Holy Bread (Qurban)

This sweet (holy)  bread is just good! According to Chef Ramzi, in The Culinary Heritage of Lebanon, this recipe is at least 100  years old; how about dating  back to the  Byzantine period?

In the town of Deir el Qamar in the Shouf where  our family originates,we  would buy this sweet bread at the store; usually, we’d finish it before getting home.

It has no eggs, but all the best  flavorings, mastic, mahlab, orange blossom and rose water, nutmeg and some milk. For the sake of authenticity, I used  a mold I got online from a purveyor of Greek-based goods, as it is the same mold used in Lebanon.  It has an inscription in Greek Christ is risen or something like that; ( I don’t read Greek!). According to Chef Ramzi, this holy bread recipe is from the Greek-Catholic church in Lebanon. It represents the body of Christ and is distributed at church, sold in  stores and bakeries; traditionally it was  made at home on certain occasions and given to the priest to bless, keep some and give out  the rest.


  • 6  cups of flour
  • 1 1/2  cups of sugar
  • 4  tablespoons of butter, soft (optional)
  • 1  1/2 tablespoons  of dry  yeast, 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 6 pebbles of mastic, ground with a teaspoon of sugar in a marble mortar (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon mahlab (can substitute ground anise, or cinnamon)
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 1/8 cup orange blossom water
  • 1/8 cup of rose water
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg


  1. Proof the yeast in 1/4 cup of water warmed at 110F and a dash of sugar.
  2. Mix the flour with the sugar, mahlab, ground mastic, nutmeg, dash of salt and baking powder.
  3. Add the rose and blossom water in a small container.  Measure the milk and let it sit at room temperature or make sure it is not too cold. Ideally, you want it at 110F.
  4. Place the flour mixture in a mixing bowl and add the yeast, milk and rose water mixture and mix the  dough until  smooth. Let it rest one hour.
  5. Divide the risen dough into small balls. Let them rise 2 hours.
  6. Shape the balls into flattened disks and  let rise one hour.
  7. Sift a thin layer of flour on the disks and press the mold firmly on each disk.
  8. With a toothpick, poke each disk 5 times all around to help prevent it swelling up while baking. (5 times to symbolize Christ who was nailed 5 times to the cross)
  9. Let the disks rest and  preheat the oven to  400F  or you can also use your gas grill, making sure the disks are placed on a heavy-bottomed sheet.
  10. Bake the bread for 10 minutes or so until golden.

Coptic molds

The Coptic church uses a bread that is simply made up of the following  ingredients:

  • 4 cups of unbleached flour
  • 2 1/4 teaspoon dry yeast (1 packet)
  • 1 cup water
  • 4 tablespoons sugar

Use the same method.

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  1. George
    Posted August 12, 2012 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

    Okay Thanks I want to do it soon.
    Thanks so much for answering

  2. George
    Posted August 12, 2012 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

    Also please send me the ink to the new post for the Coptic Bread.

    Thanks again and God Bless

  3. George
    Posted September 12, 2012 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

    It is George again. Were you able to find the information about the Coptic bread?

  4. Joumana
    Posted September 12, 2012 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

    @George: I was able to get in touch with a Coptic friend (the one who lent me the molds for the cookies) just recently and she is going to look into it. I will let you know if I get more info.

  5. George Mikhail
    Posted October 21, 2012 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

    Were you able to find the recipe for the Coptic qourban?

  6. George
    Posted October 21, 2012 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

    Were you able to find out anything on the Holy Coptic Bread???

  7. Souad Der Ohannessia
    Posted June 10, 2013 at 6:48 am | Permalink

    Many thanks for your korban recipe, my husband passed away on the 15 of June 2012,and I wanted to bake the authentic Lebanese korban for his 1 year remembrance mass, searched the net for a while, then found your website,
    Many thanks for your contribution, a fellow Lebanese, may God bless you and reward you, for your help,
    With gratitude,
    S Der Ohannessian.

  8. Joumana
    Posted June 10, 2013 at 6:52 am | Permalink

    @Souad: It is my pleasure, so glad you found it! (the search bar on this blog is defective)

  9. Posted September 20, 2013 at 4:42 am | Permalink

    qurban ?

  10. Suzanne
    Posted April 28, 2014 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for this recipe, but it isn’t for qurban exactly. We Melkites do not put milk or butter in the eucharistic bread. The bread used for the Holy Eucharist is a simple yeast bread which, beyond yeast, flour, water, and salt, may only contain sugar, mahlab and/or blossom water at the most to make it sweet. This recipe looks delicious, but is more like “Ka’ik bi-haleeb,” or “sweetbread with milk,” which is more of a special treat, esp. for children, and is not appropriate to use as the bread that becomes the Body and Blood of Jesus during the Divine Liturgy. It looks like a great ka’ik recipe though! Thanks for sharing.

  11. Joumana
    Posted April 28, 2014 at 10:04 pm | Permalink

    @Suzanne: Thanks for your input! I was actually brought up in the Melkite rite and did not have time to ask the priest :) I will see if I can come up with a recipe from the Melkite church next time :)

5 Trackbacks

  1. By Holy bread on June 26, 2010 at 10:33 am

    [...] This is a recipe I posted already here. [...]

  2. By Mastic on March 18, 2011 at 5:43 pm

    [...] is added to custards, jams and puddings, like muhallabieh or ashtalieh. It is added to breads, like holy breads. It is added in the marinade of [...]

  3. By Holy bread | Food Recipes on July 5, 2012 at 6:02 pm

    [...] This is a recipe I posted already here. [...]

  4. By Taste of Beirut – Holy bread on September 7, 2014 at 1:23 pm

    […] This is a recipe I posted already here. […]

  5. By Taste of Beirut – Mastic on September 8, 2014 at 12:59 pm

    […] is added to custards, jams and puddings, like muhallabieh or ashtalieh. It is added to breads, like holy breads. It is added in the marinade of […]

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