Traditional bread for St. George holiday
Following the bulgarian traditions
Ingredients for a loaf of 800-850 g and 20 cm in diameter:
2 mugs flour
½ cup whole spelt flour (or T55)
1 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon brown sugar (or normal sugar)
5-6 tablespoons of oil or melted butter
20 g fresh baking yeast (2/3 cup sourdough for me)
Flour for kneading
In a bowl, combine the flour and the other dry ingredients. Stir well to aerate and mix evenly. Make a well in the middle. Emulsify the baker’s yeast in a glass with a little warm milk, a spoonful of sugar and a spoonful of flour. Cover and let rise in a warm place (if you use sourdough, pour it directly into the well).
In another bowl, beat the eggs with a little warm milk and the butter. Pour into the well. Also add the already activated yeast. While stirring, pour over enough warm milk to make a thick, sticky dough as for a cake. Cover the bowl with cling film and a cloth. Let rise calmly in a warm place. The baker’s yeast takes about 2 hours to rise and the sourdough about 8 hours.
When the dough doubles in volume, transfer it onto the work surface, generously sprinkled with flour. Oil your hands and knead the dough until it has a smooth and soft appearance. Keep a small ball to make figurines and shape the rest of the dough into a round loaf.
Then put the dough in a baking dish of 20 cm in diameter, previously buttered and floured. Cover and let stand for another hour. In the meantime, prepare the traditional figurines of Saint George – a sheep, a shepherd, a dog, a sheepfold, a wreath of flowers.
Before baking, brush the bread with egg yolk (diluted with a little oil). Decorate with the dough figurines and brush them with egg yolk as well.
Bake the St George bread at 210°C for about 10 minutes, then lower the temperature to 180°C and continue baking for another 40 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack.