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Smithsonian Folklife Festival
The Silk Road

Armenian Easter Bread

Chef: Leda Zenian
Leda Zenian grew up in Beirut, Lebanon, and has a doctorate in economics and demography.

Ingredients:
  • 1 ¼ package fast active dry yeast
  • ⅛ cup lukewarm water
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup milk
  • 3 eggs
  • ¼ lb. melted butter
  • 3 ½ cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground mahleb
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon Arabic gum
  • Egg glaze: 1 egg, beaten
  • Garnish: Sesame seeds or black caraway seeds
Assembly:
  1. 1. Sprinkle yeast over water, add a teaspoon of sugar and stir. Cover llightly and set aside in a warm place.
  2. 2. Add remaining sugar to the milk in a saucepan, place over heat, and stir to dissolve sugar. Remove from heat.
  3. 3. Beat eggs in a mixing bowl, or food processor, add butter, yeast and milk. Stir. Sift in flour, one cup at a time (reserving ½ cup of flour). Add remaining ingredients and stir.
  4. 4. Khead over floured surface for at least 5 minutes. Form dough into ball, cover with plastic sheet, wrap bowl well, and set aside for 3 hours.
  5. 5. Punch down dough and shape into 10 inch round balls. Place them in a baking pan and set aside for 1 hour.
  6. 6. Brush surface of each bread with egg glaze and garnish as desired. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven until golden (25-35 minutes).

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