Korovai is a traditional Ukrainian bread baked for weddings and anniversaries. Like in many other Eastern-European cuisines, it symbolizes family union. The recipes and decorations vary from region to region and depend on the occasion. See recipe notes for more information.
Experimenting ith Other Shapes and Sizes
Easter bread baking week notes and pictures of the last batch with shaping experiments: Decorated Kulich shape 400g, 6″ D x 4″ H paper mold
Small Flower 200g, 5″ D x 1″ H paper mold, 11 petals 2 1/2″ D dough rounds (the sides should be no higher than 1/3″ to let the “flower petals” open up
Flower 300g, all petals 1 1/2″D, 1 3/4″ sides only rises up with the dough, do not use in the future, bottom is a must for petals to open up
For petals to open in a mold with 1″ H sides, dough rounds should be larger, about ~3-3 1/2″ D.
Measure all ingredients and bring them to room temperature. Make a dough starter. In a bowl, combine yeast, 250g flour, 1 tbsp sugar, and milk. Cover with plastic wrap, and let rise at room temperature for about 30 minutes.
In a separate bowl, using a stand mixer with a whisk attachment, beat eggs, salt, and sugar until light and pale yellow, for about 5 minutes. Fold eggs foam into the dough starter from step 1.
Mix vanilla seeds, lemon zest, orange zest, rum, and melted butter. Fold into the dough starter from step 2 until well combined.
Add the remaining flour and knead dough until smooth and elastic. Transfer the dough to a large bowl, and cover with a plastic wrap. Let it rise at room temperature until double in size, for 1 to 2 hours. (Meanwhile, make dough for decorations. See instructions below.)
Lightly grease 10" baking dish with butter. Divide the dough into two equal portions. One portion will be a center of the bread; the other — a braided border.
Shape one portion of the dough into a ball and place in the center of the baking pan.
Divide the second half of the dough into three equal portions, roll each one into a rope, ~36" long. Braid them and arrange the braid around the ball on the baking pan. Make sure there is about 1/2" space between the ball and the braid.
Cover with turned upside-down big bowl and let it rise in room temperature for about 1 hour. (Meanwhile, shape decorations. See instructions below.)
Mix all ingredients and knead dough. Cover with plastic wrap and let flour properly hydrate for about 45 minutes to 1 hour.
After an hour, the dough is very smooth and elastic. Work with small portions of dough at a time, keep the rest covered with plastic wrap. Shape all decorative elements and keep them in a covered container.
Preheat oven 350F. For the best results, use a baking stone and 12" clay cloche. Make an egg wash and brush the bread dough with it.
Arrange decorative elements. Brush the bread dough and the decorations with the egg wash for the second time.
Bake (preferably under the hot cloche) for 45-50 minutes. When baked, carefully remove the bread from the baking pan, wrap in a cotton kitchen towel, and let cool on a rack.
The following list includes some of the symbols used on a traditional paska:
Triangle: the Trinity
Fish: Christ, the fisherman
Sun: life, growth, and good fortune
Flowers: love, charity, and goodwill
Wheat: good health and wishes for a good harvest
Evergreens: health and eternal youth
Cross: the death and the resurrection of Christ
Eight-pointed star: the sun god
Birds: fertility and wish-fulfillment
Dots: stars in the heavens
Deer, horses, and rams: prosperity
Waves and ribbons circling an egg: eternity
Pussy willows: Palm Sunday
Pine branches and trees: youth and health
Acorns: fertilitySource: KOROVAI and PASKA (DOUGH) RECIPESUkrainian Wedding and Anniversary Bread, Korovai on PintrestПриготування короваюАзбука Смаку: Коровай (traditional)