May 9, 2017

Sfoof - Lebanese Turmeric Buns | #BreadBakers

These Sfoofs are lovely yeasted buns colored with turmeric and flavored with anise seeds, mahleb, and orange blossom water, and then studded with pistachios. 


These Sfoofs are lovely yeasted buns colored with turmeric and flavored with anise seeds, mahleb, and orange blossom water, and then studded with pistachios.

These Sfoofs are fragrant and sweet, but not overly so. When they were baking, our house was filled with an amazing aroma from the anise seeds, mahleb (also spelled mahlab), and orange blossom water in the dough.

Mahleb you ask? Evidently, it's a powder made from the ground seeds of the St. Lucy's cherry, which is found in the Mediterranean. It has been used for centuries in the Middle East as a sweet/sour, and nutty addition to breads, pastries, and cookies.

I first bought it to make this Ka'kat, a Middle Eastern snack bread, and have been looking out for more breads where mahleb is used. Most Middle Eastern groceries will have mahleb, and it can also be found online. It's worth hunting it down (says the ingredient hoarder). I think it would be a nice addition to any sweetened or enriched bread.

These Sfoofs are lovely yeasted buns colored with turmeric and flavored with anise seeds, mahleb, and orange blossom water, and then studded with pistachios.

I found this bread in Jan Mason's wonderful bread book, The Book of Buns, which includes over 50 recipes for buns and rolls from around the world. In the book, the London-based author reports that many of the Lebanese bakeries where she lives carry these.

These are an enriched bread, made with milk, eggs, and butter. They are wonderful eaten plain, or with butter and jam.

These Sfoofs are lovely yeasted buns colored with turmeric and flavored with anise seeds, mahleb, and orange blossom water, and then studded with pistachios.

This month, the #BreadBakers are baking bread with the theme "Flowers," chosen by Julie of Hostess at Heart. We could bake any bread that reminded us of flowers or Mother's Day. This sfoof recipe includes orange blossom water, which fits the theme, and if you squint, they could look like yellow roses. Right?

Note: I used an orange blossom water from Lebanon, which I found at an international market. I've also seen it at World Market. If you use the Nielsen Massey brand, be sure to use about half the amount, as it is much stronger.

After the recipe, be sure to check out the rest of the flower themed bread recipes.


Sfoof - Lebanese Turmeric Buns Recipe

Sfoof - Lebanese Turmeric Buns Recipe

Ingredients

  • 500 grams (4 cups) all purpose flour
  • 2.5 grams (1 1/4 teaspoons) instant yeast.
  • 80 grams (scant 1/2 cup) granulated sugar
  • 250 grams (1 cup) milk, scalded and cooled to room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon anise seeds
  • 2 teaspoons ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground mahleb (also spelled mahlab)
  • 1 teaspoon orange blossom water (seen note above)
  • 85 grams (6 1/2 tablespoons) butter, softened

For the glaze:

  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • pinch each of sugar and salt
  • Handful of pistachios, shelled and roughly chopped

Instructions

  1. Add the flour to the bowl of a stand mixer, and make a well in the middle. Drop the yeast and sugar into the well, and cover with the milk. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rest for one hour.
  2. Add the salt around the edge of the bowl, add the eggs, anise seeds, turmeric, mahleb, and orange blossom water. Stir the ingredients together with the dough hook, scrape down the bowl, and then knead with the dough hook for about 8 minutes.
  3. Still kneading, add the butter, one tablespoon at a time, and knead until each piece is fully incorporated before adding more. After adding all of the butter, knead for an additional 8 to 10 minutes, until you have a smooth and shiny dough. It will be fairly sticky.
  4. Let the dough rise in an oiled bowl covered with plastic wrap for two hours.
  5. Line two half sheet pans with parchment paper. Gently move the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface, and divide it into 24 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a 8 inch long rope. Take two pieces of dough, and coil them around each other, and then form them into a round, and place the shaped dough onto the parchment lined baking sheet. Keep covered with oiled plastic wrap or a dry tea towel while shaping the rest of the buns. Let rise, covered, for one hour. In the meantime, preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
  6. Just before baking, whisk together the glaze and lightly brush it over the buns. Sprinkle with the pistachios. Bake the buns, one sheet at a time, for 14 to 15 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.
Yield: 12 buns


This month's BreadBakers' theme is Mother’s Day or May Day inspired bread, hosted by Julie at Hostess At Heart. Here's what our creative bakers came up with.
#BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. You can see all our of lovely bread by following our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated after each event on the #BreadBakers home page.
We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient. If you are a food blogger and would like to join us, just send Stacy an email with your blog URL to foodlustpeoplelove@gmail.com.
BreadBakers

40 comments:

  1. Hello Karen, Your buns are so beautiful. I am so mesmerised by the colour and flavours that I would like to bake them soon. I had heard of sfouf - Lebanese Turmeric cake. This is definitely a must try.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Namita! I discovered the sfoof cake after making these. Maybe these are Lebanese via London bakeries!!

      Delete
  2. I have a pantry credit with Amazon right now...guess what I"m buying?

    ReplyDelete
  3. I have the book, and shame on me, have not baked a single bread from it yet!

    Love turmeric, and also have mahleb in my pantry -

    these turne out spectacular, Karen, what beautiful shaping! I can imagine the smell as they baked!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Sally. The photos in the book are stunning, aren't they? I've made three things from the book, and found the gram vs volume measures weren't always accurate, so I've had to make some adjustments. With this one, I cut way back on the salt, which I don't normally do, and cut back a bit on the butter. I had to adjust the hydration on the other two somewhat, but still loved the outcome.

      Delete
  4. Thank you for posting this ! I will be in a city next weekend that has a Middle Eastern market. I know what I'm going to be looking for.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh cool!!! Do look for rose and orange blossom waters too! I think the mahleb would be awesome in cinnamon rolls too! Or even challah.

      Delete
    2. Reading your comment above you talk about adjustments to this recipe. Is the recipe you posted at the top of this page with those adjustments ? I purchased the Mahleb and Orange blossom water this past weekend.

      Delete
    3. Hi Cindy,
      Yes, I did. I would keep some water on hand though to add if you find it too dry.

      Delete
  5. Karen, I think I wait all month long just to see what incredible bread you've baked. These buns are just beautiful! You've introduced me to mahleb, which I hope to try one day. Really lovely photos as usual! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Awww. Anne, you are too sweet!! Thank you!

      Delete
  6. These sfoof buns look so amazing, must try them soon.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I am going to order this because how can I sleep if I am missing out on yet another bread book??!

    You mentioned to Sally there were 2 other recipes you tweaked. Which two were they? Are you finding you need to up hydration and decrease salt in general?

    I am a fan of turmeric for its health benefits. I prefer saffron for its flavoring--not that I won't try the recipe you posted and love it, lol! Just recipe pondering here. I am wondering how the flavor of this roll would be with no turmeric? Would maglev shine more?

    Not sure whether substituting saffron for turmeric would clash with mahleb or create a tasty tweak. What do you think?

    As usual, your posts make my day!
    Cheers,
    Anne

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Anne. I know what you mean about bread books! The other recipes I tried were the Bastounakia, which is on the blog. That recipe was very wet. The other one I tried was the Shubbak el-Habayeb, which I'm posting soon. I increased the hydration quite a bit. This one was the only one that seemed too salty.

      I have a recipe on here that has saffron and turmeric, the St. Lucia Buns, and they were delicious, and another with just mahleb, the Ka'kat. Each one is different! I think that using saffron sparingly would work just fine with the mahleb.

      Delete
  8. I've never heard of Sfoof! What a great recipe, Karen. I love all the flavors in these beautiful little rolls.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Sfoof has been on my 'to do' list but can't source the mahleb here. I will try and buy it during my visit to Canada. Love the combination of flavours, orange, turmeric, mahleb, anise seeds, pistachios. Middle Eastern bakes are so flavourful.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hope you find it! I've seen various spice combos suggested as a substitute, as well as almond extract. Yes, they are sooo flavorful!

      Delete
  10. I'm not familiar with these beautiful buns or mahleb but we have great resources so will definitely have to hunt some down. Thank you for participating this month and bringing such a delicious recipe!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I wasn't either, but I'm a bread geek, as well as an ingredient nutcase. Thanks so much for hosting!

      Delete
  11. I really love the look and sound of these buns! Especially the name: Sfoof. I love everything about them except for the turmeric part.... Does it make the buns at all bitter tasting?


    (I take a turmeric/pepper/coconutoil concoction whisked into water every morning to relieve knee problems - if it weren't working, I'd stop. It tastes vile.)


    Sfoof sfoof sfoof (how is it that this name and/or this type of bun has not become universal?!)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know! Isn't the name lovely?

      The turmeric really just adds some color, but there is no bitter flavor. You could definitely cut back without sacrificing flavor, and maybe add a strand or two of saffron!

      Delete
  12. Awesome! We were surprised to see a recipe with mahleb from the States:) But then again, you are such a food connoisseuse ! :) We are very accustomed to its flavor, since we add it to tsoureki, so we know we'll LOVE these buns! We don't have orange blossom water, but we do have flower water which should give a different, but equally interesting flavor:)
    Thank you for the FANTASTIC recipe dear Karen! xoxoxo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much!! I'm always interested in new (to me) ingredients!

      Delete
  13. Beautiful , using turmeric gives a nice colour to the bread......

    ReplyDelete
  14. Wow these breads look gorgeous!! Perfectly tinted with turmeric!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is such a colorful ingredient, isn't it!

      Delete
  15. These look amazing...giving me all of the feels today!

    ReplyDelete
  16. Those rolls look amazing Karen. So perfect for this month's Bread Bakers theme. I'll have to look for Mahleb now :-)

    ReplyDelete
  17. My husband is half Lebanese and we eat a lot of Lebanese food, but I have never had these buns! I'm going to have to try this!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think the traditional version is a cake. these may be a London adaptation.

      Delete

I love comments!