Korovai Fruit and Hazelnut Bread: Recipe #192

Korovai is a braided, decorated fruit bread often served at Russian or Ukrainian weddings. This one is filled with raisins, orange peel, cranberries and hazelnuts. The entire bread is lovingly smothered in apricot jam after baking. We adapted the recipe from the Great British Bakeoff cookbook.

This is part of our 1,000 Food Experiments to create sustainable meals for our family and hopefully yours.

Ingredients ($12 total)

4 tsp active dry yeast – $1.60
1 tsp brown sugar – $0.01
1 cup + 1 tbsp hottest tap water – free
7 tbsp softened margarine – $1.09
1 egg – $0.29
1 tbsp vanilla extract – $0.70
1 tbsp almond extract – $0.70
4 cups flour – $0.64
1 1/2 tsp salt – $0.08
1/4 cup apricot jam, warmed and stirred well – $0.64

1/2 cup margarine – $1.24
1/2 cup brown sugar – $0.26
2 cups raisins – $2.00
1/2 cup dried cranberries – $0.96
1/2 cup chopped hazelnuts – $1.75
1/2 cup chopped orange peel – free leftovers

Directions for Korovai

1. Make the dough: in a small non-metal bowl, mix the yeast, 1 tsp brown sugar, and water. Let it sit to form a thick foam for about 5 minutes. In a separate bowl, mix the 7 tbsp margarine, egg, vanilla and almond extracts. And in a larger metal bowl, mix the flour and salt.

Once the yeast has bloomed, add the yeast mixture and the egg mixture to the flour mixture. Stir with a wooden spoon or spatula to bring it into a ball of dough, then knead with your hands for about 5 minutes. Cover the dough in the large metal bowl with cling wrap and let it rise in a warm place for 1 hour until doubled.

2. Make the filling and assemble the breads: In a medium bowl, cream the margarine and sugar, then add the dried fruit and hazelnuts.

When the dough has risen, split it into two balls, 1/3 and 2/3 of the mixture. Roll the larger ball out on a floured board to about 8×12 inches. Cover it evenly with 2/3 of the fruit and nut mixture, then roll it up tightly from the long side into a baguette shape. Cut this down the middle with a sharp knife, then twist the two halves around each other and join the ends together to make a braided circle. The fruit and nuts will end up around the outside.

Repeat with the smaller dough ball, rolling it out to about 6×9 inches and using the remaining 1/3 of the fruit and nut mixture. Cover and let the two braided rings rise in a warm place for 1 hour until about doubled in size.

3. Once the dough rings have risen, bake them at 425F for 10 minutes, then cover with aluminum foil and bake for 20 more minutes.

Cool on a wire rack and smother in the warm apricot jam. Sprinkle with any remaining hazelnut bits. Place the smaller ring of your korovai on top of the larger ring and cut into this delicious breakfast or teatime treat.

Sustainability Score (explained here)

  • Time to make: 1 = >3 hours
  • Servings: 3 = lots of servings
  • Cost per serving: 3 = <$5
  • Deliciousness:  2 = decent meal
  • Environmental impact: 3 = minimal damage
  • Nutritional value: 1 = eat rarely
  • TOTAL: 13/18

If any of you amazing cooks tried it, or have other recipes you’d like us to experiment with, please let me know. Wishing you and your family a healthy, happy day!

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