Most Armenians around the world are busy making choreg right now. It is a tradition to prepare this sweet, delicious bread at Easter time, however we were lucky that our grandmother would make it throughout the year. Nothing beats the smell of choreg baking in the oven. Practically every nationality around the word has a variation of choreg–and I personally enjoy mine warmed up with a slathering of salted butter and Armenian jam. It is so delicious!
Making this recipe brings back memories of my grandmother and how she would lovingly bake these for us. I am happy to share her recipe with you today. I’ve added my own twist by making them heart-shaped since choreg = love. You might make yours into a twisted knot or a braided loaf, but I hope you try making these heart-shaped Armenian Choreg / Easter bread if only to see the smiles on a little one’s face.
Armenian Choreg / Easter Bread Tips and Tricks
How I make sure this recipe is successful is to pull my butter and eggs out of the refrigerator the night before and leave them on the counter. All ingredients need to be at room temperature. The day I am making choreg, I let the milk sit at room temperature while I prepare my other ingredients, or I microwave it for 10 seconds to take the chill off.
To prepare the yeast, I warm the water to approximately 95-100 degrees and then I dissolve the sugar in it before adding the yeast . Don’t make the water too hot or you’ll kill the yeast! Your yeast should be nice and foaming when you add it to the mix.
Be prepared for this recipe to fill your stand-mixer! First you will mix the eggs and sugar by hand, and when that is blended well add the milk. Drop in your chunks of room-temperature butter, and start to blend in your stand mixer while adding one cup of flour at a time. Add each cup once the previous cup has been incorporated.
Right before you add the last cup, you will notice the dough will look thick–this is when you add the yeast and last cup of flour. Blend well and add the mahlab. Stop mixing when the dough looks thick, creamy and sticky. It takes 9 cups of flour, and can get a bit messy. I always blend with the dough hook on the lowest speed, scraping the sides of the bowl with my spatula.
Spray a large bowl with a bit of neutral oil and drop your dough into it. Cover with a towel and allow to rise in a warm spot for a minimum of 4 hours. I’ve had really great success with the dough rising in my oven with just the light on! It’s the best spot. After 4 hours of rising, your dough will be soft and doubled in size. Try not to handle your dough too much, so that you get a fluffy texture.
Take a hand full of the dough, roll gently into a ball, roll it out into a log and then divide the dough almost until the end in half. Smooth out each end and then roll them up to form a heart! You can watch me do this in the video. Don’t worry if you have a small hole in the middle when you roll because your bread will rise when it bakes. I gently pinch the end to accentuate the v pointy end of the heart.
Place on a parchment lined baking sheet and brush with egg wash and sprinkle some sesame seeds on top. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for approximately 30 minutes or until golden brown. Ovens vary, so just watch your choreg for your favourite, beautiful brown colour and then pull them out.
Eat them warm with lots of butter and your favourite Armenian jam. My favourite right now is Ijevan’s sour-cherry jam which I purchased from Mamajoun’s in Toronto. Happy Easter everyone. I hope you tag me so I can see your delicious, heart-shaped morsels of love. Օրհնյալ է Հարությունը Քրիստոսի! Անուշ Ըլլայ!
Update: I am thrilled that the Armenian Mirror Spectator magazine has featured my recipe! You can check it out here.
Armenian Choreg / Easter Bread
This delicious Armenian Choreg is a staple at Easter time or any other time of the year. You can also make these and freeze them. It is sweet, and is incredible when warmed up and enjoyed with butter and Armenian jam. Be prepared to let this dough rise for 4 hours. To see a smile on everyone's face, make them heart shaped.
- 9 cups all purpose flour (sifted)
- 7 eggs (room temperature)
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 cups/454 g butter (room temperature)
- 1 1/2 cups milk (room temperature)
- 2 teaspoons mahleb
- 2 + 1/4 teaspoons yeast with 1/4 teaspoon of sugar and 1/4 cup warm water
- 2 eggs, beaten
- sesame seeds
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Prepare the yeast by dissolving the sugar with warm water and then adding the yeast. Let foam.
In the bowl of your stand mixer, combine the sugar and eggs and mix well.
Add the milk and combine well.
Attach the dough hook to your stand mixer.
Dropped in your cubed, room temperature butter.
Add sifted flour, one cup at a time.
Blend on slow speed, adding flour one cup at a time when mixed.
Before adding last cup of flour, add yeast.
Add last cup of flour and mahleb.
Knead with dough hook on slow speed until texture is smooth, thick and sticky.
Drop into an oiled bowl and let rise in a warm, draft-free place for 4 hours. (I like my oven with the light on.)
Making Heart Shapes
After 4 hours, your dough should have doubled in size ad be light and fluffy.
With out handing it too much, pull off a palm size ball and roll to a 5-inch log.
With a dough cutter, split your dough into two pieces almost until the edge,
Smooth them out, pinch the tip and roll your ends up to form a heart.
Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet, glaze with egg wash and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
Bake for 25-30 minutes until golden brown.
Best enjoyed warm!
All ingredients should be at room temperature. These freeze very well and taste best when warmed up and enjoyed with the best jam on earth-- from Armenia.