The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Caucasian Bread

guro's picture

Caucasian Bread

Love this blog and just wanted to share one of my latest creations.

This beautiful braided bread is made with a rich straight dough, layers of pesto and a generous sprinkle of Sumac. 

I made this bread a couple of months ago.  This bread is tender, rich, nutty, salty (evoo, toasted pine nuts and parmesan) and a little sour (Sumac).  This bread requires moderate braiding skills, time and attention.

I have been baking for quite some time now.  I love bread making.  I will gladly post the recipe if someone will show any interest.  I need to translate the recipe into English.


I hope I did a good job translating.  I will be making this bread again in about two weeks.  I will take notes and improve on my writing if needed.

1 loaf

Set oven to 210c (410F)


Baking Pan - 26cm (10") springform (no bottom), take a piece of parchment paper and crimp tightly around the bottom of the springform, oil the sides.  Place on top of a baking sheet.  Set aside.

Pesto - I use evoo, basil, toasted pine nuts, parmesan (consistency should be not too thin and not too thick). Keep refrigerated until needed.

Sumac - for sprinkling


Dough ingredients:

AP Flour 600g (21oz)

Fresh Yeast 28g (1oz)

Sugar 10g (0.35oz)

Salt 10g (0.35oz)

Canola Oil 50cc (1.7 fl oz)

White Vinegar 1 tbls

Water 300cc (10 fl oz) this is approximate


Add all ingredients to a mixing bowl, add the water carefully as you start mixing.  Use the

dough hook 2-3 mins. on low speed and 2-3 mins. on medium speed.  Dough should be

supple and not sticky to the touch.  Add water or flour if dough is too stiff or too loose


When dough is ready, spray a bowl with oil and gently put the dough in the bowl.  Spray a

little more oil on top and cover.  Let rise (80%).  My kitchen was at about 22c (72F), 35-45%

humidity and proofing was about 40 minutes.

Lightly flour a work bench or a large table.  Put the dough on top and flatten gently with

your hands.  Use a floured rolling pin to roll out the dough to a very thin circle, as thin as you

can.  When rolling out the dough, try not to lift and move it too much.  You can try and

gently pull the dough to stretch it thin (like bakers do with Strudel dough), this requires some skill.

Apply a thin layer of pesto on top of the dough (leave the edge clear 1/4").  Sprinkle Sumac

generously on top of the layer of pesto.

Slowly, tightly and very gently roll the dough into a roulade (pinwheel ).  You will now have a

very long roulade .  Take a sharp chef's knife (not a serrated knife) and cut (not saw) the

roulade lengthwise trying to keep the knife in the middle so you end up with two equal parts

(you can cut down from the seam but it is not make or break).

Place the two halves crossing each other (open roulade layers facing up) to create and X

shape.  Gently pick up the two ends of the bottom half, cross them over the top half, and

place them back down.  Continue this process, taking the two bottom ends and crossing

them over the top until all the roulade has been used.  You now have a two strand rope

shape.  If for some reason some of the open roulade layers are pointing down or sideways,

carefully turn them so they are facing up.  Gently pinch the ends to seal.

Look at the braid.  If one end looks a little thinner make that your starting point.  If not, just

start from either end.  Slowly and very gently, roll the braid sideways (horizontally) without

lifting your hands from the table.  You should keep those open roulade layers facing up.

Pinch the end delicately.  The end result should look like a giant snail shell or a very large

cinnamon bun.

Lightly sprinkle Sumac on top of the braided loaf.

Carefully pick up the braid and place in the prepared springform.  Keep it flat on the parchment.  The

 bottom of the braid should set nicely.  Cover.

Let rise until the braid hits three quarters the way up the springform.  In my kitchen conditions it

proofed for a little over 30 mins.


Bake at 210c (410F) for 5-10 mins., lower oven to 180c (355F) and bake for another 20-30 mins.

Their should be a decent amount of oven spring.  The bread should rise above the springform edge.

When the bread is out of the oven lightly brush evoo on top and sides.  Let cool on a rack.


plevee's picture

I would not only like the recipe, I'd like to know how you braided it and how you got the "stripes" on the braids.

It looks delicious!   Patsy

nicodvb's picture


your bread is spectacular! Can you plst the recipe, please?

guro's picture

I will try and post the recipe this weekend.

LindyD's picture

Very nice braiding; I, too, would like to hear about  your technique.

InBread's picture


I'm sorry, sometimes I think my mind works at a lower level than 'normal' folks ;-) When I saw 'Caucasian Bread" in the RSS feed I was sure I was about to read a recipe for:

Wonder Bread

I'll try to explain that sometime, but it involves a friend who once asked, "Do you know why they call it Wonder Bread...It's because it's a wonder they can call it bread". Although those words did not have an immediate effect, it did  play a large role in developing my interest in baking bread.  The sad fact is a majority of Amercans only interaction with bread involes a substance  similar to Wonder Bread. While I'm 99% certain my skill level is far below that required to bake this particlar  bread to look like the photo, I look forward to trying to make it taste right. Would the sumac used in this recipe be the same as what is used in some Indian recipes? Is that sumac different than what grows wild on the prairies of the middle America? 

Oh, Oh, Oh...I just realized the title might infer a connection to the Caucasus mountains of Eurasia instead of 'white' bread...but did they have parmasan cheese in the Caucasus mountains? Please connect the dots...thanks.






guro's picture

Caucasus mountains of Eurasia is exactly where this bread comes from.  Where I live there are large communities of people from the Georgian (Republic) and Azerbaijan  (I currently do not reside in the US).  This bread is usually baked for special occasions.

Parmesan, not in the Caucasus mountains, adding Pesto is my twist.  This bread is traditionally made with either seasoned ground beef/lamb, mixed herbs/oil made into a paste or crumbled Caucasian cheese/herbs.

The Sumac I use comes from Persia (Iran).

I am sure that with care and attention just about anyone can make this bread look like the photo.  When I post the recipe, I will do my best to describe how to get that braid right.

I don't know if I connected the dots but this is all I got


breadsong's picture

Dear Guro, Your loaf is one of the nicest looking I've ever seen. I too am most interested in your recipe and braiding method. Thank you for sharing this loaf from your part of the world, and for your efforts in translating the recipe into English for all of us!  Regards, breadsong

tao_of_dough's picture

Thank you so much for posting this!  I LOVE it anytime anyone posts a traditional bread, celebration bread, family recipe, something from their childhood...

I am really looking forward to your post this weekend! 

reddragon's picture

I too would appreciate the recipe. And it would be a lot of fun if you could post pictures of the various stages of the process.

When it's made with ground meat, is the meat worked into the dough? Layered? Sounds fascinating.


Nikkito's picture

Not only do I want the Pesto version (as a friend said to me once "Pesto is the Best-o!") but the meat version sounds wonderful too!!  Could you please post both, or link a place where I could find it.  Oh man..  Now I'm hungry!

margieluvschaz's picture

It is beautiful, I can't wait to try it! Thank you for sharing = )


martynelaine's picture

looks and sounds great. please can we have both recipes to try. will try them on a ukranian friend as well.


Virtus's picture

Thank you, thank you! I am really looking forward to trying this recipe. Thank you so much for taking the time to translate it for us! It looks so good, not sure about the twisting part, but its worth a try!

amauer's picture

I just took mine out of the oven and it is wonderful and lovely by my meager standards, but need some work on my braids. Still not a bad first effort! I can't wait to try it. I didn't have any sumac, so I substituted dill weed. I see I can buy it on Penzeys.

How would you think this dough work for the same idea, but a sweet bread, like a cinnamon loaf? Thanks so much for the terrific recipe. I needed a sucess after a few sourdough failures of late. My son asked where my last loaves were and I asked if he noticed some bread at the end of our driveway for the birds....Andrea

guro's picture


I am happy the bread worked for you and did not end up as bird food (or as a speed bump ;)) on your driveway.

Wow, no Sumac........I am thinking what I would sub? (did not even think about giving alternatives).  How did the dill work?

I never used this dough with a sweet filling.  It might be worth a try. 


plevee's picture

Thanks very much for the recipe - it looks a little beyond my skill level but I'll wait for your next posting, perhaps with photos of the shaping?  Patsy

guro's picture

I will be making this bread soon.  I will take photos and post them.

amauer's picture

I followed the verbal directions and somehow I got it close. Not perfect, but very pretty! I shaped it like Challah only you move it in a circle as you go and when you get to two, I just twisted them and ended it somewhat under the edge. I was very happy with the taste even though I had no sumac. My opinion is that this dough is rich enough to use for a cinnamon braid and intend to try it this weekend. I will let you know how it turns out as it would be great for a Holiday as well. I think I will use the posted recipe for Thanksgiving and make it a little more cultural rather than my usual Butterhorn rolls. Andrea

guro's picture


I am happy you liked the bread enough to use it as a butterhorn substitution :).  I did my best to describe the braiding process.  I will post photos in the next week or two.

amauer's picture

I wish I had a digital camera, but you will just have to believe me. I made the same bread today, only the filling was butter, Vietnamese cinnamon, cardamom, sugar and raisins. It is not as pretty as my first one, but I drizzled the glaze over it back and forth and it is very nice. I will let me son be the judge of taste as he is the cinnamon roll lover. The heavier ingredients made it harder to keep the open ends upright. I had white and WW sourdough that turned out well today too. However, my David Lebovitz ginger cake stuck in the pan when I turned it out. After it cooled I topped it with cinnamon whipped cream to cover the issue. Andrea

guro's picture

I am happy this recipe is working out for you!

Last week I made two breads.  First, tahini and Kalamata oilve (poolish), nice!  Second, rich dough, crumbled Sirene (Bulgarian white brine cheese), shredded Kashkaval, parsley and leek.  I rolled the dough thin, mixed all the above ingredients and put a nice layer on the top of the dough.  I rolled a roulade and then I sliced it thick.  I took the rolls and put them in a spring form.  The final product looked like a bed of roses.  Incredible!

Happy baking! 

evastanger's picture

Dear guro, your bread looks fantastic, and I'm intrigued by the tahini and Kalamata bread, can you give some details about that one? I would deeply appreciate it.


bakerjane's picture

Guro...beautiful, interesting bread: another use for the jar of sumac in my pantry! Thank you! I too am very interested in your poolish bread with tahini and Kalamata olives. When you have time, like Eva, I would love the details. Also, thank you for  the time and effort of you spend, putting your excellent commentary into English.             Jan

guro's picture

I apologize.  I made the Caucasian bread a few days ago and I completely forgot about grabbing my camera.  Life is hectic and I travel frequently.  Sorry!

guro's picture

6 tbls evoo

5 med. onions (white or yellow/finely chopped)

1 kg. (2.2 lbs)  ground fatty lamb meat (or mix fatty lamb and ground beef 15%)

1 tbls caraway seeds

1 tbls b. pepper (ground)

1/2 cup chopped parsley

Salt to taste


Heat oil, add onions and carmelize.  Add the meat(s) and the rest of the ingredients.  Do not over cook.  Drain the fat the best you can.  Done!


breadsong's picture

Hi there guro,

I tried following your instructions to make a sweet version of your bread recently. This was a lot of fun to try.
I came across this shaping method tonight on youtube; I thought of your shaping instructions and thought there were similarities, up until the point where Mr. Hitz cuts pieces to fit to the pans:

I hope you like the video. This shaping method is what I tried to do to when making my loaf.  I think I need to roll thinner to achieve all the nice layers that you did. I can't wait to try one of your savory versions!

Regards, breadsong



guro's picture

Thanks for the video.  You are correct, the method is similar except the way it is finished.  I hope people find it helpful!

Nikkito's picture


I really just wanted to tell you that I made your bread yesterday for the first time, and while it didn't look perfect, everyone loved it.  Even my 4 year old, who is super picky about my homemade breads asked me to make it every day for him.  This is seriously going to go in my monthly bread rotation.  Thank you SO much for sharing.  It was quite the tasty treat to deviate from our normal bread routine.  :)

guro's picture

I am really happy you enjoyed the recipe.  I just finished baking two loaves of a bread I really like.  This bread has a healthy amount of yogurt (sheep), honey and molasses..........

roselevyberanbaum's picture

this is such a stunning bread! the comment about wonder bread reminds me of what dear michael batterberry of food arts magazine (sadly recently deceased) said when he tasted my soft white bread loaf: "this is what wonder bread in its soul really wanted to be!

guro's picture

I love your work!

Candango's picture

Guro,  When I lived for a year in Tbilisi (about eight years ago), I fell in love with the Georgian breads cooked in wood-fired ovens.  One was "Dedas Puri", if I remember correctly. (Mother's Bread?).  Another "puri", the name of which I cannot remember, was a flat bread with a unique shape, having what appeared to be "ears" on the side.  By any chance to you have any recipes or shaping tecniques for them?  Thanks


guro's picture


I am not Georgian but just like you, I love Georgian bread.  I will have to learn the techniques and get the recipes when I am back in that region (that will take some time).  I travel frequently and right now I am in Central America.  Sorry!

roselevyberanbaum's picture

guro, i'd love to use this shaping technique in my next book for one of my breads and to include you in the headnote. is it possible to have your last name. if that's a problem i'll just use Guro!

guro's picture

This is a great honor!  Thanks.  Please use the name O. Gur

roselevyberanbaum's picture

thanks so much for your enthusiastic reply and compliment! ok O. Gur it is though it does sound like ogre which i'm sure you're not! but i suspect that's intentional.

it takes me a few years to do a book but how those years pass quickly.

guro's picture

This was a great post. I laughed so hard! My last name is Gur and my first name starts with an O. I never read it as ogre. I wish I was that sophisticated. Hilarious!

roselevyberanbaum's picture

that IS hilarious! most timely what with the popularity of shrek!!!

guro's picture

The years do go by fast!

Candango's picture


   No hay problema.  If I can insert some photos, these are the breads I remember.

Old Town Bakery - Lavash Old Town Bakery - 2


If you have a chance to get back there, I will wait patiently.  Thanks,


Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Thank you for posting Guro!  Truly a lovely technique. 

I did have problems with the first three sentences of the shaping directions.

Place the two halves crossing each other (open roulade layers facing up) to create and X shape.  Gently pick up the two ends of the bottom half, cross them over the top half, and place them back down.  Continue this process, taking the two bottom ends and crossing them over the top until all the roulade has been used.

The wording threw me off.  It wasn't until I took out clay and tried to follow along. I crossed the strands over and was going up into the air which couldn't be right.  What I ended up doing was twisting the long ends of the X together, not braiding which I thought would happen because of the word "braid" in place of the word "twist."

Look at the braid.

I changed to read:

After cutting, the two halves are lying parallel or next to each other.  Cross one over the other making an X and continue to twist two long ends together bringing the under piece over the other keeping the cut sides up.  Lightly pinch the ends together.  Twist the upper arms of the X in the same manner.  The dough should be one long double twist with cut surfaces up.

Then I continued.

The result is just awesome!  I used chopped fresh cranberries to replace sumac.