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March 21, 2012

Zhavoronki

We're making little bread larks today...inspiration from this recipe. They are actually in the oven right now. This is before we put them in...It is a tradition to bake these in memory of Forty Martyrs of Sebaste, which we celebrate tomorrow. There are supposed to be 40 to celebrate each of the forty martyrs. In explaining why we make birds, I told my daughters it's a representation of the Holy Spirit that was present in each of the soldiers, gave them strength in their Christian faith.

Zhavoronki or Larks (little bird breads)
  • 6 cups flour (I am using half whole wheat and half unbleached white)
  • 1 cup sugar (next time I'm going to use honey)
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 cups warm water
  • 2 1/4 tsp. yeast
  • orange zest (optional)
  • cloves, raisins, or cranberries for eyes
  • sunflower seeds or whole almonds for beak
Mix the warm water, yeast, sugar, oil, flour (a cup at a time, stirring well before adding the next), salt and the vanilla or orange zest (if using) together well. Knead about ten minutes. Place in a bowl and let rise until doubled in size.

Divide the dough into 40 pieces. Roll each piece into a long round shape. Tie each piece into a knot (we did not do this, but just formed it into a nice bird shape). Make one end into the shape of a head for the bird. The other end will be the tail feathers with a knife cut little lines. Put two cloves, raisins or cranberries (you can get creative) on each bird for the eye and a whole almond for the beak.

Bake for 20-30 minutes at 325 degrees Fahrenheit. We didn't get 40 out of this batch, but less, so next time, we'll have to portion out smaller pieces of dough. They were still fun to make!

P.S. I am still working on the vest...but the weather has turned warm, so I don't know if he'll even want to wear it:

10 comments:

Jessica Snell said...

That is really neat! I didn't know about that tradition for the Martyrs of Sebaste. It's funny, but I actually first learned the story of the Martyrs of Sebaste because of a sci-fi novel. One of the incidents in "The Vor Game" is based on the story of the Martyrs, and in reading something the author wrote about composing the novel, I learned about the Martyrs of Sebaste. Weird how you come to knowledge, sometimes.

Mimi said...

Oh so cute! Holy Martyrs, pray to God for us.

Shara said...

I don't know about the Martyrs but I do love larks.

Your knitting project is almost finished. Very pretty!

Samantha said...

I love reading about all of your holidays and traditions! Makes me want to have some traditions of my own around here :)

I know what you mean about the weather. It was 75F when I went out for my run a little while ago, and it's suppose to be 80F tomorrow! Looks like I'll be trading in my 3/4 length pants for my running shorts here before long!

Allison said...

Such cute bread! It's interesting to learn the meaning behind it, too.

I hope you're having a good week!

willfulmina said...

I just made my first batch of these yesterday with a few neighbors. It was so much fun!

Sarah Euphemia said...

Those look great :)

wayside wanderer said...

Oh my, those are so sweet and creative. There is one of almost every shape!

Lori ann said...

how cute! i've never seen bird bread. what a fun thing to do.

GretchenJoanna said...

I had never heard of this tradition before - your larks are charming! And the garden-planting gets me all excited just looking. Happy Spring!