The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Armenia via Vienna – An Attempt at Peda Bread

GSnyde's picture

Armenia via Vienna – An Attempt at Peda Bread

This episode in my baking story starts with lamb.   We received a shipment of lamb meat yesterday from a ranch in the Sierra foothills that supplies several of the finest restaurants in the Bay Area.  We got some chops and some stew meat (roughly 2 inch pieces of leg meat).  I planned to make shish kebab today, even though the bizarre June rain threatened to snuff out my barbecue.

Shish kebab (lamb marinated in red wine, olive oil, onion and garlic and char-broiled on skewers with bell peppers and onions) is a dish that brings back fond food memories of my childhood in Fresno, a city with a very large Armenian population and excellent Armenian restaurants (at least back then).

One of our family’s favorite restaurants used to serve a shish kebab sandwich on peda bread, a round low profile soft sandwich bun with sesame seeds.  I believe the Armenian bakery that made that peda bread (Hy-Quality Bakery) is still in business.

I have tried before to make buns that resemble peda bread, but not with much success.  With shish kebab on the menu, I needed to try again to replicate peda bread.  The closest bread I’d made in texture and flavor was Reinhart’s Vienna Bread from BBA.  So today I tried a variation on that Vienna Bread.   I followed his formula, but divided part of the dough into 5 ounce pieces and squashed them down fairly thin before proofing them.  When they were ready to bake, I slathered them with an egg wash and sprinkled sesame seeds on them.

These buns are both delicious and pretty darn close to peda bread. 


I also made a batard from this dough, also sprinkled with sesame seeds.

To  make these buns even more authentically like the bread served on the shish kebab sandwiches of my childhood memory, I split and grilled them with a bit of butter, giving them a wonderful crispiness.

By the way, this lamb is about the best I’ve ever had.  And the meal brought back fond memories.

Who knew the Viennese and the Armenians were so close?



Janetcook's picture


I grew up in San Francisco and took for granted all the ethnic food that surrounded me.....moving to Denver was quite a shock.

Your post brought back many fond memories to me - not just of the food but of your mentioning the Sierra foothills.....drove through them on a regular basis on our way to Tahoe....

I never had peda bread but your rolls look really tasty - especially with the sesame seed topping.  Think I will have to check out the Vienna Bread recipe again and try your variation.


GSnyde's picture

I grew up in a not-very-cosmopolitan town in the 60s, but my family did enjoy a variety of cuisines.  As to baked goods, we were not as adventurous.

I've lived in the Bay Area for 35 years, and my culinary horizons are ever-expanding.  With breads, I strongly prefer European-style products, though there's nothing wrong with Naan.


ananda's picture

Hi Glenn,
The buns look truly excellent.
I'm just wondering about the fat content in the dough. I don't have my copy of the Reinhart book to hand.
Ordinarily, Vienna Bread is, of course, made very lean. It's reputation always rested on the quality of the [for the time] very white flour used in the dough.
I'm just not sure a dough without any fat is quite what you would use for these rolls. You may be able to confirm this.
Most interesting of course is your comment about Armenia.
A quick look on the map shows Armenia to be just across the Caspian Sea from Kazakhstan, where some of the finest bread wheat in the world is grown!
Best wishes

GSnyde's picture


Thanks for the compliment.

Professor Reinhart's version of Vienna Bread has 13.8% egg, 4.2% butter and 4.2% sugar.  It is not as enriched as Challah, but it has a tender even crumb.  It has a texture more like a hoagie roll than a "French Bread".  It may not be authentically Viennese, but it makes a great sandwich roll.  It is tender enough to bite through easily, but not so soft as to go soggy with a juicy sandwich filling.

A few months ago on TFL, many of us made Reinhart's Vienna Bread with Dutch Crunch topping, and the reactions were very positive.

As to the geographic origins of Peda Bread, though Armenia is located on the Caspian Sea, before World War I much of the Armenian population lived West of there, within the boundaries of present-day Turkey.  And before that, the Kingdom of Armenia stretched into what is now Syria, all the way to the Mediterranean.  I don't know where the ancient Armenians got their flour, but their cuisine generally is akin to Greek and other Mediterranean cuisines (richly seasoned with olives and olive oil, figs, garlic).


breadsong's picture

Hello Glenn,
How lovely to be able to re-create the bread you remember.
Congratulations on your success with your bread - and your lamb - everything looks delicious!
from breadsong

GSnyde's picture


SylviaH's picture

Your bread looks delicious, especially toasted for the lamb kabobs.  I love good often I see it boned in the local markets.  I like the bone in my roasted leg of lamb.


GSnyde's picture

Thanks, Sylvia.  I think that barbecued lamb is the best meat on Earth.  And this James Ranch lamb is exceptional.  Very tender and tasty.  The grilled buns were a perfect complement for shish kebab.

I can also now verify that the sliced bread is wonderfully crispy toasted, very tasty with butter and jam.


Syd's picture

Looks lovely, Glenn. And I absolutely love lamb.  BBQ'ed and seasoned with salt, cumin and coriander (freshly toasted and ground, of course) - to die for.  Or marinated in olive oil, lemon juice and large quantities of fresh thyme, rosemary and mint... :)


kim's picture

Hi Glenn,

I know what I’m going to make for my upcoming BBQ cookout. Thank you for the inspirations. Do you buy local grass-fed lamb?