If you follow me on Instagram (@sweetgumspot), you know that I do a “From Scratch Adventure” every month; April’s adventure was an Armenian Easter bread called Choereg. My husband Mike is half Armenian, and his family makes this bread every year. My mother-in-law makes it into little rolls and even puts chocolate in the middle. They are divine by themselves, but even better with a hot cup of coffee Easter morning.
The Choereg Fail…
So, being the good wife that I am, I want to carry on as many of Mike’s family traditions as I can, as well as my own. The only problem is, I’m not Armenian. I am like 75% German. That doesn’t mean anything other than that I believe firmly that the Choereg knows this about me…. and won’t cooperate, lol. I have made it two years in a row now (every year since we got married), and it just doesn’t turn out like my mother-in-law’s! The first year wasn’t so bad, it just didn’t rise as much as it should have. This year though? ….. It was ugly. It tasted delicious, don’t get me wrong! But I didn’t knead it as long as I should have, or something. I’m not quite sure.
I think what it boils down to is this… I don’t have the Nalbantian choereg recipe! I’ve googled “choereg recipe” both times I’ve made it, and while it’s probably very similar, it’s not the recipe that has been handed down in our family for generations.
What I love about these old family recipes is that there are tiny things each generation tweaks to make it their own. Whether it’s adding chocolate to the inside of a roll, or the way they shape the roll (or loaf, it can be made in a big loaf instead of individual rolls), these tiny changes make the recipe what it is; nostalgic, sentimental, and unique to that family.
What about Part 2?
So, next time we visit, my mother-in-law and I are going to make choereg together. Because I can’t just copy down the recipe and get it right. I’ve got to learn the way that mothers and grandmothers have learned for hundreds of years. By watching her make it, making it with her, and finally making it myself. Each of those steps are crucial to nailing down cherished family recipes like choereg.
I am excited to bring you Part 2 of this from scratch adventure, and tell you about my experience learning the recipe from my mother-in-law. I am excited to create memories with her, and bond over her family’s heritage. While I might not be Armenian, I want to keep that part of our family alive so that Charlie knows where she came from, and can teach this recipe to her daughters and granddaughters. I’m also excited to finally make it right! 🙂
I hope you enjoy these From Scratch Adventures! You can always catch the live updates when I am doing them on my Instagram (@sweetgumspot) stories, and then read the blog post recaps afterwards. Let me know in the comments if you have a favorite family recipe! Or if you have an idea for a future From Scratch Adventure!
Until next time,