15th Anniversary Flaounoudes (BBB February 2023)

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BBB: Let's Keep Baking summary: recipe for Flaounoudes (little Flaounes); savoury cheese stuffed pastries; not so wild this time; using commercial yeast; rationing has been imposed: made a quarter recipe; mastic, mahlep, halloumi, using up white sesame seeds; big challenge for the BBBabes’ 15th(!) Anniversary; information about Bread Baking Babes;

I cannot believe this is our 15th Anniversary! …we’ve been baking together for 15 Years!! That’s a lot of bread. Sometimes simple, sometimes challenging. Guess what this month’s is.

Bread Baking Babes (BBB): Cypriot Flaounes

Flaounes pr. flah-OU-ness (singular flaouna) is a traditional Cypriot Easter cheese filled bread.
-Ivy Liacopoulou, Kopiaste | Easter Flaounes (Cypriot Cheese filled Bread)

BBB February 2023

Eschewing “simple” and embracing “challenging”, our ever intrepid Kelly (A Messy Kitchen) chose the recipe for flaounes for our 15th anniversary project.

These rather tricky pastries are traditionally made in Cyprus – and by those of Cypriot ancestry – year round, but especially at Easter. The two ingredients that really set them apart from other pastries are mahlep and mastic.

Flaounes […] are made with an aromatic yeasted phyllo dough, filled with a special Cypriot cheese, called Pafitiko, made during the Easter period especially for flaounes, flavoured with Masticha (mastic resin), mahlepi (mahlab) and mint.
– Ivy Liacopoulou, Kopiaste | Easter Flaounes (Cypriot Cheese filled Bread)
Small, 3 inch, triangle flaounes, called flaouniteses or flaounoudes, can be found year round and are eaten as a snack or appetizer. Larger versions are made during Holy Week, in preparation for Easter.
      These breads are filled with a cheese mixture and seasoned with two unique Greek spices – mastic and mahlepi (mahlab) – as well as mint.
      Mastic gum or resin, also called masticha, is hardened sap harvested from a small evergreen tree, called a mastic. This tree is found mainly on the Greek island of Chios.
      Mastic resin typically comes in small pellets, called ‘tears’, and needs to be ground to a powder before using. It is often used in baked goods, drinks, and even ice-cream.
      Mahlepi (also called mahleb or mahlab) is made from the small pits of wild St. Lucy’s cherries.
– Sarah, Curious Cuisiniere | Cypriot Flaounes (Greek Easter Cheese Bread)

The other ingredient specific to flaounes is Paphitiko cheese. While it might be possible to get Paphitiko at specialty stores outside of Cyprus, Ivy Liacopoulou (Kopiaste) suggests that the following can be substituted: “other Cypriot cheeses such as halloumi or kaskavalli or the Greek cheeses ladotyri Mytilinis, graviera, kefalograviera and some kefalotyri” or “halloumi and/or pecorino and/or mild cheddar and/or romano

If the weather were a little more amenable, we might have tried getting Paphitiko – or if they didn’t have that, Cypriot halloumi – at a Turkish store about a forty minute bike ride from us. The store has a wonderful array of cheeses that are not just from Turkey. (We got a fabulous Bulgarian Kashkaval there in late December, as well as the best pickled hot peppers, and wonderful sour cherry jam.)

By a miracle, we have both mastic gum and mahlep on hand. Non-Cypriot halloumi is readily available at our local grocery store.

That means there was nothing but fear to stop me from making flaounes. Here is what I did to the BBBabes’ February 2023 recipe:

BBB Flaounes diary:

3 January 2023, 15:23 Don’t these look fun! And yay! A use for the mahlab that we have in the freezer. Normally, I would use brown sesame seeds. Alas, we still have white sesame seeds left over from when we couldn’t get the brown ones (what we prefer).

14 January 2023, 10:49 Looking again at the recipe:

8 oz (228 g) halloumi cheese (I used all halloumi)
8 oz (228 g) soft, mild cheddar
– BBB February 2023 recipe

We love halloumi! Sure, it’s not Cypriot halloumi but it’s still really good. I’m thinking that the Kashkaval that we got at our favourite Turkish store would be perfect in place of the cheddar !
Kashkaval cheese, also known as Kaşar cheese in Turkey, is a soft medium mature cheese with strong flavour, yet not as pungent as cheddar cheese.
– theturkishshop.com The Turkish Shop | Kashkaval Cheese – Kaşar

28 January 2023, 09:58 I KNEW we had mahlep in the freezer. But yesterday, as I was just looking for something else, I saw the little container of Mastic GUM! I had forgotten that T got it to make Turkish “elastic” ice cream! (Remind me to show photos of the remarkable elasticity of the ice cream….)

Mastic Gum

A server at my favorite restaurant in Leonidio, a town in the Peloponnese, brings a tray of shot glasses to our table. My friends consume their drinks in one swallow, but I sip mine. It is sweet with a heady, herbal aroma and a light flavor of pine. I have never tasted anything quite like it. This is my introduction to mastiha, a traditional Greek liqueur flavored with mastic, the hardened resin of the mastic tree. Mastic is a little bit of wonder. Thanks to a combination of climate, soil, and careful cultivation, the Greek island of Chios is the only place in the world where the tree exudes its aromatic resin—hence mastic’s Greek nickname, “tears of Chios.” Raw mastic can be crushed and mixed with salt to flavor savory dishes or with sugar for sweets. Mastic imparts its flavor to Easter and Christmas breads, spoon sweets (jams), and various confections. Today, the resin is experiencing a renaissance of sorts and can be found in gourmet ice creams and fine chocolates. The techniques used to harvest mastic haven’t changed much since the days of old. Farmers on Chios carve incisions into the tree and allow the sap to seep onto the bark and eventually harden into droplets that fall to the ground like so many tears.
– Alexis Marie Adams, SAVEUR No.131 (August/September 2010), Ancient Flavor of a Greek Island: Mastic

10 February 2023, 12:54 Eeeek! …once again: just in time. It would be bad to not have a badge for our 15th anniversary, wouldn’t it? I know that the traditional gift is crystal, but did I know that when I was putting the badges together and used copper for the medallion again? Ha. As if.

Happy 15th Anniversary, BBBabes!

I’ll try to be on time with my baking. But I’m afraid I cannot promise. Alas, I’m not managing my schedule very well at all right now. :lalala:

14 February 2023, 15:24 Happy Valentine’s Day!

But. This means that flaounes are due in two days. Typical me. Have I even started? Ha. You’re dreaming.

Last night, after looking at various recipes on the internet, I blanched at the zillions of eggs they all called for. I was blanching so much that I was contemplating saying that the cat ate my homework and so I wouldn’t be able to make these pastries.

But. We DO have mahlep and mastic. And halloumi. It seems a shame not to try. Therefore (notice how I didn’t begin this sentence with “so”?), I will halve the recipe to make just 6.

I’ve also decided to be radical; I will a.) as per the recipe, use commercial instead of wild yeast, and b.) measure by volume. Except for the salt. That, I will measure in grams.

Because, looking at the recipe, the amount of salt in the dough seems on the low side.

4 c (512 g) flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 c olive oil
– BBB February 2023 recipe

Using GourmetSleuth as a guide, I see that 4 cups all-purpose flour weighs 500 grams. 2% of that is 10 grams salt = 1.7 tsp (considerably more than .5 teaspoons…)

For half the recipe, I will add 5 grams (which works out to about 3/4 tsp) of salt. I know. The cheese in the filling adds a fair amount of salt. But we like salt and sweet. Maybe, just maybe, I’ll strike a compromise and add just 4 grams. :lalala:

And then there’s the mint. We have lots of mint in our garden – when it isn’t the dead of winter. Even though it went up to 4C today, I guess it’s not really dead of winter? There is zero mint growing right now.

I don’t think we have any dried mint lying around. I wonder what would be good to use as a substitute. I’m going to make the filling tonight.

23:11 Well. After a discussion about this after dinner, I have decided to quarter the recipe. Because we are both a little nervous about whether we’ll like flaounes at all. And we are both horrible when something doesn’t turn out! But, while I’ve done it in the past, I’m really reluctant to use half an egg. Instead, I decided to follow the lead of several internet bakers who simply omitted the egg. I used yoghurt instead when mixing the filling together. I also decided to use inexpensive mozzarella instead of the sort of pricey (and really delicious) kashkavar.

Working out how to quarter 1/3 cup olive oil was fun…
Let’s see now: {click click click}
1/4 c = 4Tbsp
1 c =16 Tbsp = 48 tsp
Then, 48 divided by 3 = 16. That means half of that would be 8, which is 2 scant Tbsp.
Aha! 1 scant Tbsp of olive oil for a quarter recipe.

I also, miraculously, found a little jar of dried mint! It’s ancient, but it still smells like mint. Into the quarter recipe of filling it went.

It smells fantastic!

Perhaps we will like flaounes after all, and wish that I had made a full recipe.

15 February 2023, 12:33 I’ve now mixed the dough with everything except the salt and a small amount of water – I’ll add that in half an hour. I almost forgot (!!!) to add the mastic because I had neglected to scrawl it on the piece of scrap paper I took to the kitchen. I know it’s considered to be optional, but if we have it, we have to use it, don’t you think?

The other thing I neglected to notice was that the prepared filling was supposed to be in the fridge overnight. Oops!

Late last night as I was making it, along with building up the starter for Tartine-style bread, I made an executive decision to put the starter into the oven with only the light on, but leave the bowl of filling on the counter. Good thing! It means it was semi-refrigerated over night. (Our drafty 100 year old house’s kitchen is around 15C at night right now.)

18:31 I’m just about to go back into the kitchen to see if, by some bizarre twist of fate, my shaped Flaounoudes have suddenly become beautifully risen triangles.

Did you get the subtext there? That’s right. Shaping these things was no picnic. One of them is decidedly untriangular. None of them have a hole in the center to show the cheese filling. …the dough was VERY wet and VERY stretchy.

And the smell of the mastic is VERY strong.

19:18 Amazing. They did rise. But not really dramatically. I went ahead and baked them anyway and just took them out of the oven. They don’t look terrible….

BBB February 2023

Mercifully, the mastic aroma is not quite as pronounced. The flaounoudes simply smell intriguing.

We tasted one of the warm Flaounoudes to go with last night’s dinner of stir-fried rapini, beef stew and biscuits.

We were surprised! The pastry wasn’t terrible at all. Not even remotely. 100% of the resident critics agreed.

February 2023

This morning, we warmed more flaounoudes and had them for breakfast. We added a little sour cherry jam on the side.

Mmmmmm!! Delicious!

February 2023

Thank you, Kelly! Even though this project was such a challenge, it turned out to be a good challenge.

Here is the February 2023 BBB recipe that we were given. And here is what I did to it:

based on Ivy Liacopoulou’s (Kopiaste) and Christina Loucas’ (Afrodite’s Kitchen) recipes for flaounes

makes 6 (4cm x 5cm) flaounoudes (little triangular flaounes)


  • 1/4 teaspoon mastic, crushed to a powder with a pestle
  • 1/4 teaspoon mahleb
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 57 grams halloumi cheese, grated
  • 57 grams mozzarella, grated
  • 1/4 cup Thomspon raisins
  • 2 tablespoons semolina flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder, sifted
  • 1/8 teaspoon dry mint, crushed
  • 2 tablespoons plain yoghurt (to replace 1/2 egg called for)


  • 1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast
  • NO NO NO NO 75 ml water + 2 tablespoons instant milk powder [OR lukewarm milk, divided]
  • 38 ml water + 1 tablespoons instant milk powder [OR lukewarm milk, divided]
  • 1/4 teaspoon mastic gum, crushed
  • 1/4 teaspoon mahleb
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 cup unbleached “no-additives” all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 1 tablespoon wheat germ
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder, sifted
  • 2 grams salt
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil


  • milk (in place of 1/2 egg, beaten)
  • sesame seeds
  1. Filling: On the evening before the day you will be baking the flaounes, in a smallish bowl, mix the filling ingredients together, making sure to have crushed the mastic, mahleb, and sugar in a mortar and pestle before adding the grated cheeses and the rest of the ingredients. Cover the cheese filling closely with plastic, followed by a plate, and leave overnight on the counter if it’s cool at night (or in the fridge if it’s warm).
  2. Dough: On the morning of the day you will be baking the flaounes,
    • if you have refrigerated the filling, bring it out onto the counter to come to room temperature.
    • Whisk yeast and 10 ml 5 ml of the water in a small bowl. Set aside as you prepare the rest of the dough.
    • Put the mastic gum, mahlab and sugar into the bottom of a bowl large enough for the final dough to triple. Use a pestle to crush the mastic into a powder. Add wheat germ. Sift the flour and baking powder overtop than pour in 55 ml 30 ml water and the olive oil. Use a dough whisk (or wooden spoon) to mix everything together into a rough dough. Cover the bowl with a plate and leave to rest for about 30 minutes.
    • adding the salt: In a small bowl, whisk the salt into 10 ml 3 ml of water. Pour the salt mixture over the dough.
  3. Kneading: Use one of your hands to squoosh the salt water into the dough; use the other hand to steady the bowl – this way you always have a clean hand. At first the dough might be a bit messy and seem like it’s coming apart. Persevere. Suddenly, it will seem more like dough than weirdly folded, slimy glop. Keep folding it over onto itself until it is relatively smooth. Cover the bowl with a plate and leave to rest for about 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, repeat this step 1 more time. Cover the bowl with a plate and leave to rest until the dough has almost doubled.
  4. Shaping and adding sesame seeds: Gently turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board.
    • Cover the bottom of a small plate with a single layer of sesame seeds. Spray with water.
    • Cut the dough evenly into 5 pieces. Cover all but one of the pieces with an overturned bowl. Use a rolling pin to roll the uncovered piece of dough into a thin round that is about 3 millimeter thick. Carefully place the round of dough onto the sesame seeds to completely cover the bottom of the round with sesame seeds. Spoon one sixth of the filling into the center of the round. Then fold the sides of the circle over the filling to form – do as I say, not as I did – an OPEN triangle. You want to make sure there is an opening at the top. It doesn’t have to be huge…. If the dough seems not to be sticking, lightly press the corners with your thumb, or the tines of a fork. Place the triangle onto a parchment covered cookie sheet.
    • Repeat, until you have 6 triangles. If there are leftover sesame seeds, scoop them up as best you can and scatter them evenly over the shaped triangles. Cover with a clean tea towel and leave to rise for about 40 minutes, until they are somewhat puffy.
  5. Preheat the oven: Turn the oven to 400F.
  6. Baking: Just before putting the flaounes into the oven, brush each one with milk. Put the tray onto the center rack of the oven, and immediately turn the oven down to 375F. Bake the flounes for about 30 minutes, until they are dark gold in colour.

Serve warm (they can be reheated in a slow toaster oven) with sour cherry jam, or as Kelly suggested with “honey and cinnamon for a sweet treat or olives and sliced meat for savory“.


edit 18 February 2023

halving/quartering the recipe: It’s probably a good idea to double-check calculations, especially if they have been made late at night. When I supposedly halved the recipe, I managed to forget to changed the milk amount for the dough. Which meant that when I supposedly quartered the recipe, I managed to put HALF the amount of milk, rather than a QUARTER of the amount into the dough. Hence the ridiculously wet dough I made.

For the above recipe, the amount of milk in the dough should have been a total of 38 ml, to make a dry dough. This would likely create quite a dry dough and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if I wouldn’t have added an extra 5 or so millilitres more milk….


BBB February 2023

I have to be truthful. While we really liked eating these pastries, I may not be making them again soon. They are a little finicky. However, I love the dough flavoured with mastic and mahlep, and am very tempted to follow Christina Loucas’ (Afrodite’s Kitchen) advice to make Eliopita (Olive Bread) with it, using a filling of “pitted and chopped olives (Kalamata, Moroccan, Royal are recommended), onion, olive oil, and mint. We could serve halloumi and/or Kashkaval on the side. :-) :-)

edit 18 February 2023: After reading the other BBBabes’ reports, I was surprised to see mention after mention that the dough was not wet. I commented to Karen K,
me: The dough isn’t very wet, eh? (Perhaps I didn’t measure correctly….)
KK: I was wondering about that! My dough wasn’t sticky at all.
me: I just looked at my calculations (ermmm, miscalculations) again and see that I neglected to quarter the amount of milk and used the amount for half the recipe. Ooops!!

Thank you, Karen, for showing me the error of my ways.


Bread Baking Babes BBB 15th Anniversary: February 202315th Anniversary: Cypriot Flaounes

Kelly is hosting February 2023’s Bread Baking Babes’ 15th Anniversary project. She wrote:

I’ve been curious about flaounes since seeing them on Great British Bake-off years ago, and especially since I have mastic and mahleb on hand. Mahleb, which is made from the small pits of wild St. Lucy’s cherries, is just such a delightful aroma. I should add it to more things. Very lightly
almondy and sweet with a hint of floral note. […] As for the mastic, it has a not so subtle resin aroma, like pine sap. […]
Flaounes are a traditional Easter pastry since milk and eggs were not eaten during the fasting season of Lenten before Easter. So in order to preserve
the 40 days of milk that was not being drunk, people made cheese and the eggs were simply stored in a cool place.
Feel free to use whatever recipe you like.
– Kelly, excerpt of message to BBBabes

We know you’ll want to use mastic and mahlep to make flaounes too! To receive a Bread Baking Buddy Badge to display on your site: make yeasted corn bread in the next couple of weeks and post about it (we love to see how your bread turns out AND hear what you think about it – what you didn’t like and/or what you liked) before the 27 February 2023. If you do not have a blog, no problem; you can also post your picture(s) to Flickr (or any other photo sharing site) and record your thoughts about the bread there. Please remember to contact the Kitchen of the Month to say that your post is up.

Please note that it’s not enough to post about your bread in the Facebook group. Because of the ephemeral nature of Facebook’s posts, your FB post may be lost in the shuffle. Please make sure to directly contact the kitchen of the month if you want to be included in the BBBuddy roundup.

For complete details about this month’s recipe, the BBB and how to become a BBBuddy, please read:

Please take a look at the other BBBabes’ February 2023 flaounes:


Cyprus Easter Cheese Bread, (“Flaounes”) play an incredibly important role in Cypriot cuisine. Since I was a little girl I remember my mom’s best friend and my mom getting together once a year to make heaps of “flaounes”. I remember the labour of love that would go into making “flaounes”. How the preparations started the night before, and how baking would start early in the morning. How the dough would be wrapped in baby blankets to keep it warm. It wasn’t just my household though. Much the same occurs in all Cypriot households that make “flaounes”. It’s an annual tradition that often brings together families for a day of baking, still to this day.
I always make extra dough when making “flaounes” so that I can also make a few “eliopittes” [Olive Bread]
– Christina Loucas, Afrodite’s Kitchen | No-Fail Modern Cyprus Easter Bread (Flaouna)

BBB February 2023

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6 responses to “15th Anniversary Flaounoudes (BBB February 2023)

  1. Kelly (A Messy Kitchen)

    Oh hooray! A positive reaction from resident critic is a thing indeed. But I promise I will not be quite so intrepid next time I host. Maybe…

    edit 17 February 2023, 17:38: Promises! Promises! :lalala: – Elizabeth
    (Yes, a positive reaction from both overly critical critics is a BIG thing. Many thanks again for making me do this project.)

  2. Cathy (Bread Experience)

    Your triangular flaounes look great! I’m so glad everyone in your household enjoyed them. And can you believe it’s been 15 years already?

    edit 17 February 2023, 17:40: Thank you, Cathy! I’m really glad too. It’s so stressful to make something that one worries will be rejected. And no, I can’t really believe it; I really felt that I was making an error to type “15 years”…. – Elizabeth

  3. Katie Zeller (Thyme for Cooking)

    You lost me at blanching eggs….. Warm for breakfast with sour cherry jam sounds wonderful!

    edit 17 February 2023, 17:43: You know me and eggs, Katie. :stomp: And yes! The sour cherry jam is brilliant! It pretty much goes with everything. I sure wish we had a sour cherry tree in our back garden so we could make jars and jars and jars of jam from it. – Elizabeth

    1. Katie Zeller (Thyme for Cooking)

      The best thing about sour cherry trees – the birds leave them alone. We had one at our last house lol

      edit 18 February 2023, 13:02: I wonder if the squirrels would leave the cherries alone. (I somehow doubt it. Squirrels here are multiple and ravenous.) – Elizabeth

  4. Karen (Karen's Kitchen Stories)

    “So,” I did notice! Ha ha. I halved the recipe. With just two of us, and not being sure if they would taste okay. … I like your idea of making them smaller.

    edit 17 February 2023, 18:48: Yeah, so {snort} I hoped you would have noticed, Karen!
    You are brave to have halved the recipe. I was going to as well but decided it would safer to quarter it. (Hmmm, maybe that’s why the dough was so wet.)
    – Elizabeth

  5. Judy (Judy's Gross Eats)

    Yours turned out beautifully! I had no issues with the dough or assembly, but, sadly, the bitter taste was too overwhelming to overcome. I assume it was the mastic, which I hadn’t used before. Ah well, perhaps a re-bake using alternate flavorings.

    edit 22 February 2023, 18:13: Considering that I used twice too much milk, Judy, it’s a miracle that they turned out at all! And I know what you mean about the mastic. I was quite nervous before the flaounes went into the oven. The piney smell was overwhelming. But then there was the other surprise: they tasted fine! – Elizabeth


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