Young couples who recently married and had a Korovai at their wedding often want to save it. The beauty of the Korovai and all of its decorations can be preserved and the wedding bread will last for a very long time. I never say it’ll last forever because the decorations do become more brittle over time. If moved often or bumped, the embellishments will not stay intact . However, if you have a display cabinet or Baba’s china cabinet, you may not have to worry about this.
If you haven’t already taken a thousand pictures of your Korovai, you and your Korovai, your parents and your Korovai, your great-aunt and etc. , do it now. You’ll want to have a photo available to reassemble your Korovai after it is dry.
After your wedding, carefully disassemble the Korovai. Take off any live flowers and dry them in a borax mixture.
Borax Mixture: Fill a container with Borax (dry washing powder). You may have to ask your grocer whether they carry it as it seems to be getting harder to get these days.
Place your flowers face down and cover it with about 4 cm (1 inch) of Borax. Continue layering and covering. Place a cover on the container and leave for about 4 weeks (or as long as you dry your braided bread and decorations). When the flower leaves are dry, gently brush away the Borax. You can use a paint brush for this or even a feather.
You can do the same with the periwinkle or other live greenery that may be on the Korovai.
As for the dough embellishments, separate them and place them on wire baking racks. Leave about 6 cm. (2 inches) between them. If they have had wire or toothpicks inserted in them, leave these in and insert them on a styrofoam tray or use an upside down styrofoam cup. Air needs to circulate around the decorations.
Place the braided bread on a wire rack. Raise the rack a couple of inches higher to ensure all air circulates above, below and around the bread.
Now, leave it alone. Find a place where you can leave it for a long time, such as 2 or even 3 months, then place it there and ignore it.
Once the bread and decorations are dried out, you can reassemble it and set it wherever you wish. Again, if Baba gave you her antique china cabinet, use it and your Korovai will look beautiful in it for many years.
I’ll update this page and include photos at a later time.