Ukrainian Ornamental Dove Tutorial


Holuby, (Ukrainian Ornamental Doves) are used to decorate the Easter baskets that carry bread to Church on Easter Sunday as an offering.

In an earlier time in Ukraine, on the Holy Day of the 40 Martyrs, (March 9, O.S; March 22, N.S.), the return of the birds in the spring was celebrated with special spring songs (vesnianky). Birds made of dough were also baked representing the larks that were migrating back to the north.

Today, these bread “doves” are made for Easter, which is also in the spring. These doves are also used to decorate wedding bread called Korovai, a traditional bread used at weddings and anniversaries that symbolizes family and community. The Korovai is decorated with ornaments of baked dough: two birds represent the couple, and other ornaments represent family and friends.

Ornamental Doves (Holuby)


1 cup boiling water

1 tsp cooking oil

1 tsp white sugar

1 egg

2 drops yellow food coloring

3 cups all- purpose flour

Egg Wash:

1 egg (beaten)

1tsp water or milk


1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F

2. Combine the first 5 ingredients. Add one cup flour. Mix well with a wooden spoon.

3. Add another two cups flour. Knead by hand on a floured surface.

4. If more flour is needed, add a little at a time. The dough should be thick, like playdough.

Directions (see picture ):

5.Roll out the dough into snakes about the thickness of a finger; cut into 4 inch sections.

6. Place one strip horizontally on your work surface; lay another strip on top like a cross

7. Pull the arms of the strip beneath up and cross to the opposite side) left side becomes right, right side becomes left); flatten and shape slightly as for wings.

8. Shape one end of the straight strip of dough like a head (pinch for a beak); flatten the other end and make three or four slits for tail feathers.

9. Add a poppy seed or currant for eyes (I used currants in the photo above)

10. Let rise for 5 minutes, then place the doves in a preheated oven for 10 minutes.

11. Remove and brush with the beaten egg, which has been diluted with 1 tsp of water

12.  Return to the oven for another 10 minutes.

13. Remove from oven. Cool for 5 minutes.

14. Insert a toothpick on the bottom of each dove to enable insertion into decorative ritual breads.

Recipe From the cookbook: “From Baba, with Love” pg. 104