Ukrainian Sweet Braid

Булка

Preparation info

  • 2

    Loaves
    • Difficulty

      Easy

Appears in

A Taste of Russia

A Taste of Russia

By Darra Goldstein

Published 1983

  • About

Honey often figures as a temptation in Nikolai Gogol’s Ukrainian tales. In one tale, “Viy,” some young seminarians visit a marketplace, where they are lured by a stunning array of home-baked goods. The peasant women cajole them to buy bread, one offering her special poppy-seed buns, another claiming that her loaf has been sweetened with real honey. The recipe below is for a typical Ukrainian sweet loaf, one even the strictest seminarian cannot resist.

Ingredients

  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • Pinch of sugar
  • ¼ cup warm water
  • ½ cup whole milk
  • 8 tablespoons butter, cut into bits
  • 3 whole eggs, beaten
  • ½ cup honey
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Grated rind of 1 lemon
  • 6 to 7 cups (all-purpose) flour
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • Blanched sliced almonds

Method

Dissolve the yeast and sugar in the warm water until bubbly.

Scald the milk; stir in the butter and let cool to lukewarm. Then add the milk mixture to the yeast, along with the eggs, honey, sour cream, salt and lemon rind. Stir in the flour, ½ cup at a time, adding enough to make a soft dough.

Turn the dough out onto a floured board and knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning dough to grease the top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 2 hours,

Punch down the dough and let rise again until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.

Turn the dough out onto a floured board and divide it in half. Divide each half into three balls of equal size. Roll each ball out between your palms into a rope about 12 inches long. Braid three ropes together, and place the loaf on a greased baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining dough.

Cover the loaves and let rise until doubled in bulk, about 40 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Brush the loaves with a glaze made by beating the egg yolk with the water. Sprinkle the almonds over the loaves.

Bake for 35 minutes, or until nicely browned on top.