REQ: Mahlab Recipes

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Jessica Rosenberg

Mar 28, 2002, 3:36:39 AM3/28/02
(Sorry if this is a repeat, but I didn't see my message show up anywhere.)

I received my (first ever) Penzey's order. I'm quite pleased and excited
(even the packing paper smelled wonderful). One of the special spices I
ordered was Mahlab. Mahlab is the pit of the sour cherry and it says it can
be used in baking breads and sweets. Now I'm trying to find recipes! I
looked at,, chef2chef, ichef and searched with
no luck.

Does anyone have any recipes that call for Mahlab? I guess I could just try
adding it to any regular baking recipe but I'm not exactly sure how to use
it. Do I grind it (it's in seed form now)? Add it whole? How much? I
think I'd prefer a specific recipe for the first time I use it.



Mar 28, 2002, 10:52:57 AM3/28/02

I Adore Penzeys!!
Found this...if it helps any. And I only copied these from various sites, so
I don't know anything about the recipes.....or the ingredients used.
Looks like experimenting is the way to go......have fun.
Nancy {:-)
There's nothing better than a good friend,
except a good friend with chocolate.

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.

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
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.

Here is a recipe for Cheoreg based on one from Treasured Armenian Recipes:

Mix a cup each of warm milk and melted butter. Add two beaten eggs, a
tablespoon of yeast. Mix this well. Grind together a half teaspoon each of
anise and mahleb with a teaspoon of salt. Add this to the liquid. Add 3
tablespoons of sugar. While mixing, add enough flour (about 6 cups) to make
a soft dough. Knead it until it is smooth. Cover the dough and let it rest
in a warm place, such as an oven with the light turned off, until it
doubles. Roll out finger length pieces into strips about 8 inches long.
Shape these into circles. Put them on an oiled cookie sheet. Brush the tops
with another beaten egg. Sprinkle the tops with sesame seeds or chopped nuts
if you want. Let them stand for 2 hours. Bake them in a 350 degree oven
until golden brown for about 20 to 25 minutes.

Mediterranean Bread Seasoning

7 tbsp mastic
10 tbsp salt
8 tbsp mahlab
Grind the mastic with some of the salt; grind the mahlab with the remainder
of the salt; combine. Add 1 tbsp per 4 cups flour in your bread recipe.
(Store mixture in a tightly closed container in a cool place.)


this is traditionally served on January 6th, Theophany
For the Bread Dough:
1 cup of warm water
1 tablespoon of olive oil
4 cups of spelt flour (you may substitute either kamut or white flour)
1 teaspoon of ground mahlab (ground Middle Eastern wild cherrystones,
available in ethnic foodstores. If you don't have it, omit it from the
1 teaspoon of sea salt
1½ teaspoons of active dry yeast
For Frying:
oilive oil
Dough Instructions:
If you have a breadmaker, place all the bread ingredients into the machine
in the order listed and turn the machine on to the appropriate "make dough
only" setting. When the dough is finished, proceed to the frying
If you are making the dough by hand, mix all the dry ingredients thoroughly,
then mix in the water and oil, kneading well. The dough should be soft. Let
the dough rise about 1 hour or roughly until it has doubled.
Frying Instructions:
Roll out the dough on a floured pastry cloth to a thickness of not more than
¼ inch and cut it into strips about 6 inches by 2 inches. Heat at least 1
inch of olive oil in a deep skillet. With your fingers, dimple the strips
down the entire length and fry them in the hot oil until golden brown.
Remove them from the skillet and spinkle the tops with fructose. Serve hot
or cold.


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, (refer to page 13)
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
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
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.


Mar 28, 2002, 1:45:40 PM3/28/02
There was actually a recipe on the Martha Stewart show on Food TV the other
night that used this. Her guest boiled it and added it in to make a braided
bread for Easter with dyed Eggs placed in the braids. I'll see if I can
find it on her website!!


"Jessica Rosenberg" <> wrote in message


Mar 28, 2002, 1:54:14 PM3/28/02
Found it!!! This was on the "From Martha's Kitchen" episode which aired on
Monday night!!



Diane's Greek Braided Easter Bread

Makes 2 large loaves
Noted chef and author Diane Kochilas prepares a delicious Greek Easter feast
that includes this Greek Easter bread. Mahlepi is a fruity spice available
at Greek markets.

2 packages active dry yeast
2 cups warm milk
9 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons mahlepi
1/2 cup simmering water, plus 1 tablespoon water
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled, plus more for
bowl and baking sheet
6 large eggs
1 tablespoon grated orange zest
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
4 hard-boiled eggs, dyed red
1 tablespoon sesame seeds

1. In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm milk. Stir in 1 cup flour and
1/2 cup sugar. Cover bowl with plastic wrap, and set aside for 1 hour.
Meanwhile, steep mahlepi in 1/2 cup simmering water. Let stand for 5
minutes. Strain, and discard mahlepi. Let cool.

2. Add mahlepi infusion, butter, and 5 eggs to yeast mixture; combine
thoroughly. Add orange and lemon zests. Sift in remaining 8 cups flour,
sugar, and salt; stir with a wooden spoon until dough forms. Knead dough in
bowl until smooth, about 10 minutes. Form dough into a ball, and transfer to
a lightly buttered bowl. Cover, and let rise for 2 hours.

3. Punch dough down, and transfer to a lightly floured surface. Divide
dough into six equal pieces. Roll each piece of dough into a rope, about 15
inches long. Tightly braid 3 ropes together, beginning in the middle. Repeat
with remaining 3 ropes. Tuck a red-dyed egg into the first and last plaits,
using a small piece of coiled dough to hold each egg in place if necessary.
Place each loaf on a buttered baking sheet, cover loosely with plastic wrap,
and set aside to rise for 1 hour.

4. Preheat oven to 350°. Beat remaining egg with 1 tablespoon water.
Brush bread with egg wash, and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Transfer to oven,
and bake until golden, 50 to 60 minutes.

"Cassy" <> wrote in message

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