Since the 16th century, Czechs have practiced the art of dough ornaments, called vizovické pečivo in the native language.
These ornaments serve as a reminder of life's beauty. Historically, they were made and given as gifts to children or used to decorate. Each generation passed the tradition on to the next, and it still thrives today. Although the ornaments can be made in any shape, some have special meanings that are listed below.
Dove: Family peace and love
Frog: Protecting clear waters
Hedgehog: Chase away sickness
Squirrel: Good homemaker
Crawfish: Protect against misfortune
2 C all-purpose flour
½ C water
½ C vinegar
1 egg yolk
whole spices or liquid color food dye (optional)
Photo courtesy of Marketa McCall at www.littlebitofczech.com.
Place flour, water, and vinegar in a bowl and stir with a spoon. The dough will be dry. Place dough on the counter and add a tablespoon of water as you knead it to make it more flexible. Once this is complete, form a ball and place it in a plastic bag for an hour to increase its elasticity. To make dough of different colors, mix some of the dough with whole spices or liquid color food dyes.
Afterward, creation can begin. Pinch a small piece of dough off the ball and work on one ornament at a time. Keep the remaining dough in the bag so that it remains moist as you work. You may use wax paper to roll or sculpt the ornament on.
Useful tools include: craft knife, manicure scissors, pen, cookie cutters, small screw driver, small brush, drinking straw, toothpick, and rolling pin. There are various techniques to try as you make ornaments.
Thanks to www.littlebitofczech.com for this recipe. See the website for this and more information.
Roll the dough on wax paper using a rolling pin to about 1/4" thickness. Use cookie cutters to cut out the shapes you desire. With the cookie cutter still pressed in, use various tools to press designs around the edges or experiment with your own patterns. You may also add small pieces of additional dough by wetting the area between pieces. When complete, cut a hole through the ornament at the top using a straw.
You can create your own shapes on card stock and cut them out. Use a craft knife to trace along the edge of the card stock when it is placed on the dough.
Similar to working with clay as a child, you can build a small ornament in three dimensions or combine shapes to create something new. A wreath, for example, can be made by weaving two or three small strings of dough together and forming a circle or heart. Be sure to keep these items wet so they can form a secure seal in the final piece.
When your creations are complete, place them on a baking sheet to air dry until they are hard. Remove the wax paper.
When completely dry, mix one egg yolk and 1 T of water and brush each ornament evenly. Return the ornaments to the baking sheet with parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 280 and bake for 20 minutes or until the pieces turn gold.
At this point, your ornaments are complete. They are not edible. You may lace the hole with string or ribbon so that the ornaments can hang.
Call 877-935-2467 to speak with a Western Fraternal Life Representative.