This recipe is for a decorative vegan bread, baked with no oil or butter, suitable for a Slava or Imenden (Holy Saint days) that falls within the fasting periods.
- 2 packets of active dry yeast
- 1 teaspoon of white sugar
- 2 1/2 cups of warm water
- 6 cups of plain flour
- 1 tablespoon of salt
- 1 cup of plain white flour
- 1/4 cup of warm water
1. Sprinkle yeast over 1/4 cup warm water. Add a teaspoon of sugar and stir until dissolved. Leave to rise.
2. Combine 5 1/2 cups of flour and 1 tablespoon of salt in a large bowl and make a well in the centre.
3. Pour in yeast and remaining warm water. Optional: add a few drops of holy water. Combine well.
4. Sprinkle remaining flour over a chopping board and knead dough for 10 minutes, adding as little additional flour as possible to the board. Dough should be soft but not too sticky.
5. Put dough into a large bowl, cover with a cloth, and let rise in a warm place until double in size.
6. Sprinkle board with a little flour, punch dough down and knead for 15 minutes. Dough should be firm and smooth.
7. Take two small balls from the dough and roll in to long two long 'sausages'. Plait these two sausages and place in the outer rim of a well floured baking pan. I prefer to use a loose bottom or springform cake pan (medium to large size).
8. Knead remaining dough in to a large round loaf and place in the middle of the pan. You could also separate the dough in to even balls and place next to each other in the middle of the pan (as pictured above). Please note, the balls do not need to touch as they will rise and join together while baking.
9. Cover and allow to rise in a warm place until double in size.
10. Place 1 cup of plain flour in a mixing bowl and slowly add 1/4 cup of warm water until you have a firm dough to work with. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured bench and cut out desired shapes. Brush the bottom on the shapes with a little honey and place on top of the bread. To add some colour to your decorative shapes, you could also brush a little honey on top.
11. Bake at 160 degrees for 1 hour or until the bread is a light brown colour.
12. Remove from pan to cool.