Posted by: edibleplanet | April 22, 2011

Turkish Easter Bread

Turkish Easter Bread

Bread fresh from oven

Mahleb was on our list of products to stock from the time we opened our shop but MAF proved a bigger match and we haven’t managed to get some into the country to it on the shelf. This shifty spice is a type of seed(hence the MAF issues) – it is the seed inside the stone of the St. Lucis Cherry. From our research it is best to have it whole and then grind it just as you need it, to keep the flavour. It has a sweet/sour flavour and you don’t need much.

One of the recipes that is famed for its use is Turkish Easter Bread(paskalya coregi). A brioche like bread that is traditionally eaten on Easter Sunday. I didn’t realise the Easter Sunday bit and we ate ours on Monday.

With Easter approaching we were getting customer requests for mahleb and it was frustrating to not be able to provide it. Then I started googling substitutes.

I found suggestions on spice combinations that could work. The most common combination suggested bay leaves, 3 cloves and 5cm of cinnamon stick ground together. I tried it out and it seemed a good mix of sweet/sour and did seem to have a hint of the flavour of cherry stones.

uncooked easter bread

The bread after being brushed with egg yolk and sprinkled with almonds, ready for the oven

So I googled away and decided on this recipe for the bread to try out my fake mahleb. Easter bread recipe often also include mastic(which we can get), which is a resin that changes the texture of the bread. I decided to not include it this time.
I added the ingredients to the bread maker, including my fake mahleb, put it onto the dough setting and left it to it.
Once the dough was made and risen, I shaped it into the traditional plait and left it for another hour for its second rising.
I glazed it with the remaining egg yolk and sprinkled with almond slivers and into the oven it went.
It emerged smelling glorious and I could hardly wait for it to cool down to try.

We tried it hot and it was delicious though I felt the cinnamon was perhaps too dominant in the spice blend. The next day when it had cooled and I tried it for breakfast with a cup of tea, the fake mahleb tasted much more balanced. Of course I haven’t tried the bread made with the real thing but definitely fake mahleb makes a very delicious loaf and it has a beautiful texture too. It was fun experimenting with ways to achieve the flavour of a spice. We also decided bay leaves and cinnamon make a nice a combination.

We have found out you can buy the cherry trees here so perhaps we just need to grow our own mahleb.



  1. Your bread looks wonderful, thank you for trying the recipe. The mahlep substitute sounds intriguing, I love mahlep but I might try the ‘fake mahleb’ just for fun.

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