Saratoga, Wyoming - might have to check out the Hot Springs!
My customer requested an 18" braided bread with a hole in the middle covered in sesame seeds. Done!!!
Ready for the trip to Saratoga! Thank you Ginni for being my bread mule!
I’ve had the craziest week. A few days ago, I got a call from the Fed Ex Concierge out of Toronto asking if I made Wedding Bread. She said she had a client in Saratoga, WY looking for someone to bake a wedding bread for THIS SATURDAY and could she give them my number. I said sure, thinking it was a scam.
I had to look up where Saratoga was as I have never heard of it before. It's a small town. Really small. Population 1,623 in the beautiful Platte Valley in Southern Wyoming along the Platte River with the town's motto "Where The Trout Leap In Main Street." You can't make this stuff up!
Well, YESTERDAY, Thursday he called me! I guess one of the top wedding destination ranches in the US is in Saratoga, Wyoming and could I make a Macedonian Wedding Bread for him. So…. after finding someone to deliver it 2.5 hours from me, a lot research, late-night baking and early morning packing, Chris got his Macedonian Wedding Bread this morning for his daughter’s wedding tomorrow. Keeping customers happy should be MY motto!
So today's blog is devoted to my newest business venture...the Macedonian Wedding Bread!!! Here is what my research turned up.
Similar to Ukrainian and other European nations traditions, bread is a central element of Macedonian weddings. Called either pogacha or koluk, the Macedonian Wedding Bread is a large, round, loaf of bread made with rich ingredients, like traditional Macedonian Easter bread.
The wedding bread takes various forms but is always round. The round shape symbolizes the wedding bands and a circle that has no beginning and no end. The bread can be braided, sometime with a hole in the middle, or sometimes a bunch of dough balls are put together to form one large mound. Decorations also vary with white flowers, sesame seeds or other dough decorations sometimes added.
Traditionally, a young unmarried girl on the Bride’s side of the family bakes the large round loaf of bread on Saturday morning. It can be up to 2 feet wide and a foot tall and is often packaged in a clear bag. During the wedding ceremony at the church, the ritual Bread is placed on the table in front of the altar.
After the ceremony, at the reception, all the guests are invited to the dance floor, where the Nunko (godfather) lifts the bread over the couple's heads and does a little dance. Meanwhile, everyone joins hands in a circle and does a line dance called the horo or ora, it’s a “one, two, three, kick, kick” dance. I have been to a couple Bosnian-Ukrainian weddings where a similar dance is performed and of course at any good Greek restaurant, the hora dance happens at least once during the night. At a Macedonian wedding, as the guests circle the room with arms linked, the Nunko holds the bread over each guest’s head in turn, to bring them good luck.
When the dance is over, there is a competition between the bride and groom called the 'Breaking of the Bread'. The couple moves to the center of the dance ﬂoor and each holds a side of the large, heavy Wedding Bread. On the count of three, the couple rips the bread apart. The outcome decides who will ‘wear the pants’ in the family and be the head of the household. Maybe this is where the saying ‘breadwinner’ comes from! Sometimes the fathers of the bride and groom are the ones that compete in Breaking the Bread. There is a lot of strategizing that goes on beforehand to ensure their half of the bread is bigger and their daughter/son will be the boss. After this ceremonial game, the bread is offered to the guests who, when they take a piece of bread, wish the couple a good marriage.
I've been to a lot of Ukrainian weddings and it sounds to me like attending a Macedonian wedding is just as much fun!