Prosphoron (Altar bread)

Recipes for Prosphoron and Kolliva


1 pkg. compressed or dry yeast
2 1/2 cups water
2 tsp. salt
6 3/4 to 7 cups flour

Dilute yeast in water. Add salt, then half of flour and stir. Mix remainder of flour with hand until dough is firm. Knead. until dough is smooth. Divide dough and place in 8-, 9- or 10-inch cake pans that have been floured only. Do not grease pans. Keep in mind that dough should be smoothed. out to cover the bottom half of the depth of pan. (See helpful hints below). Take religious seal and dip in flour, shaking off any excess flour that may accumulate, and press seal firmly in centre of dough. Remove seal and let dough rise until it is almost doubled in bulk. Remember, dough will also rise in oven and too much rising can erase seal from dough. Take a toothpick and make 5 or 6 pricks around. outer edge of seal before baking. Bake in 400-degree oven for approximately 30 minutes or until done. Wrap in clean cloth while cooling so crust will soften.

Helpful hints

There are two methods that can be used when placing and smoothing dough out in cake pans;

  1. Divide dough for each Prosphoron in two portions and flatten the dough in two layers in the cake pan--one on top of the other.
  2. After you have shaped the dough in the pan, wait until it has risen, then cut a line with a paring knife in a circular motion around outer edge of risen dough in pan. 



1 cup wheat berries (hulled)

4 quarts (150ml) water

Boil wheat berries until tender (approximately 2 hours, depending on type of wheat). Drain in colander, spread out on clean towelling (not terrycloth), cover with another towel and roll up to blot thoroughly. Depending upon how it is prepared, the wheat may be used immediately or spread out to dry further.

Ground walnuts or almonds, white or dark raisins (about 1 cup), chopped parsley, sesame seeds, pomegranate seeds, cinnamon (about 5 dashes), 1/4 tsp. cumin powder, etc., may be mixed into dry wheat before decorating.

Decorating variations:

1. Put mixed wheat into bowl and smooth the top. Cover with finely chopped. walnuts. Make a slight indentation in the form of a cross and fill with raisins, pomegranate seeds, or other such fruit. The bowl may be decorated as desired. At serving time, add. granulated sugar to taste (approximately 1/4 cup), mix well and serve.

2. Mound mixed dry wheat on plate or platter. Cover with a 1/4-inch layer of either finely ground walnuts or almonds, or flour which has been browned in a dry skillet. Sift confectioner's sugar over all, covering completely. Decorate with Jordan almonds, silver decor, etc., as desired.

Decorating notes:

It is traditional to form a Cross on the kolliva, and also to put a candle in it for the Memorial Service. If using small silver decor to make the Cross or other formal decoration, one may cut the desired shape out of adhesive tape (white), lay it, sticky side up, on a plate, and sprinkle the silver decor on the tape to cover the tape form. This may then be laid carefully over the powdered sugar. It should be removed before serving. Jordan almonds are also traditional.

In plain kolliva as prepared in decorating variation #l, honey may be used to sweeten instead of, or in addition to, sugar.

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