May 092014
 

Falouna or Flaounes is a special bread especially made during Easter and is savored by Orthodox Greeks and Muslim Turkish Cypriots. This bread quite tastes like cake as they are made with a concoction of spices, dried fruits, nuts, butter, and eggs that mostly go into the making of cake. It’s understandably rich in flavor and contents as they are relished after a long period of fasting.

I’ve baked breads before but am rarely inclined to bake savory breads and these falounes (pronounced as “fla-oo-neez”) tempted me just with its name. Even though these are savory kind the raisins in the recipe does give a hint of sweetness that perfectly blends well with other ingredients in the filling and teases my sweet tooth enough to satisfy the effort put forth in making this bread. These breads are usually part of the Easter fast-breaking meal and are considered quite a delicacy that they get exchanged as gifts.

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These breads can be made with or without yeast substituting baking powder as a quick rise agent for the yeast and consequently the end result of the pies will vary based on the recipe of your choice. Just like in many cultures and traditions the women of the family gather around during Easter to make this bread in large numbers filling them with “Flaounes” cheese which is locally produced. Since we don’t get this particular cheese a combination of locally available cheese is substituted in this recipe. Make sure the cheese of your choice tends to be more on the salty side as the savory Falounes are supposed to have a filling that’s salty. Cheese variations can include but not limited to based on availability and affordability are Cypriot/ Greek cheeses like Kefalotyri, Kefalogravier or Kaskavali. Other cheeses include Halloumi, English Cheddar, Italian cheeses like parmesan, Romanelo or Pressato (mild), Pecorino (salty) or French Cantal cheese. I chose sharp cheddar, mozarella, and paneer as my choice of cheese.

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There are some ingredients that are mostly prevalent in Middle Eastern cuisine. Though they are highly preferable to be used in the recipe I wouldn’t get my hunting gear ready just to be used in one recipe. Though the recipe uses egg in both the dough and as egg wash, they can be completely eliminated if you prefer your egg to be eggless. I used the egg in the dough but substituted milk instead of egg wash. Also the filling is bland and if you would like to spice it up, add chilli flakes or black pepper powder. The shapes of the falounes can be either triangle or square just make sure to press down the flaps so they don’t open up during baking. Enjoy!!!

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Step-by-Step Pictorial:

Recipe Source: mydiversekitchen

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Either using a food processor or by hand mix flour, yeast, sugar, and the flavoring ingredients if using into a large bowl. In a separate bowl whisk egg, milk, melted butter. Add the egg mixture to the flour. Knead the dough adding enough water till the dough is soft, smooth and elastic. Add water/flour as necessary to get the right consistency of the dough. Do not add too much flour as the texture of the bread can be compromised.

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Place the dough in a well oiled bowl and toss the dough to coat with the oil. Cover the bowl and place it in a warm place for about 1 to 2 hours until it is double in volume. Once the dough has risen, punch the dough to remove the gas and fold it few times. Place the dough in a container and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. This dough can be left overnight too if you are planning to bake this bread in two stages.

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Using a fork mix all the ingredients listed in the filling except milk or egg (if using). If the filling is not planned to be used immediately leave the dry mix of the ingredients as is without adding milk or egg. Add the milk and egg (if using) only when you are ready to use the filling immediately. Once the milk and egg are mixed with the rest of the ingredients the filling should be a stiff paste.

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Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces. Lightly oil the work surface and rolling-pin. Gently roll each piece of the dough into 5″ to 6″ round. The dough should be a thinner once rolled out as a thicker dough will be more “bready” while a thinner dough cannot hold the weight of the filling. Divide the filling into 8 equal portions and spread coarsely ground almond powder or sesame seeds on a large plate. Place the dough in the center and press down lightly to coat the sesame seeds or almond powder. Place the coated dough back on the work surface and add one portion of the divided filling on the center of the dough. Spread lightly leaving a 1″ space around the edges.
The dough can be shaped into triangular or square ones based on your preference. For square Flaounes fold the two opposite edges over the filling leaving the center uncovered. Fold over the other two opposite edges to form a pocket with the filling in the center. Press the sealed points with a fork. For triangular Flaounes pull the edges of the dough at three points and partially fold over the filling one after another. After shaping the dough to your desired choice use the paste of flour and milk or beaten egg to seal the flaps of the dough well. Press down the sealed points with back of a fork to prevent the flaps to open upon during second rise/baking. Do not pinch the dough as they tend to separate during the rise/baking. Place the shaped Flaounes on a greased or parchment lined baking sheet. Leave about 2 to 3 inches of space between them and let them rise for about 40 minutes. Just before baking, brush the sides of the dough not the filling with milk or egg wash. Bake in a preheated oven at 375F (190c) for 25 to 30 minutes till the bread is golden and the filling with the cheese melted is puffed up. Cool in a cooling rack and serve slightly warm or at room temperature. They store well for about 2 days at room temperature or they freeze well to be relished at a later time. Enjoy!!!

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Flaounes

Ingredients

  • For the dough:
  • All Purpose Flour -- 2 1/2 cups
  • Instant Yeast -- 3/4 tsp
  • Salt -- 3/4 tsp
  • Sugar -- 1 1/2 tsp
  • Powdered Mastic -- 1/2 tsp (if using)
  • Mahleb -- 1/4 tsp ground (if using)
  • Egg -- 1
  • Milk -- 1/4 cup
  • Butter -- 60 gms melted and cooled
  • Luke Warm Water -- 1/4 cup or less as needed
  • Oil for greasing bowl and rolling dough
  • For Filling
  • Sharp Cheddar Cheese -- 1 cup (grated)
  • Mozarella Cheese -- 1/4 cup (grated)
  • Paneer -- 1/3 cup (crumbled)
  • All Purpose Flour -- 2 tsp
  • Semolina -- 1/4 cup
  • Dry Mint -- 1 Tbsp (use 1/2 Tbsp finely chopped fresh mint if available)
  • Crushed Black Pepper/red chilli flakes -- 1/2 tsp (optional)
  • Sultanas/golden raisins -- 1/8 cup (optional)
  • Baking Powder -- 3/4 tsp
  • Milk -- 1 to 2 Tbsp
  • Egg -- 1 (beaten)OR 1 Tbsp Flour + less than 1/8 cup milk (for sealing paste)
  • Sesame Seeds (not toasted) -- 1/3 to 1/2 cup (I used coarsely ground almond powder)
  • Milk for brushing or egg wash from beaten egg above

Instructions

    For making the dough
  1. Either using a food processor or by hand mix flour, yeast, sugar, and the flavouring ingredients if using into a large bowl. In a separate bowl whisk egg, milk, melted butter. Add the egg mixture to the flour. Knead the dough adding enough water till the dough is soft, smooth and elastic. Add water/flour as necessary to get the right consistency of the dough. Do not add too much flour as the texture of the bread can be compromised.
  2. Place the dough in a well oiled bowl and toss the dough to coat with the oil. Cover the bowl and place it in a warm place for about 1 to 2 hours until it is double in volume. Once the dough has risen, punch the dough to remove the gas and fold it few times. Place the dough in a container and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. This dough can be left overnight too if you are planning to bake this bread in two stages.
  3. For making the filling
  4. Using a fork mix all the ingredients listed in the filling except milk or egg (if using). If the filling is not planned to be used immediately leave the dry mix of the ingredients as is without adding milk or egg. Add the milk and egg (if using) only when you are ready to use the filling immediately. Once the milk and egg are mixed with the rest of the ingredients the filling should be a stiff paste.
  5. To shape the Flaounes
  6. Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces. Lightly oil the work surface and rolling pin. Gently roll each piece of the dough into 5" to 6" round. The dough should be a thinner once rolled out as a thicker dough will be more "bready" while a thinner dough cannot hold the weight of the filling.
  7. Divide the filling into 8 equal portions and spread coarsely ground almond powder or sesame seeds on a large plate. Place the dough in the center and press down lightly to coat the sesame seeds or almond powder. Place the coated dough back on the work surface and add one portion of the divided filling on the center of the dough. Spread lightly leaving a 1" space around the edges.
  8. The dough can be shaped into triangular or square ones based on your preference. For square Flaounes fold the two opposite edges over the filling leaving the center uncovered. Fold over the other two opposite edges to form a pocket with the filling in the center. Press the sealed points with a fork.
  9. For triangular Flaounes pull the edges of the dough at three points and partially fold over the filling one after another. After shaping the dough to your desired choice use the paste of flour and milk or beaten egg to seal the flaps of the dough well. Press down the sealed points with back of a fork to prevent the flaps to open upon during second rise/baking. Do not pinch the dough as they tend to separate during the rise/baking.
  10. Place the shaped Flaounes on a greased or parchment lined baking sheet. Leave about 2 to 3 inches of space between them and let them rise for about 40 minutes. Just before baking, brush the sides of the dough not the filling with milk or egg wash. Bake in a preheated oven at 375F (190c) for 25 to 30 minutes till the bread is golden and the filling with the cheese melted is puffed up. Cool in a cooling rack and serve slightly warm or at room temperature. They store well for about 2 days at room temperature or they freeze well to be relished at a later time. Enjoy!!!
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  7 Responses to “Flaounes”

  1. I tried this savoury pie for a baking challenge recently and completely fallen in love with it.. Flaounes looks fabulous.

  2. I loved these when we tried I tried them out for a challenge. They taste awesome dont they.

  3. Jayanthi, good to have you back in BM…those are some fantastic creations..never made flaounes..sound really very delish..

  4. Recently made these for an event. They are pretty and tasty too.

  5. Flaounes look so attractive, love the shapes and the filling.

  6. They look so delicious! very well made and love both the shapes..

  7. Loved all your bread choices for this week. All of them look fabulous.

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