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Armenian Tahini Bread Recipe

I have grown to appreciate tahini over the past couple of years. I love it in hummus and sauces, and I also have a pretty great tahini cookie recipe. So imagine my delight, while working on an Armenian menu for my book club post on The Sandcastle Girls, when I came upon tahini bread. I couldn’t wait to bake a batch of the tahini-filled sweet yeast breads flavored with cinnamon and topped with toasted sesame seeds. Delicious!

Recipe adapted from Tahini Bread, a Lenten Pastry at The

Prep: 3 hours (includes 2-1/4 hours rise time) | Cook: 25 minutes | Yield: 3 6-inch round loaves

Tahini Bread


  • 1 package of active dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 cup lukewarm water (105-110°F)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3-4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup tahini
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • cinnamon, for sprinkling
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • toasted sesame seeds


  1. Place the yeast and sugar in large mixing bowl. Slowly stir in lukewarm water. Stir until yeast is dissolved. Allow yeast mixture to sit for 10 minutes to proof yeast. If mixture is foamy and doubles in volume proceed with recipe. If not, discard yeast mixture and start over.
  2. In a saucepan, add the milk and butter. Heat until butter is completely melted. Stir in sugar and salt. Pour into yeast mixture, stirring until combined.
  3. Gradually, add in 3 cups of flour. Mix together until well blended and a stiff dough forms. Add more flour, if needed, to get dough stiff but pliable. Turn dough out on a lightly floured surface and knead for about 5 minutes. Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl, turning dough to cover all surfaces with oil. Cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap, then cover with a large towel. Allow dough to rise for about 2 hours until doubled in size.
  4. Separate dough into three equal balls. Knead each ball for about 30 seconds on a lightly floured surface. Cover with a clean towel and allow the dough balls to rest for 15 minutes.
  5. While dough balls are resting, preheat the oven to 350°F and lightly grease a baking sheet and set aside. Then, prepare the tahini filling. (NOTE: Before measuring out the tahini from its container, be sure to stir it well, because the oil tends to separate.) Combine the tahini and powdered sugar in a medium bowl and set aside until ready to use.
  6. Working with one dough ball at a time (keeping the remaining dough balls covered), place dough ball on a lightly floured surface and flatten it out a bit with your hands. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough out to about a 10-12-inch circle, about 1/8-inch thick.
  7. Thinly spread 1/3 of the tahini filling over the rolled out dough circle, almost to the edges. (NOTE: If tahini filling is too stiff to spread easily over dough, microwave it for 20 second, then stir. Repeat, as needed.) Sprinkle cinnamon lightly over the spread tahini.
  8. Using your hands, tightly roll the dough away from you. You will end up with an elongated rope. Taking each end of the rope, start twisting the rope in opposite directions. Then, take each end of the twisted rope, and tightly roll each end in a spiral to the center (see image at right). Tahini SpiralPlace one spiral on top of the other. Place the stacked spiral dough on the baking sheet and cover with a clean towel. Continue with remaining two dough balls, working with one at a time.
  9. Prepare an egg wash by whisking the egg and water together. Brush over each tahini bread, then top with toasted sesame seeds. Bake for about 25 minutes until tops are golden brown.

Serve with hot tea or coffee or, if desired, drizzle a bit of pomegranate molasses over tops before serving.

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