28 January, 2016
Qurban (or Erbenn)
QURBAN – LEBANESE HOLY BREAD
QURBAN, which means sacrifice, is the bread used during communion in Catholic and Orthodox Christian churches of Lebanon.
But don’t worry, it is also sold for public consumption! You can literally smell this bread baking from blocks away, the scents of orange flower water and yeast are out of this world! The taste is delicate with a touch of sweetness…
These aromatic bread rounds are marked in the center with a stamp in aramaic language.
Preparation time: 3 1/2 hours.
Ingredients (for 8 breads):
- 1 package (2 1/2 tsp) of active dry yeast
- 3 cups of strong flour (bread flour) or all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp of salt
- 1/3 cup of sugar
- 1/4 tsp of mahlab if available
- 2 tbsp of unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 tbsp of orange blossom water
- Warm water
- For brushing: 2 tbsp of unsalted butter melted with 1 tsp of orange blossom water, 1 tbsp of sugar and 2 tbsp of milk.
Place the yeast in a cup with 1 teaspoon of the sugar. Add 1/3 of a cup of warm water and set aside for 5-10 minutes, until bubbly. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the flour, the remaining sugar, the salt and the mahlab. Add the butter and rub into the flour mixture with your finger tips until well distributed. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture, add the yeast mixture and add about 1 cup of warm water. Knead until you have a rough ball of dough.
(You may need more or less water).
Knead the dough in the bowl for 3-5 minutes, until smooth and elastic. Rub the inside of the bowl with oil to coat, place the dough ball inside. Cover with a kitchen towel or plastic film and leave to rise until doubled in volume, about 1 1/2 hours. Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces and shape each piece into a ball. Let rest 10 minutes.
On a lightly floured surface, roll each dough ball out into a circle of about 6 inches in diameter. Place on a greased or lined baking sheet, cover with a kitchen towel or plastic film and let rise one hour. Preheat oven to 400 F.
Press each dough round with the tines of a fork to make a square in the center. Make sure to press deeply as this will prevent the dough from puffing too much in the oven. Place in the oven and bake 15-17 minutes, until golden. Meanwhile, prepare the glaze. When the bread comes out of the oven brush generously with the glaze mixture. Let cool slightly before serving.