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Shubak el-Habayeb or Iraqi Lover’s Window Bread
Iraqi Lover’s Window Bread is a mildly sweet sesame topped bread with vertical slits flavoured with rose water, orange blossom water, mahlab and cardamom.
Servings Prep Time
6breads 45minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
20 minutes 5.5hours
Servings Prep Time
6breads 45minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
20 minutes 5.5hours
Ingredients
For the Dough:
For the Glaze:
Instructions
  1. You can do this by hand or in the food processor as I did. Put the flour in a bowl, and make a well in the middle. Sprinkle the yeast and sugar into this, and then add the milk. Cover the milk with some of the flour from the sides. Cover the bowl loosely and let it rest for an hour.
  2. Add the flower waters, the mahlab and cardamom (I crushed the cardamom with a mortar and pestle first, then added the mahlab seeds and crushed them), and the salt to the bowl. Knead to a rough dough. Add the melted butter and knead till you have a smooth dough.
  3. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured counter and kneada little more, wetting your hands with water while kneading if your dough feels stiff. When you are done kneading, the dough should be supple and smooth.
  4. Place the dough into an oiled bowl and let rise in a warm spot, covered, for about two to three hours, until doubled in volume. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and divide into 6 equal portions. Roll each into a ball. Cover loosely and let them rest for 15 minutes.
  5. Using a rolling pin, roll each ball into a square that is just about 1/2 inch thick. With a sharp knife, cut one short vertical slit in each quadrant of the dough. Open the slits with your fingers to make sure they are cut through and do not close up as the dough rises.
  6. Place the squares on lightly greased baking sheets. Cover them loosely and let them rise for an hour.
  7. Mix together the ingredients for the glaze and brush it over the risen dough. Sprinkle the sesame seeds over this. Bake the breads at 220C (425F) for about 15 to 20 minutes till golden brown and done.
  8. Cool them on a wire rack and serve slightly warm.