When I hung up the phone with Kathy, all I could think of was, “What did I get myself into?” I had just accepted to make a three-tier korovai with baked-on decorations – something I had never tried before. Here’s the inspiration picture… no biggie:
The inspiration photo for the korovai I agreed to make this summer
It’s not the first time I got asked to make a korovai in this particular style, and I’m glad I finally gave in. Kathy had been looking for someone to make such a korovai six years ago, for her eldest daughter’s wedding. She couldn’t find anyone in Canada, and she even looked into having a korovai brought in from Ukraine. Now that her second daughter is getting married in July, she got really excited when I (hesitantly) agreed to make her this korovai. I thought, “At least I have a few months’ time to research and experiment with this technique.”
A day after my conversation with Kathy, coincidentally, I came across this inspirational quote:
If somebody offers you an amazing opportunity but you are not sure you can do it, say yes – then learn how to do it later!
– Sir Richard Branson
This is just what I needed to get out of my comfort zone, and it gave me that boost of confidence.
I spent many evenings poring over YouTube videos from Ukraine, bakery websites and blogs, and yet, I still haven’t figured out how to make “pipable” dough to draw the scrolls on the sides. I tried three different unleavened dough recipes for the decorations and always came back to my original one, which I find is the most workable (the salt dough I tried was tough and I gave up – I don’t know why people recommend it). I used a simple mixture of egg whites and water to “glue” the decorations on the bread. And I figured I’d dry out the bread first so that it wouldn’t shrink more once the decorations were on. A few evenings of work, some serious trial and error, and an earnest Hail Mary as it went in the oven led to this:
My first korovai with baked-on decorations
Here are a few more close-ups of the details:
Thank you, Kathy, for your vote of confidence! I am now excited to tell her that I feel a lot more confident making her the three level korovai she wants. I am looking forward to taking on this project and I can’t wait to share it with you in a few months’ time!
I also thought I’d let you know that this korovai is up for grabs. Message me if you are interested to make it yours.