Specialty and Ethnic Items

Ethnic Traditions

The Mon Valley is full of ethnic groups that hold fast to their traditions. Keystone Bakery is proud to be a provider of the baked goods that help to sustain these rich, old-world customs as well as helping to pass on these customs to new generations.

You can count on Keystone for all of the traditional ethnic specialties such as the Pascha Bread, Greek Easter Ring, Hungarian pastries, and Irish Soda Bread. We also bake Polish Paczki and Greek New Year’s bread (Vasilopeta), which is bread that is baked with a coin in the loaf. This coin is thought to bring good fortune to the lucky person who finds it in his or her slice.

Greek Easter Ring Bread (Tsoureki): Made with a very rich dough delicately flavored with anise seed. Tsoureki is a traditional Greek bread served at the Easter meal. Shaped into a twisted wreath or a braid, This sweet bread is baked with a red hard-boiled egg tucked into the folds created by twisting or braiding.

Pascha Bread: The Christian faithful in many Eastern Orthodox countries eat this bread during the Easter season. Various Christian symbolism is associated with features of Pascha type breads. The inside of Pascha can be a swirl of yellow and white that is said to represent the risen Christ in Christian faith, while the white represents the Holy Spirit. Pascha is made with butter, eggs, and sugar and glazed with an egg and water mixture.

Baklava: Don’t be fooled! Our Baklava is the real thing – hand made with filo dough, this buttered treat is layered with at least 4 layers of walnuts, cinnamon and honey filling, then smothered with even more honey!

Hungarian Pastries: similar to our Flakies (Kolache), but much bigger. We offer these specialties filled with nuts, apricots, or raspberries.

Irish Soda bread: There are thousands of variations on this theme, but we bake it in traditional fashion with buttermilk, raisins, caraway seeds and of course… baking soda!

Vasilopeta: St Basil’s Bread also known as New Year’s Good Luck Bread is a delicious egg bread baked with a coin inside. Traditionally, on January 1st, the feast day of St. Basil, this bread is cut and served by the head of the household. The first piece cut is set aside for the Lord Jesus, the second for the Virgin Mary, and the rest is served to each member of the family, beginning with the eldest member. According to the custom the one who receives the coin will have special good luck for the year.

New Year’s Good Luck Pretzel: A special iced pretzel made with sweet dough. Legend has it that if you eat pretzel twists like these for breakfast on New Year’s Day, you’ll have good luck throughout the year. Give it a try – even if you don’t win the lottery, they still taste delicious!

King Cake: A delicious coffee cake baked from scratch and filled with cheese, walnut or apricot, and decorated in festive Mardi Gras colored sugars. Carnival is celebrated from Epiphany on January 6th through Mardi Gras. Traditional Carnival colors are purple, representing justice; green representing faith; and gold representing power. One of the foods most associated with Mardi Gras is the King Cake, baked to honor the three kings who visited the Christ child. Many New Orleans residents observe the feasting of Carnival with parties at which King Cake is served. Baked inside the King Cake is a whole almond. The finder becomes King or Queen for the day and receives a small plastic baby doll. Traditionally the person who receives the doll continues the festivities by providing the King Cake and/or hosting another party the following year.

Packzi (pronounced Poonch-Key): Sugar coated donuts filled to the point of bursting with fruit or cream. Paczki are made with richer dough and are larger and round in shape, like a baseball. Paczki Day falls on Fat Tuesday, the day before Lent. It began long ago in Polish households as a way to use up shortening eggs, and preserves before the 40 days of Lent begins. Today the Paczki tradition continues as a last minute indulgence before the Lenten fast begins. Whatever your reason, try some delicious Paczki and create your own family tradition. Packzi are only available throughout the two week period leading up to Lent.