In Bulgaria we celebrate the first steps a child takes and honestly to me, that’s a big of deal. Making the first steps, the beginning of the “exploration” phase in the child’s life, it’s huge and it deserves a celebration.
We celebrate it as a “coming of age” thing, but earlier version. All the relatives get invited, the oldest woman in the household ( or an unmarried one) makes a special bread ( pitka or pita) to be used as a part of the tradition.
The mother provides a large, brand new sheet, that we put on the ground. On one end of the sheet she places different objects, symbolizing different professions ( a pen for a writer, a paintbrush for an artist etc). The mother of the toddler rolls the bread on the sheet ( in front of the child) and the child is supposed to run after it, until it reaches all the objects. Whatever she( or he) picks first, that’s going to be her( his) profession.
After that all the older children in the family grab a piece of the bread and run as fast as they can to all the neighbors and friend of the family. For that piece of bread they are given sweets and money in return. It’s all good fun, until you have a child like my daughter- she caught the bread, sat on the ground and started eating it. 🙂 LoL
Anyway, this is a recipe that is often used for this tradition ( but not always) and I got it from an online friend called Morena. I am sharing it with you not because of this tradition but because it is absolutely delicious bread. As a matter of fact I made it for the ” Turn Off TV night” at our school today and by the time I came back to check on it…it was all gone, so it must have been good. 🙂
( Butter bread or “The bread of the hundred times”, as some call it)
You will need:
300 ml milk
5 tbsp yogurt
4 tbsp oil ( preferably olive or sunflower)
2 tsp dry yeast
2 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp salt
6 cups flour
1/2 cup melted butter
1 egg for brushing
Preheat the oven at 350 F and grease a 9 inch( or 10 inch) baking pan*.
– If mixing with a mixer or by hand
1. Sift the dry ingredients together.
2. Mix the eggs, sugar, milk, yogurt and oil together.
3. Add the dry ingredients to the egg mixture little by little until you get a kneadable and pliable dough. Let it rise for 15-20 minutes.
– If mixing with a breadmaker:
1. Mix the eggs, sugar, milk, yogurt and oil in the kneading pan.
2. Add the dry ingredients, then add the dry yeast last.
3. Mix on the longer dough program of your machine.
4. After the first rise, get the dough and hit it on the counter a 100 times. You can use a table or some place else that you’ve cleaned beforehand. Grease the surface, so the dough doesn’t stick. It sounds bizarre, but believe me that simple thing makes the difference in the taste.
5. Make three balls out of the dough and roll out each one of them on a dough sheet with a rolling pin. Each sheet has to be wider than the bottom of the pan you are going to be baking the bread in.
6. Brush butter on top of each sheet then put them one on top of the other, like cake layers. Then cut them in 16 pieces ( see the picture).
7. Roll each triangular piece in a crescent shape. When you roll all of them, place them in a circle in the greased pan.
8. Let the dough rise until it reaches the end of the baking pan, then brush with the egg and put it in the oven.
9. Bake for 40 minutes on 350 F or until golden on the outside and completely baked on the inside.
10. When it’s ready take it out of the oven, cover it with a wet piece of cloth and let it stand for at least 5 minutes then take it out of the pan. Let it cool down for at least 40 minutes before cutting.
* Sometimes I use a spring form for baking and it works wonderful, because it’s easy to take the bread out without breaking it.