Armenian Easter Bread
Armenian Easter Bread not savory not too sweet just perfect. I has the taste of cherry and almonds thanks to a unusual spice called Mahleb. Mahleb or Mahlab is an aromatic spice made from the seeds of a species of cherry, Prunus mahaleb. The seeds are ground to a fine powder and add the most delicious and unusual taste. It has been used for centuries in the Middle East and the surrounding areas as a flavoring for baked goods. This particular recipe is Armenian in origin. I love trying different recipes but found that the first time I made it the texture and taste was a bit too greasy for my liking. I like my sweet breads more bread like with just the right amount of sweetness and butteryness. I reduced the quantity of butter and then it was perfect.
Other than the unusual spice that flavors this bread it has very straightforward ingredients and techniques. First you will melt the butter in the milk and then stir in the sugar. Allow it to cool and add a beaten egg. It’s easiest to beat an egg with a fork. Start the yeast out in some water mixed with sugar and allow that to foam. Mix the dry ingredients then add the butter mixture and yeast. Knead it into a soft dough coat it with a little oil and allow it to rise. Then you will separate the dough into three roughly equal portions. Roll it out into three ropes and braid them. Brush with a little cream or if you like a darker crust egg wash. Sprinkle with optional sesame seeds. It you like your dough lighter you will let it rise again before baking. Personally I like my sweet bread on the dense side and skip that part. Either way bake the pillowy soft dough till done, it will take about 20-30 minutes.
You never ate a Easter bread that tastes quite like this one and you will be glad you did!