I don’t know a lot about Russian cuisine or food traditions but I do know that they, along with many Eastern European countries, make some of the most beautiful looking breads in the world. Many of them are pure works of art, especially the round decorated yeasted sweetbreads called “Korovai/ Karavai” usually baked for weddings (sometimes for birthdays, house warming ceremonies and funerals as well)
As I’ve said so many times before, if there’s one thing I love baking it is unusually shaped or decorated breads then I find them hard to resist. So when Lien picked the Russian Chrysanthemum Bread for us Bread BakingBabes to make this November I knew I had to do it. Though the title of this bread says it’s Russian, it’s actually Georgian in origin (which was originally a part of Russia/ USSR).
With family visiting us and then our taking a longish mid-month break, I didn’t get around to baking it before the deadline on the 16th. I had promised myself and the other Babes that I would make it so when our daughter came home on an unexpected break from college early this week I knew it was the perfect time for it. She loves home-made bread and was quite excited by this one. Her only demand was that it be savoury and not sweet!
The Russian Chrysanthemum Bread is more about shaping technique than the recipe, with the “petals” of the bread containing some sort of filling. Traditionally, the filling involves some sort of minced meat but one could use any sort of filling depending on preference. They could be made with cinnamon roll filling, Nutella, or a poppy seed filling popular in sweet breads in Eastern Europe.
Otherwise think of going savoury as I did with a garlicky cheese and herb filling with spring onions. Other savoury fillings like pesto or even pizza style filling work just as well. You can also use various herbs or spice mixes as filling.
The dough for this bread is a very slightly enriched dough and not all that difficult to shape either. However, it makes for a pretty looking bread that will brighten up any table its set on. Think of it as a rather fancy pull-apart bread, that’s all.
The recipe given below makes a largish loaf of bread and requires an 11” (28cm) shallow pie dish. What I have is a 9” (23cm) pie dish, so I made 2/3rds the recipe to fit the bread into my smaller pie dish. It is important to use just that much cheese spread as necessary in the filling.
Too little and there isn’t enough of it in each bite and too much means you’re going to have it bubbling out when the bread bakes making a mess of what should be a beautiful loaf. As you can see from the photographs, my loaf was a bit of a visual casualty!
Needless to say, the daughter absolutely loved it. So much so that she told me that I was an awesome bread maker and that’s high praise indeed! (Adapted from this site for the November BBB bake).
The Bread Baking Babes are –
Though the Bread Baking Babes (BBB) is a closed group, you’re most welcome to bake with us as a Bread Baking Buddy and here’s how it works.
Lien is our hostess for this month and the recipe for this month’s bread is on her blog. Bake the Russian Chrysanthemum Bread according to that recipe and post it on your blog before the 28th of this month. Do make sure you mention the Bread Baking Babes and link to her BBB post in your own post.
Then e-mail Lien with your name and the link to the post, or leave a comment on her blog post with this information. She will do a Buddy round-up for this month on her blog and also send you a BBB badge for this bread that you can then add to your post on your blog.