Boulou - Middle Eastern Fruit Bread
Updated: Feb 13, 2021
Boulou is a Lybian Jewish fruit bread. Well, it’s somewhere between bread and pastry. The first time I tried Boulou was years ago when I was visiting my Auntie in Israel. I am not a fan of anise-flavoured food or drinks or fennel in general but Boulou quickly became my favourite! It has a rich flavour indeed, however, the combination with the other ingredients makes is delightful. I love the dried berries and the chopped apricot, they make Boulou colourful and festive. We usually enjoy it as a treat with a cup of tea or coffee but often this is our breakfast along with some fresh fruit. ❤️
Prep time + resting: 1 h
Total time: 1h 40 min
Servings: 2 or 3 loaves
INGREDIENTS · 225g plain flour · 180-200ml milk or plant-based milk · 8g dried yeast · 80g sugar · 100g butter (melted) · 2 egg yolks · 20ml anise-flavoured aperitif, for example, Arak or Ouzo (optional) · 1 tsp vanilla and/or almond extract · 1 tbsp lemon zest · ½ cup dried (cranberry, raisins, goji, etc) · ½ cup apricot (chopped) · 2 tbsp fennel seeds · 1 tbsp nigella seeds · 1 tbsp vegetable oil · 1 egg yolk slightly beaten for brushing
· sesame seeds for decoration
METHOD 1. Warm up the milk of your choice. Make sure it’s lukewarm only, not hot. Mix the flour, dry yeast, and sugar in a large bowl. Then add the 2 egg yolks, anise-flavoured drink (if using), melted butter, lemon zest, and your choice of flavouring and start kneading with your hand or an electric hand mixer with kneaders. 2. Gradually add the milk and continue kneading until the pastry separates from the bowl and your hands. You may not need all the milk but make sure that the dough is soft to touch. 3. At this point you can add the dried fruit, the fennel and the nigella seeds as well making sure that it is all well combined. 4. Cover the bowl with a clean kitchen towel and leave the dough to rest for at least half an hour in a warm place. 5. Prepare a tray with parchment paper, then rub the vegetable oil between the palms of your hands and divide the dough into 2 or 3. This time I divided mine into 2 larger parts. 6. Work with one dough ball at a time and start shaping it into a baguette form and place it on the baking tray. Repeat as necessary, making sure that there’s space left between the ‘loaves’ as the dough will continue to rise.
7. Brush the top of the Boulou loaves with the egg yolk and let them rest for another 10-15 minutes. In the meantime, preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4.
8. Brush the loaves once more with the egg yolk and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Finally, score the top of each loaf slightly, and pop in the oven. Bake for about 40 minutes.
9. Remove from the oven and leave the Boulou loaves to cool slightly. Bon Appetit!
Tip: Brushing the loaves twice will give this beautiful ‘marble’ finish to the loaves.
My other favourite recipe from my Auntie are these Oat and Chocolate Chip Cookies with Dried Fruit 🍪
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