Chrysanthemum Bread

Chrysanthemum bread
Chrysanthemum bread with a sausage filling

Returning home after my husband’s thorough check-up, I couldn’t wait to bake bread.:) Apart from minor changes in his diet and exercise and more medication for his diabetes and hypertension, he should be feeling much better from now on. But the persistent pain in my right knee also needed attention and I had my X-ray and MRI done. The findings in medical terms are scary. I have been advised rest for the time being and physiotherapy will start soon.
Slowing down at this stage in my life will affect so many other areas around the house. Particularly when I cannot climb stairs. With the main activity areas on two levels and my immobility…I’d rather not even begin to imagine…But since the kitchen is on the same floor as the bedrooms, my trials in the kitchen will continue with maybe gaps in between.
Coming back to the bread, I had seen this flower-shaped bread on Pinterest and couldn’t take my mind off it. It’s also referred to as Russian or Georgian chrysanthemum bread. What I liked most about it besides the ‘petals’, was the filling. That’s what makes it so moist and soft as you bite into it. Of course the addition of milk, butter and eggs into the dough also makes it richer and brioche-like. I used the usual measurements that I stick to when I make this kind of bread.

(For the dough)
31/2 cups all-purpose flour + extra for dusting
1 cup milk
1 tbsp yeast
1 tsp sugar
5 tbs melted butter
1 quarter tsp salt
3 eggs, beaten + 1 yolk mixed with a bit of milk for the eggwash

  • Heat the milk in a pan. It should be warm enough to activate the yeast. 
  • Transfer it to a bowl, add the sugar and the yeast. Give a mix and set aside for about 10 minutes for the froth to come to the surface.
  • In a large bowl, add the flour and the salt. Mix well. Pour the yeast mixture and start kneading. Add the butter and the beaten eggs and knead till the mixture comes together.
  • Tip contents on a lightly floured surface and knead for about ten minutes until the dough is soft and elastic.
  • Clean the bowl you had used earlier by scraping out bits of dough that might have stuck when you started to knead.
  • Oil the bowl and the surface of the dough. Place the dough in the bowl and cover with a kitchen towel. Set aside till the dough doubles in size. This may take about an hour.
Chrysanthemum bread

For the filling:
1 packet chicken sausages 
2 medium onions, peeled and chopped fine
1 tsp chilli flakes
1/2 tsp coarsely grated black pepper
3 tomatoes blanched, peeled and diced into small pieces
2 tbsp vegetable oil
Chopped herbs, optional
As the dough proves you can start on the filling. Remove the sausage casings and chop up the meat.
Heat the oil in a pan. Fry the onions till they turn translucent. Add the meat along with the seasonings.
Add the blanched and chopped tomatoes and cook till done.
Transfer to another dish and scatter the herbs, if using. 

I did not use salt here as the sausages had enough salt in them.

  • Meanwhile, gently knead the well-risen dough for a minute or so and divide into half. 
  • Place the dough on a lightly-floured surface and roll out into a large circle, about 3mm in thickness.
  • Using a cutter (mine was 3.5″), cut out little circles. Place about a tablespoon of the filling on one half of the circle. Fold it and then fold the half circle in the middle. You can see the stages in the collage above.
  • Line your pie tin (I used a 7″ one with a removable bottom) with butter paper and place the filled/folded bits of dough in a circle till the tin is covered. For the gap in the middle, I filled a small sphere with the filling and placed it in the middle of the ‘petals’.
  • Set aside again for about 20 minutes.
  • Brush with the egg yolk and milk mixture and bake in a preheated oven at 180C for about 30 minutes or till the bread is golden brown.
Chrysanthemum bread
Soft and moist and delicious with the sausage filling.

Chrysanthemum bread

I couldn’t help taking a picture of the bottom of the bread too. The ‘petals’ created a lovely floral pattern.
The filling I made was about 2 cups but I didn’t use them all up. There was enough dough left for 4 medium buns and the filling was used to stuff the buns. This is a wonderful bread to snack on and it doesn’t beg for other accompaniments.:) Baking a bread like this one is a joy indeed!

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