This traditional braided bread is especially popular at Easter.
- 14 g (2 x 7 g sachets) dried yeast
- 330 g (1½ cups) caster sugar
- 1 kg plain flour
- ½ tsp ground mahleb (see Note)
- 250 ml (1 cup) canola oil
- 5 eggs, lightly beaten, plus 1 extra, to glaze
- cheddar cheese, to serve (optional)
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
You will need to rest the dough overnight, and for another hour after shaping.
1. Combine yeast, 1 tbsp of the sugar, 1 tbsp salt and 125 ml lukewarm water. Set aside for 10 minutes or until mixture bubbles.
2. Sift flour with mahleb into a bowl and make a well in the centre. Pour yeast mixture, oil, eggs and remaining 310 g sugar into the well. Mix for 5 minutes or until a soft dough forms.
3. Place dough in a greased stockpot, cover with a lid, then wrap stockpot tightly in a blanket. Stand in a warm, draught-free place overnight or until dough triples in size.
4. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 10 minutes or until dough is smooth and elastic. Divide into 6 and roll out to 30 cm logs.
5. Preheat oven to 160°C. Lay 3 logs side by side and pinch together at one end to seal. Plait logs, then tuck the ends under to seal. Repeat with remaining 3 logs and place on 2 lined oven trays. Set aside in a warm, draught-free place for a further hour or until doubled in size.
6. Brush choregs with the extra beaten egg and bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes or until golden brown. Serve with cheddar cheese, if desired.
• Ground mahleb (also known as mahlepi), from Middle Eastern food shops and selected delis, is an aromatic, fruity spice made from the ground stones of the St Lucie cherry. Substitute an alternative flavouring such as mastic or cardamom.
As seen in Feast magazine, Issue 9, p 73. Photography by Derek Swalwell