One of the nicest compliments I get is when multiple members of the same family order a korovai from me. In this case, five years had passed and both korovayi were destined for weddings in Detroit, MI.
The groom’s mother wanted something quite elaborate and ornate, but not too big. We came up with a two-layer design (8 “bottom, 6” top), complete with stalks of wheat cascading down the sides of the korovai and bunches of grapes to symbolize the joy associated with creating a family unit. . There were also many different flowers: roses, sunflowers, periwinkle, mauve and cornflowers. Together, they symbolize constant renewal, life, youth, beauty, fertility and were once believed to protect against the forces of evil and misfortune.
This korovai is an example of “cooked” design. Korovayi of this type are particularly laborious to make. There are so many small details in each decoration, including textured leaves, multiple flower shapes and layers, curly vines, chiseled wheat stalks, and very thin dough “cords” wrapped tightly around the floral wire to create delicate arches. Most of the decorations need to be made in place and placed directly on the korovai to make sure they “hug” the bread in all the right places before it dries. The korovai is then “cooked” again at a relatively low temperature so as not to burn the tips of the decorations.
As we approach the 2020 wedding season, I predict this type of korovai will increase in popularity. From my point of view, it sure looks like an exciting wedding season coming up!