Ok…so my mother would just kill me if she knew I made our family recipe for Choereg public. But my policy is ‘why keep a good thing to myself’. Choereg is a traditional, slightly sweet bread, especially made for Easter. It is delicious for breakfast with a nice cup of coffee. It takes some level of skill, but anyone used to handling yeast should not have a problem. You can find Mahleb at Middle Eastern grocery stores, especially around Easter. It will be with the spices. Please do not omit it, as this is what gives it its distinctive flavour and aroma.
In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the milk, butter and margarine. Heat until butter and margarine are melted, but do not let it boil. Stir in 1 cup of sugar until dissolved, then set aside to cool to lukewarm.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, dissolve 2 teaspoons of sugar in warm water. Sprinkle the yeast over the surface, and let stand until frothy, about 10 minutes.
Crack the eggs into a large bowl, and stir a little to break up the yolks. Slowly pour in the heated milk mixture while whisking constantly, so as to temper the eggs and not cook them. Add the yeast mixture, and stir just until blended.
In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, mahleb, and salt. Make a well in the center, and pour in the wet mixture. Stir until it forms a sticky dough. Pour onto a floured surface, and knead in additional flour as needed to make a more substantial dough. Knead for about 10 minutes. Place in an oiled bowl, and set in a warm place to rise for about 2 hours, or until doubled in size.
When the dough has doubled, punch down again, and let rise until doubled. It will only take about half as long this time.
Separate the dough into 5 even portions, then separate each of those into thirds. Roll each of those into ropes about 12 inches long. Braid sets of three ropes together, pinching the ends to seal, and tucking them under for a better presentation. Place the loaves onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Loaves should be spaced 4 inches apart. Set in a warm place to rise until your finger leaves an impression behind when you poke the loaf gently.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Brush the loaves with beaten egg, and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
Bake for 25 minutes in the preheated oven, or until nicely golden brown all over.
Per Serving: 248 calories; protein 4.5g; carbohydrates 26.8g; fat 13.8g; cholesterol 54.3mg; sodium 229.6mg.
The best flavour of the flour could make a real difference to your bread. Different brands do vary. Extra-strong or Canadian flours, which are naturally higher in gluten, may give you a better rise than standard bread flours – especially if you’re make wholemeal dough , which not always getting bigger as well as white bread.
To make this in a dough , add all the ingredients to your breadmaker and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
A dough’s first rising can be make in the fridge overnight . This slows down the time it takes to rise to double its size, giving it a deeper flavour. It’s also a great timesaver , as you can work it yesterday , then clear it off the next day.