Honey Christmas Eve Bread

Stanislava Dimitrova
How it's made: 

Traditionally, the Bulgarian Christmas Eve table weighs down under the abundance of food the earth has presented us with – fruits and vegetables, nuts and beans, honey and wine. The center of the festive dinner is the ritual bread, decorated with pastry fruits, flowers and ears of wheat – symbol of fertility. Inside the bread is hidden a fortune coin – symbol of prosperity.

Dissolve yeast in some warm water. Sift flour into a bowl, make a well and pour into it yeast, honey, oil and salt. Start forming a dough, gradually adding water. When the dough has begun to pull together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead until smooth and soft. Coat the dough with oil and place into lightly greased dry bowl. Cover with a damp cloth and let it rise in a warm place until it doubles its size (about 30-60 min depending on the room temperature).

Bring the dough again to the kneading surface and knead for 1-2 minutes. Cut out a fist-size piece of dough. Knead in the fortune coin in the remaining dough and place in baking pan. Decorate the bread with ears of wheat, apples, grapes or flowers. Coat with a mixture of one tablespoon honey and one tablespoon of oil. Bake in a preheated oven at 200 ℃/425℉ until golden. Remove and cover with cloth.

Happy Holidays!

Shopping list: 
500 g flour
3/4 cup warm water
10-12 g fresh yeast (1/3 package)
4 tbsp. vegetable oil
2 tbsp. honey
1/2 tsp. salt
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