Sweet Milk Bread (Shirin Chorek)

Do you see yellow in the picture? I mean the beautiful yellow inside the slice of bread?

Don’t rush to blame photoshop for this. The poor thing is not to blame (at least not completely) and does not deserve a possible “color enhancement” accusation. It’s all because of turmeric. The power spice is blame as I happened to add it to the dough of this bread I made a couple of days ago. Not only did the turmeric add a nice yellowish tone to the  bread but it also added a surprising flavor to it, yes, surprising, as you would never guess there is turmeric in it, a very subtle flavor, one that is blending incredible gently with the sweetness of the sugar and the milk. No, turmeric was not an accident in the dough. It was supposed to be there, in the recipe for one of the most popular dessert breads of Azerbaijan.

Meet shirin chorek, or sweet bread, also known as sud choreyi, or milk bread (note that I’ve combined the two names to arrive at a new name, which I think conveys the gist of the bread much better). In the past this unusual bread was mostly baked on holidays such as Novruz or Ramadan, but nowadays Azerbaijanis don’t wait for a special occasion to indulge in this delectable bread – they bake it any time they feel like to, which also applies to me.

Shirin chorek can be prepared with either baking soda- or yeast-leavened dough. I personally prefer the latter as it yields a softer bread and one that keeps fresh for longer. Out of several shirin chorek recipes that I have, I particularly like one by my friend Gullu. Gullu was generous enough to share her old family recipe with the readers of her web site, and I am grateful to her for allowing me to share it with you.

Enjoy shirin chorek with a cup of strong black tea as Azerbaijanis would typically do. Or, if you are not into tea as much as Azerbaijanis are, enjoy it as a snack, for no reason at all. Just so. It is good. And subtly sweet. And Milky. And Yellow.

Sweet Milk Bread
(Shirin Chorek)
Adapted from here

Makes 2 breads

1 package (1/4 oz / 2 ¼ teaspoons) active dry yeast
2 cups warm milk, divided
6 +  1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 ¾ cups sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 egg, at room temperature
7 oz (200 g) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 egg, to glaze
1 teaspoon poppy seeds

In a small bowl, dissolve the yeast in 1 cup milk and let stand for 5 minutes. Put the flour in a large mixing bowl. Add the sugar, salt, and turmeric powder. Stir to mix. Make a well in the center. Add the yeast mixture, the remaining milk, egg, and melted butter to the well. Stir with your hands until a sticky ball forms. Scrape the dough onto a flat surface and knead until elastic. The dough will appear to be very sticky in the beginning, but it will come together nicely and will be less sticky as you knead. The final dough should not be very tight, so don’t be tempted to add more flour unless the dough is still very sticky.

Shape the dough into a ball and put it back in the bowl. Cover the bowl with a plastic wrap or a kitchen towel and leave the dough to rise in a warm spot for about 1 ½-2 hours, or until doubled in bulk.

Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

Punch the dough down and divide it into 2 equal pieces. Pat them into balls. Place the balls on your working surface and using your hands, flatten them into disks 9 inches (22 cm) in diameter and ½ inch (1.2 cm) thick.

Arrange the disks on the baking sheets. Cover the bread with a clean kitchen towel and leave aside for 1 hour, until they rise again.

Preheat the oven to 375F (190C).

Stir the egg to mix the white and the yolk, and brush the breads with this mixture. Decorate the surface of the breads by tracing cross-hatching patterns with the back of the fork tines, 4 times in each direction, each time at an equal distance from one another.

Sprinkle with poppy seeds. Bake on the middle rack of the oven until golden, 30 to 35 minutes (if your oven doesn’t fit two baking sheets on one rack, place one sheet on the lower rack, and another on the top rack, bake for 15 minutes, then switch and bake until ready). Remove from the oven. Allow to cool completely, then cut into pieces and serve. Nush Olsun!


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  1. The bread looks so good and I love that it’s eaten with black tea! I’ll be bookmarking this for future baking.

  2. A marvelous bread. It reminds me of a Swiss bread I particularly love. http://rosas-yummy-yums.blogspot.com/2008/10/cuchaule-world-bread-day-2008.html



  3. Wonderful cream, sweetness and crunchiness from the poppy seeds all at once!

  4. Nice bread. I love the soft and moist cakes with poppy seeds. I am a silent reader of your blog. This cake makes me come out of the shell. Delicious.

  5. Cool the link to whenre you adapted it from is in Russian… I now have some browsing and reading to do. The bread looks delicious 🙂

  6. We get savoury and spicy bread rolls here that have turmeric in them but I’ve never seen turmeric in a sweet bread before.
    This looks lovely.

  7. Yummy it looks deliciously fresh, I can even smell.

  8. What a beautiful bread!

  9. Feride, this is beautiful! The yellow color is adorable! Wish I could get a slice from it now!

  10. nice bread indeed, but how many eggs do we need?? there is one egg for the glaze… besides you have mentioned another egg to be mixed with bread batter. i’m confused, how many is required overall?! though in the ingredients, only one egg is mentioned!!!!
    thanks farida…

  11. TARLAN: 2 eggs total – 1 for the dough, 1 for the glaze. Both are mentioned in the recipe.

  12. Beautiful bread.
    Thanks Farida

  13. oh, u r right! i missed the one in the ingredients!!!
    THANKS 🙂

  14. I’ve bookmarked this to make sometime. I love the yellow colour, the turmeric makes it so rich looking. The design with the fork – so cool!

  15. Farida-khanum,

    Vash shirin corek vigladit SUPER. A u menya ne poluchilos :(. Ya sledovala vsem punktam vashego recepta. No u menya: 1. ne podoshlo testo; 2. kogda ispekla – vnutri testo ne propeklos. Bilo vlasjnim.

    Takoye razocharovaniye…

    I spent so much energy ot it. Devoted my Sunday waiting for the dough to double in size. This bread was supposed to be send to school to represent Azerbaijani milk bread in UK primary school. Unfortunately, something did not work.

    Skajite pojaluysta, gde bila moya oshibka.

    Vash sayt mne ochen nravitsya. Keep it up!

    waiting for your reply.

  16. NARMIN: I am so sorry about your bread:( I am not sure what might have gone wrong. Was your dough nice and soft before you put it aside to rise? Did you let it sit in a warm place? The dough should rise, maybe not dramatically as the dough is heavy, but it should rise. Vnutri testo bilo vlajnim potomu chto ono ne podoslo. Please give me more details. Sorry again.

  17. A wonderful bread!!

  18. I love sweet bread and yours looks incredible!

  19. Farida-khanum, Ya ispolzovala strong bread flour, 2,5 chay. lojki drojji + 1 chashka teplogo moloka, pomeshala i polojila na 5 minut v storonu, kak vi napisali. Otdelno smeshala muku, pesok, sari kok, sol, potom v seredinku dobavila drojji, 1 chashka moloka, maslo slivoochnoye i pomeshala. Testo bilo ochen lipkim i mne kazalos, chto nehvatayet muki. Otlojila 2 chasa, na kuhne. Ne mogu skazat bilo li ochen teplo, tak kak snachala stoyalo na poddokonnike, a potom ya otkrila okno, pozabiv o teste. Odnako, ves ostavshiysya den testo nahodilos ryadom s plitoy, pokritoye chaynim polotencem :). Mojet u menya opita ne hvatilo na drojjevoye testo, ono ved’ kapriznoye :(. No nishego, mojet v sleduyuschiy raz poluchitsya. Spasibo za sait i otvet. Udachi 🙂

  20. looks like a cake at first look! this sounds amazing to me, must try someday! adore the sunshine color of the turmeric in your bread.

  21. Thanks dear Farida for delicious recipes.

  22. Dear Farida xanum, thanks a lot for the recipy of my favorite bread . My british neighbours lked it very much 🙂

  23. Thank you so much for posting! I used to make something similar years ago but lost the recipe and have been searching ever since! I’m making this right away!!!

  24. Hai Fraida,

    Today i prepared this Bread. Awesome taste and my husband liked it a lot. While baking, the bread’s smell was awesome and made my mouth watery. First i had my doubts about my dough bcoz it didnt raise as u mentioned. It didnt raise at all. I thought i screwed it. I even thought of throwing out. But decided to have fun making different shapes out of the dough. After baking oh my god, bread came out soft and tasty. Outer it was golden brown and shiny and inner it was so soft and yellow. You made my day. thanks for this recipe. This is the third recipe of yours im trying. Everything came out very nice. Im planning to prepare tiramisu for christmas. Your blog is my favorite. Keep rocking.

  25. Dear Farida,
    Thank you for the nice receipt. The bread I have backed is so delicious, even though I have screwed up the milk but anyway it tastes great 🙂

  26. I will give a try to this one today. So hard to make a mind, so many irresistible recipes 🙂 Thank you for sharing, Feride. You are A m a z i n g !

  27. Thanks for the delicious recipe! I kept one loaf and gave the other to a friend who’s studying for a big exam. Perfect study food! Like a few others, I had a hard time getting the dough to rise at first, but I think it was because my kitchen was too cold. After about 45 minutes with no visible change, I put the dough directly in front of a heating vent, and it started rising right away. The final product was pretty dense, but I like that in sweet breads.

  28. hi
    do u hav ethe recipie of sheermal .or Masa bread.if yes please post it.thanx

  29. I just made this for my son’s class. They are representing Azerbaijan for the school olympics! It turned out great and the kids loved it. I kept expecting saffron flavor when I bit into it. Might add some next time! 🙂

  30. This recipe is very accurate. Thank you Farida for sharing with us.

  31. Farida, thanks so much for the recipe. I baked it yesterday evening, it turned out so nice and delicious, we loved it. I will send you the photo on facebook.

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