Iraqi Churek


I love to make this bread for a light lunch alongside tea or coffee. The recipe has a light hint of rose water and sweetness. Not enough to make it too sweet but just enough to make it perfect. When you’re making a sweet dough it always turns out better if you allow it to rise a little longer so for mine I like to give it a good four hours. I just set it in the oven with the light on (make sure the oven has not been used because too much heat will make the yeast overgrow and it will taste bad). When you’re kneading it resist the urge to add more flour because the dough should be a bit sticky. Also when you roll it out do not leave it too high. I roll mine about 1/4 of an inch of not thinner and they really puff up nicely after they go into the oven.

1/2 cup milk
2 tablespoons of sunflower oil (plus more for hands)
6 tablespoons sugar
1/2 tablespoon yeast
1 egg, beaten
1/2 teaspoon rose water
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 cup warm water
2-1/2 cups flour (all-purpose or bread)
pinch of salt

1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon water
1/4 cup sesame seeds

1. In a small bowl add 1/2 tablespoon of sugar, yeast and water. Allow to sit until frothy for 5 minutes.

2. In a small saucepan on medium heat add milk and sugar, mix until the sugar has dissolved. Set aside, add rose water and stir.

3. In a large mixing bowl add flour, salt, 2 tablespoons of oil, cardamom and egg, mix. Pour yeast mixture and milk mix into the bowl and quickly mix together. If the dough is dry add a little cold milk until a sticky dough consistency is obtained. Knead for a few minutes and roll into a ball. Place dough back into the bowl and add a small amount of oil into hands and rub on top of the dough. Cover with a towel and allow to rise for 4 hours.

4. Punch dough down and divide into 3 even parts. On a non-stick baking mat shape each piece into a rectangle. You can use a rolling pin if needed. With a knife carefully make 4 slits into the dough (one near each corner). Cover and allow to rest for 30 minutes.

5. Pre-heat oven to 375F. In a small bowl add egg yolk and 1 tablespoon of water, mix well. Carefully brush mixture on top of dough then sprinkle seeds on top. Place the churek onto a parchment paper or non-stick baking mat lined baking sheet into the oven. Cook for 15-17 minutes until golden.

Yields: 3 pieces

4 Responses to Iraqi Churek

  • Salam. We’re you born into an Arabic family or did you pick it up once you were married? You are very talented with such a range of foods Mashallah.

    • Wa Alaykum Salam thank you so much and please take a look at my about me page :)

  • Very interesting (and pretty). When I saw the title, I got excited thinking it was the Iraqi version of Choreg, an Armenian bread I love to make. Although they both have sesame seeds on the outside, the Choreg does not contain rose water or cardamom, but is instead flavored with Mahleb, lots of butter, and a sprinkling of black seeds (Nigella Sativa or black sesame seeds). I’ll be very curious to try this one and see how the dough compares.

    • Actually I am pretty sure they are a lot alike. Churek is a name for several types like this. The originally actually does have mahleb in it but I can not find it here in Saudi. I need to order some I would love to try it. And this would be nice with butter and black seeds. I guess you could do it lots of ways. I would love to try to your recipe thought and I hope you try this one. Its perfect with hot tea. What kind do you drink in Armenia?

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