Recipe for Korovai Decorations

This dough is different from the dough used to make the korovai bread – it is not edible as it hardens in the oven and remains fairly light in colour after baking. The recipe below is a modified version of the one provided by Suburban Grandma here. It doesn’t yield a lot of dough, but I find it’s better that way because you’re not overwhelmed with having to make too many decorations in one sitting.

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3/4 cup + 3 Tbsp all-purpose flour (120 g)
  • 2 tsp corn starch
  • 2 tsp shortening
  • 1 egg white mixed with a few drops of water (for glazing korovai decorations)

Directions:

  1. In a medium bowl, mix together the flour and corn starch.
  2. Blend the shortening into the flour mixture using a fork.
  3. Pour the water into the flour mixture, a little at a time while mixing with a fork.
  4. Knead the dough for about 5 minutes until it is soft and homogeneous.
  5. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and let it sit at room temperature for about 20 minutes before you start making your decorations. (Note: while you are working, keep the unused dough covered so that it doesn’t dry out.)
  6. Glaze the decorations with the egg white wash. Do not beat the egg white to avoid froth in your glaze (the finish will be spotty and flaky).
  7. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and bake at 375oF for about 20 minutes, or until the tips of the decorations turn golden.
  8. Once cooled, re-glaze the decorations with the egg white wash. Dry your decorations in a cool, dry and well-ventilated area.

Additional instructions for birds/doves: Once you remove them from the oven and while they are still warm, insert toothpicks at the bottom of the doves, glaze again with the egg white wash, and set to dry as indicated above. I dry my decorations by inserting the toothpicks through a large piece of packing Styrofoam or empty egg cartons.

Update: Lately, I have been using my husband’s drill to make holes in my doves to insert toothpicks (I also dab a bit of white glue on the toothpick before inserting). I was destroying too many birds by trying to pry in toothpicks once they came out of the oven – I found that using the drill is more reliable.

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