Saturday, November 28, 2015

Russian Chrysanthemum Bread with the BBB

I'm so glad I was able to fit in this month's baking challenge for the BBB!  Quite often I miss out on the November and December bakes because I am just too busy making other things.  This time I actually whipped it up at the family house for day after Thanksgiving breakfast.  And, bonus, I was able to use up some of the extra cranberry sauce I made.  (Still leaving enough for leftovers of course!)  This was a lovely dough and bread and my folks had two servings each and kept the rest to eat for breakfasts later.  The original is a savory, meat filled loaf but yes, I usually go to the sweet side.  You've seen that T-shirt, "Come to the Dark Side... We have cookies."?  I love that because I am a feeder.  We ended up using a smaller pie plate since we had fewer people this year, and saving the rest of the dough for another project.  It's a great dough.  If you want to see the amazing flowering bread that the host kitchen baked, check it out at Notitie van Lien.  This sweet version was really easy to put together, the meat filling takes a bit more work, but you can also do things like a pizza flower or a pesto flower.  You can see those versions linked in the original post as well.  So here are the directions for the beautiful Chrysanthemum bread.  I used ¾ cup finely chopped pecans, ¾ cup cranberry sauce, and 2 tbsp brown sugar for my filling.  I also sprinkled the bread with coarse raw sugar after brushing with the egg glaze.  I think it would be wonderful with an icing drizzle after baking but as it was, it was lovely and not too sweet.

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 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*

(this is the filling the host kitchen used)
450 g beef mince
100 g smoked turkey, finely chopped
½ red pepper, seeds removed, chopped fine
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 shallots, chopped, glazed and cooled
1½ tsp cumin powder
½ tsp allspice
½ tsp black pepper
1 tsp paprika powder
1½ tsp dried oregano
1 tsp ground coriander seeds
80 g grated emmental cheese
± 80 ml cold water

500 g strong flour (I used 125 g white whole wheat and 375g white spelt)
7 g dry instant yeast
125 ml milk, lukewarm
125 ml kefir or yogurt (I used my mom's fresh, thick kefir and wow did the dough love it!)
1 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1 egg
90 ml olive oil

1 Tbsp milk
1 egg yolk

also needed:
1 round cookie cutter or glass (7.5 cm in diameter, or 3 inches)
large shallow pie dish 28 cm in diameter (I used a shallow 9")

Making the dough:
Mix the yeast and sugar in the lukewarm milk. Mix the kefir with the salt, egg and oil, then add the flour and yeast mixture. Knead into a supple dough. Shape into a ball and let rest in a lightly greased bowl, covered with plastic wrap. Let the dough rise for about an hour or until doubled.

Make the filling:
Glaze the chopped onion and garlic in a frying pan. Leave to cool.Mix the ingredients for the filling well (really knead it through). set aside.

Lightly grease your pie dish.

Work with about ⅓ of the dough at the time. Roll it out to a thickness of about 3 mm, cover with lightly greased plastic wrap and let the dough rest for about 10 minutes. This way the dough will be relaxed and won’t shrink when cutting the rounds.

Cut out rounds with a glass or cookie cutter. Place 1 Tbsp of filling on each round, spread it out, leaving about ½ cm free around the border and sprinkle with some cheese. Fold the circle in half, and fold the two point 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. Make three half circles, fill and place them in a line ⅓ overlapping and roll them up (flat side down) and place this in the middle. Cover with lightly greased plastic foil and leave to rest and rise for about 45 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 180ºC (350ºF)

Whisk egg yolk and milk for the glaze and brush the bread with it. Place the bread in the oven on a rack and bake for 25 minutes. Lower the temperature to 170ºC (325º) and bake for another 10-15 minutes until golden.

When the loaf is done, take it out of the oven and the tin, place on a wire rack and brush with some melted butter.  Let cool or eat lukewarm.

(adapted from:

*The spice mix in one of the recipes was “kmeli-suneli”, a spice mix from Georgia (not in the US, but a small land stuck between Turkey (not the bird) and Russia). I found a recipe that you could make yourself: all herbs/spices are dry:

2 tsp each of marjoram, dill, mint, parsley, coriander seeds, marigold flower petals and summer savory
1 tsp each of fenugreek leaves, black pepper, fenugreek seeds
2 laurel leaves 

Grind them all in a coffee/spice grinder, sieve and it’s ready to use.

But you can use any kind of ready spice mix or your own mixture!


  1. I love it Kelly! Perfect vehicle for your filling!

  2. That's so pretty, especially the picture of the unbaked "flower'. :)

  3. Kelly you made a wonderful loaf. I love it how that red, festive filling is visible in all the petals, making it look even more like a flower. Thanks for baking with us!!!

  4. Cranberry filling!! I love it! And how beautiful it makes the bread too.

    Ha! I love the shirt with "come to the dark side..." I want one!

  5. Of all my filling ideas I don't understand how I missed this one. Super good.


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