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Easter Bread with Mahlep; Paskalya Coregi

Easter bread with mahlepi; Paskalya Coregi

Easter bread with mahlepi; Paskalya Coregi

I’ve been getting requests to make the fragrant Paskalya Coregi, the Easter bread sold in bakeries and patisseries in Istanbul all year around. I am so glad the readers asked (with special thanks to James Baydar) and I had a go at them; an absolutely delicious bread, that fills your home with heavenly smells of mahlep or mahlebi and mastic.

Fragrant mahlep or mahlepi seeds, a must for the Paskalya Coregi, Easter Bread

Fragrant mahlep or mahlepi seeds, a must for the Paskalya Coregi, Easter Bread

The  star ingredient in this bread is, Mahlep or mahlab, mahlebi, an aromatic spice made from the seeds of a species of cherry.  It has been used for centuries in the Middle East as a flavoring for baked goods. In Greek cooking, it is the characteristic flavoring of Christmas cake and Easter pastry recipes.  In Armenia it is used to flavour the traditional Easter bread. In Turkey, it is used for pogaca, (savory pastries with cheese or various fillings), Kandil Simiti, special bread rings with sesame seeds to mark religious festivities. Mahlab is also used in Paskalya Coregi, the special sweet bread that you can find all through the year in patisseries, pastanes, in Turkey (the word Paskalya driven from the Greek Pashalia to Turkish). Istanbul has a long history of having some brilliant Armenian and Greek pastry masters and most of the prominent patisseries were used to be run by them. Thanks to this heritage, the Paskalya coregi became a staple of Istanbul patisserie scene all year long. I grew up soaking the incredible smells of Paskalya Coregi; eager to buy our loaf and couldn’t resist sampling some on the way home, happy days.

Braiding the strips; . seal the top end of the 3 strips so they stay intact.

Braiding the strips;  seal the top end of the 3 strips so they stay intact.

Braid and seal the other end of the strips to finish braiding your loaf.

Braid and seal the other end of the strips to finish braiding your loaf.

Paskalya Coregi is such an easy, delicious bread, though it requires some patience and time, as you need to make sure the dough is risen / doubled its size. The braiding is very straight forward and this one is baked in less than 30 minutes.

Paskalya Coregi; Easter bread with mahlepi, straight from the oven!

Paskalya Coregi; Easter bread with mahlepi, straight from the oven!

As the Paskalya coregi bakes, fragrant mahlep and mastic smells coming from the oven is so heavenly and inviting, it is well worth the effort and the wait. Hope you can have a go and enjoy this special Easter bread you can find almost every bakery in Istanbul. Paskalya Coregi is lovely on its own or with some jam or honey over the slice. Children finished most of our loaves as soon as they were out of the oven!

I am passionate about the sweet and savoury pastries in Turkish cuisine and have a whole chapter on Savoury Pastries at my cookery book, Ozlem’s Turkish Table, signed copies available to order at this link, if interested; please kindly note that Paskalya Coregi is not included in this book.

Happy Easter and Passover to all readers celebrating.

Afiyet Olsun,


Recipe adapted from Classical Turkish Cooking by Ayla Algar

5.0 from 4 reviews
Easter Bread with Mahlep from Istanbul; Paskalya Coregi
This is a special Easter bread, Paskalya Coregi, that you can find all year around in bakeries in Istanbul. Fragrant mahlepi, mahlep and mastic makes the bread packed with flavor; slice and enjoy with some jam or honey over.
Recipe type: A special Easter Bread from Istanbul
Serves: 6-8
  • 3 cups and 1 tbsp. all-purpose plain flour, sifted
  • ½ cup (caster) sugar
  • 12 gr/ 1 ½ tsp. dry yeast
  • 5 ml/ 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 15 ml/ 3 tsp. ground mahlep or mahlepi
  • 5 ml/ 1 tsp ground mastic
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten (room temperature)
  • 2 egg yolks, lightly beaten (room temperature)
  • 125 gr/ 1 stick unsalted butter, melted
  • ½ cup whole milk, lukewarm
  • For the topping:
  • 1 egg yolk, beaten
  • 10 ml/ 2 tsp. whole milk
  • 45 ml/ 3 tbsp. thinly sliced, flaked almonds
  1. Take the eggs out of the fridge about 1,5 hours ahead of time and bring to room temperature.
  2. If you are using whole mahlepi seeds, ground them at food processor with mastic.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients; flour, sugar, yeast, salt, ground mahlepi and mastic. Mix well with a spoon.
  4. Stir in the beaten eggs, egg yolks, melted butter and warm milk to the bowl. Using your hands (or an electric mixer) bring it to a soft dough.
  5. On a lightly floured surface, knead for 3 -5 minutes, until you get a smooth dough.
  6. Put the dough into a greased large bowl, cover with cling film and wrap with a kitchen towel. Place the bowl at a warm part of the kitchen. Let the dough rise and double its size; this takes about 2,5 hours, depending on the room temperature.
  7. Once risen, punch the dough and divide into six equal balls. Roll each ball into 30 cm (12”) long 6 strips.
  8. Place 3 dough strips next to each other side by side. Pinch, seal the top end of the 3 strips so they stay intact. Braid and seal the other end of the strips; you made your first loaf. Repeat the same procedure with the rest of the 3 dough strips to make your 2nd loaf.
  9. Cover the baking tray with parchment paper and place the two braided loaves on it; make sure to leave 3 -4" between the loaves. Cover the loaves loosely with a damp towel. Place the tray at a warm place to rise for another hour.
  10. Preheat the oven to 180 C / 350 F
  11. Beat 1 egg yolk lightly in a small bowl and stir in 2 tsp. whole milk, mix well.
  12. Once the loaves risen, brush them with the egg yolk and milk mixture. Generously sprinkle the flaked almonds over the loaves and gently press so that the almonds stick to the loaf.
  13. Bake in the preheated oven for about 20 – 25 minutes. Please check as of 15 minutes, as the loaves go dark rather quickly. In that case, loosely place an oven proof baking paper over to prevent further browning. As of 20 minutes, take the loaves out of the oven and insert a toothpick in the middle to see if it’s cooked. If the toothpick comes clean, that means the loaf is cooked. If not, bake for further 5 minutes or so.
  14. Once cooked, remove from the oven and let the Easter bread, Paskalya Coregi, rest on a wire rack. It will smell heavenly.
  15. Slice the loaf once cooled down; Paskalya coregi is delicious with a little butter and jam or honey over the slice.



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23 Responses to Easter Bread with Mahlep; Paskalya Coregi

  1. jaz April 18, 2014 at 9:47 pm #

    thank you so much for this recipe. i just bought mahlep the other day for the first time and can not wait to try it! have a wonderful easter!

    • Ozlem Warren April 19, 2014 at 11:32 am #

      Hi Jaz, so glad the post could help, enjoy Paskalya coregi; Happy Easter!

  2. senior dogs abroad April 19, 2014 at 5:25 am #

    Özlem, You always teach me something new with each post! I know nothing of mahlep and only know mastic because a friend made mastic pudding for us one time. As I’m determined to learn everything about Turkish cooking, I must try this. Thanks! J. Çok öpüyoruz.

    • Ozlem Warren April 19, 2014 at 11:31 am #

      Merhaba J, so glad you enjoyed the post. Mahlep is so wonderful in pastries, definitely worth experimenting with it – and enjoy those delicious Paskalya coregi in Istanbul : ) Cok selam ve sevgiler, Ozlem x

  3. Peri's Spice Ladle April 19, 2014 at 6:27 am #

    Dear Ozlem, what a delightful treat right in time for Easter:) the flavors in this loaf are wonderful and I enjoyed reading your explanation for mahlep…have a very Happy Easter. XxPeri.

    • Ozlem Warren April 19, 2014 at 11:30 am #

      Many thanks Peri, glad you enjoyed Paskalya Coregi; look out for mahlep, a wonderful, fragrant spice, great in breads and pastries. Best wishes, Ozlem xx

  4. Turkey's For Life April 19, 2014 at 6:30 am #

    And I can’t believe we’ve never heard of this type of bread before. Maybe we’ve had it and just never knew what it was called. Looks so yummy. 🙂

    • Ozlem Warren April 19, 2014 at 11:28 am #

      Merhaba Julia, it is very common around Istanbul area, bakeries and pastanes sell all year around, it really is yummy! And you can make your own : ) Have a lovely Easter! Ozlem

  5. Phil in the Kitchen April 20, 2014 at 10:40 pm #

    I always associate Easter with sweet or spiced breads despite the fact that chocolate is far more common, at least in the UK. This bread is certainly my idea of an Easter celebration. Lovely.

    • Ozlem Warren April 21, 2014 at 9:18 am #

      Thank you Phil, the aromas and smell of this bread really make it special, glad you enjoyed it. Happy Easter to you.

  6. Cali April 22, 2014 at 12:21 am #

    I wasn’t feeling well yesterday and called out sick from work today. After a while I felt better and decided to take on the task of making the easter bread. They came out delicious and one of the 1st solid foods I’ve eaten all day. Thanks for this amazing recipe~!

    • Ozlem Warren April 22, 2014 at 10:08 am #

      Merhaba Cali, thank you so much for taking the time to leave this lovely note. I am so glad you enjoyed the Easter bread and it brought some comfort, delighted to hear it. I hope you’re much better now, my best wishes & afiyet olsun! 🙂

  7. Vilma Saylav September 18, 2017 at 5:58 am #

    Hi Ozlem
    I love paskalya coregi I will try to make them
    I’m from Istanbul as well and I know the real taste of easter bread from the old days.
    Pastry cooks in Istanbul were the best in the world

    • Ozlem Warren September 18, 2017 at 11:55 am #

      Merhaba dear Vilma, thank you for your kind note; I very much agree, some of the finest pastries are made in Istanbul and I especially love all our savory pastries – pogacas, boreks and more. I hope you enjoy the paskalya corregi recipe, it is fragrant with malep/mahlebi. Afiyet Olsun, Ozlem

  8. Anne March 30, 2018 at 6:47 pm #

    Have you by chance ever done the second rise ( once braided) overnight in the fridge and then baked them?
    I was just wondering as it would be lovely to serve it warm from the oven on Eater morning, rather than baking ahead.

    • Ozlem Warren March 31, 2018 at 2:28 pm #

      Merhaba Anne, I haven’t but this is such a tempting thought and I think worth a go – I would love to hear your feedback if you try this – wishing you a lovely Easter, Ozlem

      • Hande Bilhan April 14, 2019 at 7:25 pm #

        Merhaba Ozlem – wondering if Anne or you tried leaving it in the fridge overnight? I want to make this for our Easter brunch but feel it’s a bit much to tackle first thing in the morning, along with all the other food I’m making. Would love your thoughts on this!

        • Ozlem Warren April 16, 2019 at 9:40 am #

          Merhaba dear Hande, I haven’t tried leaving the dough in fridge overnight but I suggest you bake a day ahead of time; it will still be wonderful next day; you can also toast slices or gently warm up in the oven – Afiyet Olsun! Ozlem x

  9. Selda November 28, 2019 at 11:59 am #

    Just tried this recipe and it is just perfect! Thanks so much for sharing! 🙂

  10. Cal April 8, 2020 at 7:06 am #

    Hi Ozlem can i substitute oat milk in place of the milk?

    • Ozlem Warren April 8, 2020 at 9:57 am #

      Hi, I don’t see why not – Afiyet olsun, Ozlem x

  11. Ruth Uckardes May 1, 2021 at 8:38 pm #

    Hi Ozlem,
    I tried another PASKALYA COREGI recipe….sadly it was a disaster! But I was excited to find your recipe and I’m going to give it a try. I can’t find mahlep where I live but googled alternatives and found that I can use a mix of pure Almond essence and pure Star Anise essence as a substitute. Can you tell me how much of each I should use in your recipe.
    Thank you so much for all your delicious recipes.

    • Ozlem Warren May 3, 2021 at 11:31 am #

      Merhaba dear Ruth,
      Many thanks for your kind note; I haven’t used almond essence and star anise here but I think it will work well, perhaps use 1 tsp each of these (or a little more) to substitute mahlep; do hope you enjoy it, afiyet olsun, Ozlem x

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