Sweet bread

Sweet bread


Turkish Fire
1 loaf
Alicia Taylor

This is the Turkish version of brioche. It is amazing straight from the oven, and fantastic toasted with jam for breakfast. In my family I was the only one who made these. I love the aroma of the mahlab spice, which is ground from the seeds of wild black cherries; it smells like heaven, warm and sweet.


Quantity Ingredient
7g dried yeast
115g caster sugar
180ml milk, at room temperature
375g plain flour
1 tablespoon mahlab, (see note)
120g unsalted butter, softened
2 free-range eggs, lightly beaten
1 free-range egg yolk, lightly beaten, for brushing
30g slivered almonds


  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  2. Mix the yeast, 1 tablespoon of the sugar and 60 ml of the milk in a bowl. Leave for 5–10 minutes, until the yeast turns frothy and ‘comes alive’.
  3. Combine the flour, mahlab and remaining sugar in a large bowl. Make a well in the centre and add the butter, beaten eggs, activated yeast mixture and most of the milk. Combine the mixture with your hands, adding a little more milk if needed to bring it all together into a dough.
  4. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until the dough feels like your earlobe, about 10–15 minutes. Cover the dough and allow to rest in a warm spot until it has doubled in size, usually 2–3 hours.
  5. Gently punch down the dough, then divide into three equal pieces. Roll each piece into a cylinder about 40 cm long, then braid the three pieces together, like you would plait your hair. Tuck the ends under neatly. Place on a baking tray and set aside for a further 20–30 minutes, until slightly risen.
  6. Brush with the egg yolk and sprinkle with the slivered almonds. Bake for 30–40 minutes, until the bread is golden brown. Serve warm.
  7. Any leftover bread will keep for a few days, wrapped in plastic wrap, and makes a wonderful bread and butter pudding.


  • Mahlab (also labelled mahaleb, mahlep, mahleb or St Lucie kernels) is a fragrant spice powder ground from the small seeds inside the pits of the wild, sour mahaleb cherry. You’ll find it in spice emporiums and Middle Eastern grocery stores.
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