The smell of this bread is what reminds me of growing up. My grandma made it occasionally and it was the best smell to come home to.. That and the pumpkin rice pudding, and my winter afternoon was made.
I made this bread a couple of years ago on Christmas, and I remember it being just perfect! But I didn’t write down the recipe! I have now made a pledge to never again cook something and not write it here. If not for you guys, then at least for my sake, cause I forget as soon as I finish cooking it.
So, here is how I recreated my grandma’s Christmas Layered Wreath Bread:
1 cup milk
2 cups flour
2 eggs (one separated, keep the egg yolk for later)
1 tbs sugar
1 tbs salt
2 packs of dry yeast
1 stick of butter melted (prepare a butter brush)
1 cup of crumbled Bulgarian feta cheese (optional)
Sesame seeds for sprinkling at the end (optional)
Dissolve the dry yeast in a couple of table spoons of the lukewarm milk, add the sugar and 2 tbs of flower, make it into a liquid batter.
Sift the flour in a big bowl and make a sort of a valley in the middle of it. pour the yeast batter and the the beaten egg plus the egg white in there
Start adding flour into the batter with your hands.. Keep adding and kneading as you go. Once the dough is the consistency of soft putty, pour some flour on a clean cold surface and and start kneading there. Adding a bit of flour as you go..
DO NOT make the dough too hard! It has to be no harder than the soft part of one’s ear.
Shape it in a nice ball, place it back in the bowl and cover with a damp clean towel.
Keep in a warm location for about 30 minutes to let it rise a bit.
Put some nice music on and dance … you’ll burn the calories, you will need to be able to consume your masterpiece, once you’ve finished it…
Back to the bread now:
Take it out of the bowl. Cut in 6 equal pieces.
Take your rolling pin (a marble one would be great as it’s cold and heavy and you won’t have to press hard) and roll out the first piece in a rectangular sheet.
Place it on the same surface you kneaded the dough on.
Using your brush, spread some of the melted butter on the sheet of dough. Then sprinkle some of the crumbled feta.
Do the same with each of the remaining 5 pieces of dough. And place them on top of the first one, forming a layered dough rectangle.
Now, roll up the rectangle from the long side into a tight roll and as you roll it, try to elongate it slightly.
Take a sharp long wet knife and cut the roll into 6 triangular pieces.
Then cut each piece into two, forming little 90 degree triangles.
Take a round baking pan and grease it with the remaining butter liberally.
Arrange the end pieces of the dough in the middle of the pan, on their bottoms, so the tops look like a flower.
Arrange all the other triangles on their short sides facing with their long sides towards the center. Arrange them around the center flower. They don’t have to touch. They will rise one more time in the oven and fill up the remaining gaps.
That left over egg yolk, take it and stir it with a bit of warm water (to make it easier to brush on the bread)
Brush the top of the bread as thoroughly as you can.
Put in a 350 degree oven. Don’t wait for the oven to heat up. The warming up process will help with the secondary rising of the dough making it flakier.
Now start your second dance session for another 45 minutes and you’ll burn enough calories to have a couple more pieces of the bread. 🙂