Tahinov Hatz is an Armenian bread filled with layers of tahini (sesame paste), sugar, and sometimes cinnamon. These stuffed flatbreads have a slightly crisp and flaky texture with a hint of sweetness.
A sizable Armenian population relocated to Lebanon during the Armenian genocide of 1915 in Turkey and brought Tahinov Hatz with them. They became quite popular in Lebanon and are also known as Sukar bil Tahini.
There are two ways to form the bread. The top photo shows the more authentic technique to get a flakier flatbread. I had never tried rolling dough this way and always enjoy learning new techniques. Roll the dough into a large thin circle. After spreading the filling, form a hole in the center. From that hole, gently and tightly roll the dough outwards to enclose the filling and create a circular rope (Evan called it a “big O”). Depending on the size flatbread you want, cut the circle into 4-6 equal pieces. Gently roll and stretch each piece to increase the length, then coil end to end. Flatten the coil with your hand, then roll out to flatten further until about 1/3 inch thick.
If you don’t want to enclose the filling from the center out, you can also roll the circle up end to end to make a rope. Gently roll and stretch the rope to double the length, then cut into 4-6 equal pieces. Coil and flatten the ropes as mentioned above.
The addition of cinnamon is optional, but adds a nice touch.
After brushing with olive oil, I sprinkled the tops of the rolls with the remaining cinnamon sugar and sesame seeds . This is also optional, but I liked the look of them better with the topping.
Tahini is a sesame seed paste created from ground toasted or raw sesame seeds. It is becoming more readily available in the international or health food section of most larger supermarkets. It is also available on Amazon: Baron’s Kosher 100% Pure Ground Sesame Tahini 16-ounce Jars (Pack of 2) and Achva Organic Tahini, 17.6 Ounce. If you are unable to find it, you can also make your own. I have seen multiple recipes, but have not tried any myself yet.
2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
3/4 cup water, 105-115 degrees F
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 cup tahini (sesame paste)
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon (optional)
Olive oil for brushing
Remaining sugar (with or without cinnamon)
Sesame seeds for sprinkling
In a small bowl, sprinkle yeast over lukewarm water. Let sit for a minute, then stir to combine. Let sit until frothy, about 10 minutes.
In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a dough blade or a large bowl, combine flour, salt, sugar, yeast with water, and olive oil until dough comes together. On a lightly floured surface, knead until smooth and elastic. Lightly grease a large bowl and add the dough, turning to coat. Cover and allow to rest until doubled, about 2 hours.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment or lightly grease. In a small bowl, combine sugar with cinnamon, if using.
Divide the dough into 2 equal pieces. Cover one half. On a lightly floured surface, roll the other half into a large, thin circle. Spread half of the tahini evenly over the circle. Sprinkle with 1/3rd of the cinnamon sugar. There are two ways to form the dough. One way is to create a hole in the center of the circle. Gently, but tightly, roll and stretch the dough from the center hole towards the outside edges. Cut the rope circle into 4-6 equal pieces. The circle can also be rolled end to end, gently stretched/rolled to increase the length, then cut into 4-6 equal pieces.
Gently roll and stretch each piece until it is doubled in length. Coil the rope tightly, end to end, into the shape of a snail. Flatten the coil lightly, then roll into a thin circle 4-5 inches wide, about 1/3 inch thick. Repeat with remaining pieces, then remaining dough half.
Place the rolls 1-2 inches apart on prepared baking sheet. Brush the tops with olive oil. If desired, sprinkle with remaining cinnamon sugar and sesame seeds.
Bake in preheated oven until golden, 12-15 minutes.