Shoreek (Egyptian Sugared Rolls)

published Apr 5, 2023
Shoreek (Egyptian Sugared Brioche Rolls) Recipe

These fluffy, buttery rolls dotted with crunchy sugar are perfect for Orthodox Easter or a celebration of everyday, with a cup of coffee or tea.

Makes12 (3-inch) rolls

Prep1 hour

Cook30 minutes to 35 minutes

Jump to Recipe
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Shoreek buns on dinner plate.
Credit: Kelli Foster

At Easter, I didn’t grow up with the Easter bunny and chocolate egg hunts. Instead, I grew up following a strict vegan fast for Lent, going to church three days in a row, and eating a midnight feast on Easter Saturday — the major events that mark Orthodox Easter in the Coptic Egyptian community. But on Sunday, once all the obligations were complete, my mom would bake us buttery shoreek — slightly sweet, fluffy rolls sprinkled with crunchy brown sugar. (When my mother was feeling extra cute, she would form them into a braided nest with a colorfully dyed egg placed in the center.) 

While shoreek are especially eaten at Easter time by Christian Egyptians, they are generally eaten by everyone year-round. Although shoreek are not well-known globally, they’re incredibly popular within Egypt, where you can find them in most bakeries and pastry shops. They are loved by all because they’re not too sweet, and can fill you up and keep you satisfied. Shoreek are great for breakfast or as an afternoon snack with a cup of milky tea or coffee. While they are perfect as-is, a sprinkle of cinnamon or a drizzle of honey butter over the top is sublime. 

Credit: Kelli Foster

If You’re Making Shoreek, a Few Tips

The process of making shoreek is easy, even for non-bakers like myself.

  • Make sure your yeast is active. To make sure your active dry yeast works, test it by blooming it in a glass of lukewarm milk before you start. 
  • Be patient when kneading the dough. Kneading your dough will transform it into a smooth, workable ball. Just be patient and add flour sparingly. The dough is ready when it has a little bit of stretch and can become slightly translucent without tearing easily.
Credit: Kelli Foster

Shoreek (Egyptian Sugared Brioche Rolls) Recipe

These fluffy, buttery rolls dotted with crunchy sugar are perfect for Orthodox Easter or a celebration of everyday, with a cup of coffee or tea.

Prep time 1 hour

Cook time 30 minutes to 35 minutes

Makes 12 (3-inch) rolls

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 8 tablespoons

    (1 stick) unsalted butter, plus more for the baking sheets

  • 1 cup

    whole or 2% milk, plus more for brushing

  • 1/2 cup

    packed light brown sugar, plus more for sprinkling

  • 1 tablespoon

    active dry yeast

  • 1

    large egg

  • 1 teaspoon

    vanilla extract

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • 4 cups

    cake flour, plus more as needed

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    baking powder

  • 1 tablespoon

    white sesame seeds (optional), divided

  • Vegetable or sunflower oil, for oiling the bowl

Instructions

  1. Cut 1 stick unsalted butter into 1/2-inch pieces and let sit at room temperature until softened.

  2. Heat 1 cup whole or 2% milk in the microwave until lukewarm, about 20 seconds. Pour into a large bowl, add 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar and 1 tablespoon active dry yeast, and whisk until the sugar is dissolved.

  3. Add the butter, 1 large egg, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, and 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt. Whisk until combined, the butter will still be clumpy. Add 4 cups cake flour and 1/2 teaspoon baking powder, and stir with a flexible spatula until a sticky, shaggy dough forms.

  4. Scrape the dough, including any floury bits, onto a work surface. Knead with your hands until smooth, no longer sticky, and a bit stretchy, 15 to 20 minutes. If dough is too sticky to work with you can add a little more flour after you’ve kneaded for 5 minutes, but a little patience with kneading will eventually result in a workable and smooth ball of dough. A test is to stretch a little piece of dough: If it tears immediately, it’s not yet ready, but if it has a little bit of stretch and can become slightly translucent without tearing, it’s ready.

  5. Lightly oil a large bowl with vegetable or sunflower oil. Transfer the dough into the bowl. Place a few more drops of oil on top of the dough and use your fingers to spread it all over the top to prevent the top from drying out and forming a skin. Cover the bowl and let the dough rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 1 1/2 hours. Meanwhile, coat 2 rimmed baking sheets with butter.

  6. Divide the dough into 12 portions (about 3 1/2 ounces each), then form each into a ball. Working with one ball at a time, shape into a spiral: Roll it against the work surface with your fingertips from the center out into a rope about 11 inches long. Starting at one end, coil it tightly until you reach the other end to form a spiral; tuck the end underneath the spiral.

  7. Place the spirals rolls onto the baking sheets, spacing them evenly apart. Cover with a towel and let rise until slightly puffed, about 40 minutes. Meanwhile, arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F.

  8. Uncover one sheet of the rolls and lightly brush with milk, then sprinkle lightly with light brown sugar. Sprinkle with 1 1/2 teaspoons white sesame seeds if using.

  9. Bake until the rolls are golden brown, rotating the baking sheet halfway through, 15 to 16 minutes total. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and immediately brush the rolls lightly with more milk. Transfer to a large plate in a single layer. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let sit for 10 minutes so that they steam slightly and become more soft. Meanwhile, top and bake the remaining rolls. Serve warm.

Recipe Notes

Substitutions: You can use 1/2 cup vegetable oil instead of butter.

Make ahead: The rolls can be frozen after they have baked and cooled in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature, about 2 hours. Reheat in a microwave until warmed through, about 20 seconds.

Storage: Let the rolls cool to room temperature, then store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.