Armenian Gata

One of  the  perks  of  living  in  California is   that one  gets  to  experience  different  cultures and cuisines.  Sometime back  I found  these   wonderful sweetbreads   called  Gata  in a  middle  eastern bakery .   A  bit  of  research  led  to  Armenian  Gata .  It is a  sweet  bread ,  almost  like a  pastry .  There are  many regional  variations  of  these.  One  popular  version is   a  bread filled  with  butter  , sugar and  flour .    This is the  one  featured  here .


An internet  search  will  bring  up many version of  gata  recipe – many tied  to  family histories  and  traditions.   All the   recipes  agree on  one  thing  that there is  bread/pastry  and  the  filling .   Some  are  richer  than others  and  some  downright  decadent.   The  one  that   became a  hit  with us   is  a  lightly sweetened   bread   with the  walnut  filling .  I like  the  filling  to be a thin layer , but  feel free  to   double  the   filling  if   you like.   The  standard  filling  , koritz, is  a  simple  mix of  butter , flour   and  sugar . This  unassuming  filling  gives  the  most  delectable  taste and texture .

The   recipe  starts  as  a  standard    sweet  dough  recipe .  Warm 1/4 C  milk  to 110°F or  just  warm to   touch .  Mix one Tbsp  honey  with the   milk  and  sprinkle  the  yeast on top .   Let it   sit  aside  for 5  to  10  minutes    for  the  yeast  to become  bubbly . Use  regular  milk  – not  the   skimmed  varieties .

Take  the  flour in a  large  mixing  bowl . Add  salt  and  sugar  and   stir  to  mix  evenly .  Make a  well  in the  center of   flour mix and  pour  the  activated  yeast   followed  by half  the   remaining  milk  and   the  egg .   Knead  gently for a  minute  till  the   liquid    is  absorbed  by the  flour .  Add the  melted  butter    and  enough  of  the  remaining  milk  to   make  slightly  sticky dough . Cover  and  set  aside  for  10  minutes .

Knead  the   dough    for  10 to  15  minutes   until it  becomes  soft  and  very  pliable .  If  needed  add  a  few  more  drops  of milk or  a few  tablespoons of flour   .   As  always  a  little  wet   dough is  preferable  to  a   dry one .  Form  the  dough into a ball .  Oil  the  bottom  of  a  bowl  and  place   the  dough ball  in it .  Turn  the   dough to coat  all sides   with oil  . Cover  the  bowl  (kitchen  towel  , plastic  wrap  any  airtight lid )  .  Set aside  in a  warm  place  for  it  to   double –  about   1  hr.

While  the   dough is  proofing prepare  the  filling .  In a  bowl    mix  the   sugar  and  flour  with a  pinch of  salt .  Here I have added   finely chopped  walnuts  as  well ,    Mix  well .  Melt  the   butter  for  filling  and  add  it  slowly to the  dry ingredients along  with  vanilla  essence  and  mix  well .  If  you  take  the  filling  in the  palm of  your  hands  and  press  close it   it  should  just  come  together .  Do not  add  water .  If  necessary  add a  bit  more   melted  butter .  Set  aside .


Here is the  filling  without  walnuts .  The  melted butter  should  just bring  together  the  flour  and  sugar mixture .

In  another  bowl   whisk an egg   with 1  tsp of  milk  and  set   aside  for  egg wash .

Once  the  dough has  doubled  in  volume , punch it  down   and  invert  into a  well  floured  kneading  surface .  At  this  point  you   can  choose  to make a  large  single gata or   mini   gatas .   Here I  have  made 3  medium  sized  ones .

Divide  the   dough into  4    pieces  .   Take  one  piece  and  flatten into    about  6″  disc .  Place a third of  the  prepared   filling  at the   center of  the  disc .  bring  up the  sides  of  the   dough   around  the   filling and  pinch it  close .     Using a  rolling  pin    gently roll it  back into  a  disc  about  7 to 8 inch  in diameter .  Transfer to a   baking  sheet .  Repeat    with   2  more  pieces .

Take  the  4th piece  of   dough  and  roll it  out  to a  fairly thin   disc  – 12  to 14  inches in  diameter .   Cut  into thin  strips   and  place  over    the  gata   discs in  a  decorative  pattern.  This is  an optional  step .  It  helps  to have a  nice crust  as  well as  hide any imperfections .

Trim  and   tuck in the   ends of  the  dough  strips   under the  discs .  The  handle of a  dinner spoon / fork   comes  handy  here.   Brush the  tops    with  egg wash   and  use  a  fork  to  poke  holes  on the  top  of  the   breads  as  well .  This is  an important  step as  otherwise  the  filling  might  break  the  top and ooze out .Transfer to  the  oven  pre heated to 375 F  and  bake  for   around  30  minutes  ,  until the  tops  are  dark  golden .

Armenian Gata

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours, 30 minutes

Armenian Gata


Milk - 220 gm (1 C)
Honey - 80 gms (4 Tbsp)
Egg - 1
Yeast - 7 gms (2Tsp)
Salt - 10gm (1Tsp)
Vanilla - 1Tsp
Flour - 500gm (4 C)
Butter - 2Tbsp
Butter - 4Tbsp
Sugar - 1/2 C
Flour - 1/2 C (60 gm)
Walnut - 1/3 C
Salt - a pinch
Egg - 1
Milk - 1Tsp


Warm 1/4 C milk to 110°F or just warm to touch . Mix one Tbsp honey with the milk and sprinkle the yeast on top . Let it sit aside for 5 to 10 minutes for the yeast to become bubbly .

Take salt, flour and sugar in a large mixing bowl and stir to mix evenly . Make a well in the center and pour the activated yeast followed the egg and half of the remaining milk. Knead gently for a minute till the liquid is absorbed by the flour. Add the melted butter and enough of the remaining milk to make slightly sticky dough . Cover and set aside for 10 minutes.

Knead the dough for 10 to 15 minutes till it becomes soft and very pliable . Add few more drops of milk or a few tablespoons of flour if needed. Form the dough into a ball. Place in an oiled bowl, turn the dough to coat all sides with oil . Cover the bowl and set aside in a warm place for it to double - about 1 hr.

In a bowl mix the sugar and flour with a pinch of salt .Melt the butter for filling and add it slowly to the dry ingredients along with the vanilla extract. Mix well till everything comes together. Set aside .

Punch down the dough that has doubled and and invert into a well floured kneading surface. Divide the dough into 4 pieces . Take one piece and flatten into about 6" disc . Place a third of the prepared filling at the center of the disc . Bring up the sides of the dough around the filling and pinch it close . Using a rolling pin gently roll it back into a disc about 7 to 8 inch in diameter . Transfer to a baking sheet . Repeat with 2 more pieces.

Take the 4th piece of dough and roll it out to a fairly thin disc - 12 to 14 inches in diameter . Cut into thin strips and place over the gata discs in a decorative pattern. Trim and tuck in the ends of the dough strips under the discs . Cover and set aside to double in size , about 20 to 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C).Whisk an egg with 1 tsp of milk in a bowl for egg wash .

Brush the tops with egg wash poke holes all over the tops with a fork. When the oven is ready transfer to it and bake for around 30 minutes, until the tops are golden brown .


For a sweeter / richer version double the filling without walnuts. Volume measurements are approximations.


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