Friday, March 27, 2015

Choereg! A Georgian Easter Bread

Well, I promised three different Easter bread recipes and this is week 3.....Today's bread originates in Russia, in the province of Georgia. "Choerig" is the name of the bread.(I'm sorry, but I'm not even sure how to pronounce that - LOL! I'll have to find an online translator and figure that out.....). As you probably know, most Easter breads are quite "rich", ie: heavy in eggs, butter, sugar, etc., and this bread is no exception. Breads such as this came to be known as "Easter" breads because they were a part of the celebration of the end of the long Lenten fast. Tender and flavorful, this type of bread continues to be popular on holiday tables everywhere. I read that typically Choerig is flavored with "mahleb", which is derived from black cherry pits....and which I have NO idea where to obtain (though I didn't look on Amazon....) . I was glad to read that where mahleb is unavailable (ie: Ohio), it can be seasoned with anise or lemon or orange zest. I chose lemon! It seemed like a "bright" choice for this gloomy Ohio day. 

I hope this bread will brighten up your day.....and your Easter table! 

Choereg (a Russian Easter Bread)

3 Tbsp. warm water
1 Tbsp. Red Star Platinum yeast
2 ¾- 3 Cups unbleached all-purpose flour
½ Cup + 2 Tbsp. sour cream, at room temperature
1 egg
½ Cup softened butter
3 Tbsp. sugar
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. vanilla
¼ tsp. baking soda
1 ½ tsp. lemon zest

1 egg, beaten
Coarse sugar
Finely chopped almonds

Place warm water and yeast in EZ DOH bucket and stir to dissolve yeast. Let rest 1 minute. Add one cup of flour, then additional dough ingredients. EZ DOH-it for 2-3 minutes, or until dough is smooth and soft and all ingredients are incorporated. Remove dough from bucket, spray bucket with cooking spray, “smooth” dough and replace in bucket. Cover and let rise until doubled.  This may take longer than usual, as this is a very rich dough.

Punch the dough down and remove from the bucket. Divide into two parts. Roll each piece into a rope, about 12-14 inches long. Coil each piece into a snail shape. Place on a greased baking sheet, cover and let rise in a warm place until just about doubled.

Brush the shapes with a beaten egg. Sprinkle with coarse sugar and finely chopped almonds. Bake in a preheated 375 oven for about 30 minutes, until golden. Let cool slightly to slice. Serve warm. 


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