Monday, November 16, 2015

Babes Bake Flowering Bread

I've never been to Russia, but if the bread there is as delicious as this month's Russian Chrysanthemum Bread, perhaps I should try to get there. Our dear Babe Lien invited us to gather around her kitchen table and make this bread which ends up looking a bit like a flower. It's a filled bread and takes some time, but once you figure out how to fill each dough circle and fold it, it is pretty easy. Just remember, the pointed end goes towards the middle. Do that and don't over-fill the dough circle and you, too, will make a gorgeous, impressive and wonderful treat. The Bread Baking Babes enjoy this sort of bread you?

The recipe we were given calls for a savory filling, but I recently received a jar of cranberry-orange marmalade. It's almost Thanksgiving, one of the few times I have cranberry conserve on the table, so think of this as a seasonal and sweet variation. I included some cream cheese mixed with this year's crop of walnuts from the back yard, chopped fine. They made a great flavor combination. The finished bread is lovely to look at but the star is the dough. According to my Sweetie, the dough is buttery. moist and rich tasting, even though there isn't any butter in it...just milk, egg and olive oil.

The links at the bottom of the post will lead you to at least a couple of pizza savory flavored versions and some closer to the traditional meat-herbs-cheese version. Take your pick, but do try making this. Imagine think slices as a starter for a dinner party, especially a savory version. I think my version would be wonderful for Thanksgiving morning because the house will have some of the fragrance of the Thanksgiving meal but early in the day...sort of a teaser.

The tip to roll out the dough (1/3 at a time) and then let it sit 10 minutes is important. It means that the dough circle will stay at 7.5 cm (about 3 inches) which will allow you to put in enough filling that there will be a nice filling-bread balance. This is what my flower looked like right after I had filled all the petals and put them into place. Because it is a smaller pie plate than standard, I had enough dough left over to make a small tea ring with the rest of the fillings, but if you make a nine-inch one you will probably have about 1/4 of the dough left over or less. You could still make something like a turnover or two with it and the left over fillings, or a sausage roll if you have savory filling left.

Be sure to let Lien know if you bake as a Buddy by November 29th. You e-mail her a photo and a short bit about your experience baking this beautiful bread and she will send you a Buddy badge (very like the badge above) and include you in the round-up.

Russian Chrysanthemum Bread
(1 large round loaf)

Filling: (this is an example. You can make up your own savory or sweet filling. If you want to go vegetarian, think mushroom, bean mash, etc.

500-600 g minced meat (beef, lamb, turkey, etc.)
1 medium onion, chopped fine
1 garlic clove, chopped
140 g cheese, coarsely grated
30 g butter
100 ml cold water
salt and pepper to taste
spices, to taste
(Note: if you mix everything up and then fry up about a tablespoonful in a small pan, you can see if you life the seasonings or if they need to be changed. )

500 g strong flour/bread flour (with some extra for dusting the board when you roll out the dough)
7 g dry instant yeast
125 ml milk, lukewarm (1/2 cup)
125 ml kefir or yogurt (1/2 cup)
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg
90 ml olive oil (3 oz.)

1 tablespoon milk
1 egg yolk

Also Needed:
1 round cookie cutter or glass (7.5 cm - about 3-inches in diameter)
large shallow pie dish 28 cm in diameter

Making the Dough:
Mix the yeast and sugar in the lukewarm milk. Mix the yogurt or kefir with the salt, egg, and oil, then add the flour and the yeast mixture. Knead into a supple dough. Shape into a ball and let rest in a lightly greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap or a shower cap. Let dough rise for about an hour or until doubled. Keep going...see what you will end up with!

Make the Filling:
Cook the chopped onions and garlic in a frying pan until translucent. Leave to cool. Mix all the ingredients for the filling well (really knead it through). Set aside. (For the filling I used, see the end of the cooking needed.)

Shaping the Flower:
Work with about 1/3 of the dough at a time. Roll it out to a thickness of  about 3 mm. Cover with a clean tea towel and let rest for 10 minutes. This will prevent the dough from shrinking once the circles are cut. Cut out rounds with the cookie cutter. Place 1 tablespoon of filling on each round, spread it out, leaving about  1/2 cm free around the border and sprinkle with some cheese. Fold the circle in half, and fold the two points together. It now looks like a petal. Place in the pie dish, starting around the border with the point of the petal facing to the center. Repeat until there is just a little space left in the middle. Cut three smaller circles and fill them and use that for the center of the flower. Cover with lightly greased plastic wrap or a shower cap and leave the flower to rest and rise for about 45 minutes. Patience...soon you will be eating a tasty flower.

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C (just a little over 350 degrees F).

Whisk egg yolk and milk for the glaze and brush the bread with it. Place the pan in the oven directly on a rack and bake for 25 minutes. Lower the temperature to 170 degrees C (about 325 degrees F) and bake for another 10-15 minutes until golden brown.

When the loaf is done, take it out of the oven and the pan, place on a wire rack and let cool. If desired, brush with melted butter while still warm. Let cool or eat lukewarm.

For filling I used 2 oz. soft cream cheese mixed with 2 tablespoons finely chopped walnuts, plus about 4 oz cranberry orange marmalade.


  1. Looks like great fun! Something to consider making for Thanksgiving!

  2. I love your jam filling! What a wonderful idea. Your bread rose up so nice and fluffy!!

  3. Wonderful filling choice for the festive days end November and December! your bread looks just perfect.

  4. Your chrysanthemum looks beautiful! And I really like that you used cranberry orange marmalade. I bet it was delicious! Too bad it wasn't gluten-free so you could have some too.

    Did you see this? I wonder if this dough would work for GF Chrysanthemum Bread....

  5. Oh, my word... and the filling seems to be a PERFECT idea, too!!! So pretty! This beats the monkey pull-apart bread all to dust.

  6. Filled with Cranberry Orange Marmalade. What a great idea! There are so many options for this bread. It's definitely a keeper!

  7. Perfect filling for a Christmas (or other winter holiday) breakfast! Love cranberries!

  8. Totally perfect for thanksgiving morning.
    You got a wonderfully beautiful chrysanthemum!
    This one looks like it's good for about any special day.

  9. Sweet Chrysanthemum Bread must be heavenly and it looks so beautiful.
    Oh I wish I had some right now...

  10. That's just perfect! I like the idea of a cranberry orange marmalade so it would be just the right amount of sweet.