Ukrainian korovai (wedding bread) recipe

Since old times a traditional wedding korovai has been considered the symbol of fertility and family happiness, a step from careless single life to the one full of responsibility. A home-made wedding bread is a great gift for spouses to be from loving relatives.


To bake a traditional Ukrainian korovai prepare:

  • flour – 7-9 glasses;
  • yeast powder – 20 g;
  • oil or drawn butter – 100 g;
  • milk – ½ glass (water or water mixed with milk might be used instead);
  • eggs – 10 pieces;
  • salt – 2 tsp.;
  • sugar – 6-8 tbsp.;
  • cinnamon, lemon zest, vanilla sugar – to one’s taste;
  • nuts, raisins and other fillers.

One should keep in mind that the bigger korovai is the happier marriage will be. That is why the proportion of ingredients may go up.

ukrainian korovai recipe

How to make brew

Step by step recipe for brew:

  • Pour a glass of warm milk (or water) into a bowl. Milk must not be too hot.
  • Dissolve yeast powder in it.
  • Add a tbsp. of sugar and mix properly.
  • Slowly sieve a glass of flour into a bowl. Dough must be as tough as for fritters.
  • Put a little flour on top of brew and cover with a towel. Leave it for an hour or an hour and a half. Take it out when it rises.

Making dough

To prepare dough for korovai:

  • Separate egg yolks from whites.
  • Mix yolks with sugar and add the blend to the brew/
  • Whisk egg whites.
  • Melt butter or get oil ready.
  • Make a hollow in flour, put brew with yolks, butter, egg whites and salt in.
  • Knead dough well adding more flour until it is smooth – it will take about half an hour.
  • When all is done put the mass in a container and leave it in a warm place for two hours.

How to bake korovai

After preparing the dough for baking you need to form bread. Here are the instructions:

  • separate 500-600 g of dough for future decorations;
  • form a ball from the rest;
  • cover an oven tray with baking paper, put the ball and damp it with water;
  • heat the oven to 200 degrees;
  • think of decorations for korovai and form them from the dough left;
  • when decoration is done mix a yolk with water and smear the bread top to make it browned;
  • put the dish in oven;
  • cover with foil and reduce temperature to 180 degrees once the bread browns;
  • bake korovai for an hour or more.

how to make ukrainian wedding bread

Bread decoration

There are two ways of decorating wedding bread. The first one was given above. In this case there is a risk that all elements will flow and blur. Another option is to put decoration items 10-15 minutes before wedding bread is ready. It will guarantee clear-cut shapes.

How to make nice elements from dough:

  • Viburnum bunch – roll thick balls and cut them in halves, attach hemispheres to the top forming bunches.
  • Wreath or braid put edgewise prevent dough from flowing. Make 3 long cords, connect one edge, then braid it around and fix with a pick.
  • To make ears of wheat form a cord of dough. It should be narrow at one end and wide at the other. Cut the wide end with scissors forming small grains.
  • To prepare roses roll out 3-4 thin plates. Roll the first one, wrap the other two around slightly folding the edges.
  • In order to make birds form an oval, then roll out a flat and form wings and a tail. Make small cuts imitating feathers.

Useful tips

When korovai is in the oven don’t open it trying to check if it is ready. The bread might settle.

To make decoration items of contrasting color don’t smear them with yolk before baking.

Good mood and love are necessary for making wedding bread. If you feel ill or annoyed better leave it for later.

Spread a little butter on top of korovai after it cools down. Cover it with paper towels and leave for the night.

Sweet dough will get golden or brown while baking; sugarless dough will remain light.

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