Techeureg, Chorag...

This is a traditional rich bread for Orthodox Easter, subtly flavored with mahlab and decorated with red-dyed hard-boiled eggs..

While choereg is often sweet, this version is much less so, highlighting instead the flavor of various spices.

For 1 large choereg or 10-12 small ones

- 500 g / 5-5½ cups all-purpose flour
- 225 g / 1/2 lb. unsalted butter
- 250 ml / 1 cup whole milk
- 1 egg + 1 egg for glaze
- 7 g / 1 packet active dry yeast
- 60 g / 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 Tsp. salt
- 1 Tbsp. each: Ground mahleb (1), fennel seed and anise seed
- 1/2 Tsp. ground ginger
- 2 Tbsp. baking powder

Step 1

  • Dissolve the yeast in 125 ml warm water with 1 tsp. sugar. Let stand until foamy.
  • In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the milk; heat until the milk just begins to simmer WITHOUT boiling. Let cool.
  • In a small bowl, beat the eggs, then incorporate them into the cooled butter-milk mixture.

Step 2

  • In a bowl, combine the dry ingredients: flour, mahleb, remaining sugar and salt. Create a well in the center and pour in the yeast and milk-butter-egg mixture. Gradually mix the dry ingredients into the liquid ingredients. Knead for 10 minutes or until a smooth, soft dough forms.

Step 3

  • Place the dough into a buttered or oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise for 2 hours until the dough has doubled in volume.
  • Punch down quickly; cover; let rise another hour.

Step 4

  • Divide the dough into golf ball-sized pieces. Roll each one with your fingertips into a 30 cm long rope.
  • Cut off 1/3 of the rope. Form the remaining piece into a “U” or horseshoe shape and place the smaller piece in the middle, pressing well to attach it to the “U.”
  • Braid the three strands, then pinch the end of the braid so that it does not come undone when baked, folding it underneath for a neater presentation. Repeat with the remaining pieces of dough.
  • Place the braids on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Use 2 sheets if needed to allow a 10 cm space between the braids.
  • Let rise in a warm, draft-free location for another hour. To check whether the dough is sufficiently risen, poke it lightly with your finger. It should leave a slight indentation.

Step 5

  • Preheat the oven to 180° C/350° F.
  • Brush the loaves with beaten egg. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.
  • Bake for 70 minutes for the large choereg or 20-25 minutes for the small ones, or until the choeregs are a nice golden brown.
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