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Nov 16, 2015

Chrysanthemum Bread with Sausage, Pepperoni, and Mozzarella Cheese

Chrysanthemum Bread with Sausage, Pepperoni, and Mozzarella Cheese

My version of this Chrysanthemum Bread probably doesn't make you immediately think "that looks just like a flower!" It did look like a flower at one point, but then I tossed a handful of grated mozzarella on top just before placing the carefully shaped bread in the oven. What else was I going to do with leftover cheese?

It was well worth the sacrifice to get those glorious and tasty bits of crispy and oozy cheese.

Chrysanthemum Bread with Sausage, Pepperoni, and Mozzarella Cheese

This month, the Bread Baking Babes are baking Chrysanthemum Bread. The bread is originally from Georgia (the country between Russia and Turkey, not the state between Alabama and South Carolina). We were challenged by Lien of Notitie Van Lien to make this decorative bread.

She gave us a recipe for a soft, enriched dough that was really easy to work with. She also gave us a recipe for a traditional Georgian savory filling of beef, onion, spices, and cheese. She then added the magic words, "you can make up your own savory filling..."  At this point, my mind goes magically to pizza.

Chrysanthemum Bread with Sausage, Pepperoni, and Mozzarella Cheese

I've been obsessing about Detroit pizza ever since I picked up a copy of The Pizza Bible. I've had every intention of making this pizza every weekend, but something seems to always get in the way. Enter this Chrysanthemum Bread!

I kind of think of this bread as Georgian Chrysanthemum bread meets Detroit style pizza. Detroit style pizza is basically a super cheesy thick crust pizza baked in a pan and topped with hot pizza sauce after it emerges from the oven. The dough for this bread is soft and tender, and does not resemble pizza crust, yet the resulting bread is seriously tasty.. and it works!! I heated up my favorite pizza sauce and used it as a dip for this bread, and it was soooo delicious.

For my fellow "leftover pizza for breakfast" aficionados, this nails it.

I had some trouble getting the dough to relax, and the flower petals kept popping open after filling them. Clearly, I was meant to make rustic breads. It kind of reminded me of my attempt to make this brioche flower, another Bread Baking Babes challenge. P.S. My cakes are "rustic" too. Just saying.

I used a 9 inch pie pan for this bread, which is a little too small, and the reason why a row of chrysanthemum "petals" are missing (plus I had quite a bit of leftover dough). If you have an 11 inch pie plate or pan, definitely use it.

For some amazing photos of the shaping of this bread, as well as a traditional Georgian filling, visit Lien's post, or the original post in Russian.  My only other deviation from the original recipe was to use sour cream instead of the yogurt in the dough.

Chrysanthemum Bread with Sausage, Pepperoni, and Mozzarella Cheese



500 grams bread flour
7 grams instant yeast (I used SAF Gold)
125 ml milk (I used 2% milk) at 95 to 105 degrees F
125 grams (by weight) sour cream
1 tbsp sugar
1 generous tsp salt
1 large egg
90 ml olive oil
1 to 2 tbsp water


12 ounces of bulk Italian sausage
About 3 to 4 ounces pepperoni, cut into small slivers
170 grams mozzarella cheese, grated


Warm tomato sauce of your choice for dipping


  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer add all of the dough ingredients and mix on low until incorporated. 
  2. Knead the dough on second speed for about 7 to 9 minutes, until you have a soft, tacky dough. I had to add about 2 tablespoons of water. 
  3. Form the dough into a ball and place it into an oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise for about an hour, until doubled. 
  4. While the dough is rising, sauté the sausage in a large frying pan for about five to seven minutes, breaking it into pieces, until browned and cooked through. 
  5. Cut the risen dough into thirds. Roll each piece very thinly, and cover with plastic wrap. Let rest for 10 minutes. 
  6. Using a 3 to 3 1/2 inch round cookie cutter, cut the dough, one at a time, into circles. 
  7. Place about 1 tbsp of the sausage in the center of each circle of the dough. Sprinkle with some pepperoni and cheese. Fold the circle in half, and then fold the points of the crescent together. Place this petal in the pie dish, on the outer border so the curvy part of the crescent faces up and the first fold is on the bottom of the pan. 
  8. Continue to cut and fill circles of dough. You should end up with three circles in the pan if you have an 11 inch pan (see note below). 
  9. Fill the center with three half circles overlapping each other and then rolled up like a rose flower, as demonstrated by Lien's post
  10. Cover the bread with plastic wrap and let rise for about 45 minutes. 
  11. Preheat the oven to 355 degrees F.
  12. Place the pie dish in the oven on the middle rack, and bake for 25 minutes. Then lower the temperature to 340 degrees F and bake for another 10 to 15 minutes, until golden. You can lightly tent with foil if the cheese gets too dark. 
  13. Serve while still warm. I served mine with tomato sauce for dipping. Refrigerate any leftovers. They can easily be reheated. Just wrap loosely with foil and reheat in a 325 degree oven for about 15 to 20 minutes. 
Note: I found that if I placed the petals in the pan without something to place it next to, it just popped open, and spilled the contents into the pie plate. I found it easier to shape enough petals for each row before placing them in the pie plate. I placed them on their sides and covered them with plastic wrap and held them down with light plate so they wouldn't pop open. Once I had enough for an entire circle, I placed them in the pan. It's a bit of work, but the bread is amazing.

Would you like to comment?

  1. Pizza flavours! you can't go wrong there! I love how the juices bubble up through the dough. This might be a winner for my next loaf! Fantastic

  2. Looks nice and delicious! Would be such a great party snack!

  3. Karen, your bread looks fabulous! I made a pizza version as well, but your fillings look divine! Love the cheese and sauce on top.

  4. Magically turns to pizza ... yes I say this one nails it. I'm great for breakfast pizza.
    You had left over dough ... what did you do. I did some little bites for dinner ... and breakfast.

    1. We made little pepperoni and cheese filled bites =)

  5. I think your bread looks like a flower! It looks like a flower that has been pollinated by zillions and zillions of bees that are already overloaded with pollen.

    And it also looks fabulous! .Mmm pizza-flavoured Chrysanthemums for breakfast.... Yes, please!

  6. Karen this bread looks fabulous. You all live in a universe far far away (and so much better) than my measly bread making skill world. I'm so inspired to get better at it and make this bread!

    1. I think you would really enjoy it! And I'm sure with your cooking skills, there is no doubt in my mind you will create great bread. Give it a go!! I'll talk you through it!

  7. Clearly this is a fabulous flower, a cheesy wonder and the best pizza ever for keeping some for of my favorite ways to eat pizza. Love your photos Karen!

  8. Once again you choose the path of sacrifice in the name of higher gastronomy.... There is simply no end to your altruism....

    this looks simply spectacular.... I am so hungry right now, I could take care of many petals of this flower if I had a chance....

  9. Sausage AND pepperoni? You ate it all, didn't you.... I bet you didn't save any for us Babes in the back of the room! (and we have wine)

  10. Absolutely stunning Karen. Gorgeous bread, would be fabulous with a glass of wine!

  11. This is gorgeous! Can't wait to make it. :-)

  12. It looks like a flower to me still. :)
    Great flavours and that's what really matters in the end.


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