Copyright © 1990, 1996 Stefan Bilaniuk.
Medivnyk is an Ukrainian honey bread or cake. This is the Bilaniuk family recipe -- much better than the standard ones!
- 4 1/2 cups flour
- 2 cups honey (c. 1 lb.)
- 2 cups and 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1 cup oil
- 1 cup water
- 5 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons yeast
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon ground cloves
Bring the honey, 2 cups of sugar, and 3/4 cups of water to a boil together in a pot. Remove immediately and let cool. While the mixture is cooling, dissolve 1 teaspoon of sugar with 2 teaspoons of yeast in 1/4 cup of warm water and let rise. Beat the eggs (yolks and whites together) until foamy. Mix the flour, cooled honey mixture, beaten eggs, oil, risen yeast, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves together, and mix until the mixture is smooth. (It should be a fairly thick light-brown liquid.) Line a large loaf pan with waxed paper and preheat the oven to about 300F. Pour the mixture into the pan, put the pan in the oven and let it bake in the oven at 300F for about two hours or until done (test with a toothpick).
Any sort of vegetable oil seems to work well enough -- my favourite is sunflower oil. The basic recipe is quite forgiving and I often make small changes in it, notably using extra cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves, and/or replacing some of the sugar with more honey. (In the latter case, one ought to add a little more flour, too.)
The optimal baking time seems to vary quite a bit from oven to oven. If in
doubt, err on the side of underdoing it. I usually set my oven to 275F or so and, when the medivnyk is close to done, turn the oven off for the last ten or fifteen minutes. Another thing to watch for is that the loaf pan be large enough -- the dough usually expands by a factor of two or so while baking.
I learned this recipe from my mother, who learned it from my paternal grandmother, who learned it from her mother. Family legend has it that my great-grandmother learned it from a Romanian woman.
Department of Mathematics
Maintained by Stefan Bilaniuk. Last updated 1997.09.07.