Saturday, March 24, 2012

Tahini Bread, a Lenten Pastry

In my post about Michink - Median Day of Lent,  I received the following comment:

‘Good Morning - I was hoping you have a recipe for Tahn Hatz to share. The only recipe I have is for massive amounts for Bake Sale purposes. I'm not good at breaking down the amounts to make a dozen or two. Any information would be appreciated. Thanks!’
Tahini Bread (Tahin Hatz)

I took the request to mean ‘Tahin” Hatz or Tahini Bread, so here is a recipe that can easily be made for a family.
Tahini Bread, a Lenten Pastry
Yield: 6 (5 inch) spiral breads

Dough Ingredients:
1 pkg. dry granular yeast
1 tsp. sugar
¼ cup lukewarm water (105° -110° F)

1 cup lukewarm milk, (105° -110° F)
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1 tsp. salt
2 eggs, beaten
4 to 4 ½ cups all-purpose flour, sifted (Note: Keep extra flour on hand – just in case!)

Dough Directions:
1. Place the yeast and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Gradually stir in ¼ cup lukewarm water until yeast is dissolved.
2. To the yeast mixture, add the milk, melted butter, salt, and beaten eggs.
3. Gradually add 4 cups of the sifted flour, mixing to create a stiff dough. (NOTE: if dough is too soft, add the rest of the flour. If dough is too dry, add some water to achieve the correct consistency.) Robyn’s note: I actually used closer to 5 cups of flour.

4. Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface; knead until well-blended. Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl, turning dough so the entire surface is oiled. Cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap, then cover bowl with a large towel. Allow dough to rise about 2 hours, or until doubled in bulk.)
5. Cut dough into 6 equal balls. Lightly oil each ball of dough to prevent drying; place on a lightly floured tray. Cover dough with a clean towel; allow to rest for about 15 minutes. At this time, prepare the tahini filling.

Tahini Filling Ingredients:
2 cups tahini, well-stirred
1 cup powdered sugar (Note: if you'd like a  slightly sweeter pastry, add about 1/4 cup more powdered sugar)
½ tsp. cinnamon, optional

Filling Directions:
Mix together the tahini, powdered sugar, and cinnamon, if using until well-blended and free of lumps. Set aside until ready to use.

Robyn’s Notes: 1. Filling can be made ahead of time. 2. If filling is too thin, it can be thickened by stirring in a few tablespoons of flour.

Rolling and Shaping the Dough:
1. Using a rolling pin, roll one ball of dough at a time on a lightly floured work surface into a 10-inch circle, about 1/8 inch thick.

2. Thinly spread one sixth of tahini filling onto the rolled dough almost to the edge. Using your hands, roll the dough away from you, in a jellyroll fashion  until it becomes an elongated rope. Holding each end of the rope, turn in opposite directions, giving it a twist.
3. Shape the elongated rope into a spiral, tucking the ends underneath so they will not separate during baking.

4. Place the spiraled dough onto a lightly greased baking pan.
5. Continue steps 1-4 with the rest of the dough and filling ingredients.
Robyn’s Note: All six breads should fit onto one baking pan.

Glazing and Garnishing Ingredients:
1 egg mixed with 1 to 2 Tbsp. water

Garnish: toasted sesame seeds, optional
Glazing and Baking:
1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Beat together one egg and 1 to 2 Tbsp. water. Brush the top of each tahini bread with egg wash. Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds, if desired.
3. Preheat oven. Place tray on the center rack. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until tops are a lovely golden brown.
4. Cool completely on a wire rack.
5. Serve with piping hot coffee or freshly brewed tea, and fresh fruit.
6. Store in a thightly covered container. Breads should last for several days at room temperature. To freeze, wrap each bread in plastic wrap and place in a plastic freezer bag or plastic container.


  1. eggs, butter for lenten..??

  2. Some people aren't as strict as others when it comes to following Lenten food restrictions. For some this recipe would be acceptable to eat during Lent, for others it would not.

  3. if the eggs and butter are a problem for some, the vegans use substitutions, for example eggs can be replaced by ground flaxseeds mixed with water, and butter perhaps with oil or margarine?

    1. There are variants of this recipe that are vegan (and therefore conform to the Armenian Lenten rules). When I look at the final product (in the slide show), it looks a little too "puffy". The version that I am used to is flatter and has more of a gritty/flaky texture. See for instance this link: In my opinion, the "Bible" of Armenian vegetarian cooking is Alice Antreassian's excellent cookbook, "Classic Armenian Recipes: Cooking Without Meat" (out of print but available used on Amazon). Though not without its problems (she sometimes mixes regional variants), it is still amazing.

  4. Hello
    I used to buy something like this, but the tahini was not part of a filling, it must have been mixed with the flourm milk butter etc. It had the same coiled shape, though. Do you know what I'm talking about?

    1. You're probably referring to Katah (gata) which is sometimes made with a flour and butter filling, and can be shaped into a coil. Take a look in the first recipe list on the website for 'Katah with Filling' to see if that one offers the general idea.

  5. Thanks for the suggestion, but it was not katah. Consistency was between bread and cake, all ingredients had been mixed together (as in cake,cookies, or muffins). It did not have a filling, though it did have the same pinwheel shape that many filled pastries, like cinnamon buns,

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