This month, the Bread Baking Babes are making Romanian Easter Bread.
I posted my braided dough on a bread baking group, and a sweet person posted, "Cozonac! It looks perfect! I'm Romanian and I know!" How cool is that? I'm pretty sure she is referring to Elle's (the Bread Baking Babes' kitchen of the month) bread, which I also posted, but I still beamed with pride. Bread geeks do that.
Here is my neatly shaped braid prior to baking....
Here is what happened in the oven...
We've got a little bit of splittage action going on here.
This loaf is filled with a ground toasted hazelnuts, cinnamon, and lemon zest filling, which is rolled up into each strand of the braid. The bread can also be flavored with other fillings such as ground almonds, walnuts, poppy seeds, or raisins.
The dough is enriched with butter, sugar, and eggs... a perfect holiday bread.
It is also delicious and gorgeous with a sweet glaze of confectioners sugar and milk, sort of like cinnamon rolls. We loved it sliced, toasted, and buttered.
Here's a better look at the swirly hazelnut filling...
The Bread Baking Babes are a group of bread bakers who post a monthly bread for you to try. I am baking along as a buddy.
Romanian Easter Bread RecipeRecipe is from The Festive Bread Book by Kathy Cutler, 1982, as presented by Feeding my Enthusiasms
For the dough:
3 1/2 to 4 cups flour (at 4.25 ounces per cup)
1/2 tbsp instant yeast
1/2 tsp lemon zest
2/3 cup milk (I used low fat)
4 tbsp unsalted butter
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 tsp salt
For the filling:
1/3 C water (you could also use rum)
1/3 C sugar
1 C finely ground toasted hazelnuts (or almonds, walnuts, poppy seeds, etc.)
1/2 tsp lemon zest
1/2 tsp cinnamon
For brushing the loaf:
1 egg, whisked
2 tbsp milk
For the optional icing:
Enough powdered sugar and milk to make drizzle glaze
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, add two cups of the flour, the yeast, and lemon zest.
- In a small saucepan, heat the milk, butter, sugar, and salt, until the butter has melted. Remove the mixture from the heat and cool to about 110 degrees F.
- Add the milk/butter mixture to the flour along with the eggs. Mix until all of the ingredients are incorporated.
- Add 1 1/2 cups of of flour, and mix with the dough hook for about 10 minutes, adding more flour, by tablespoon, until you have a smooth dough. The dough should be tacky, but not sticky. Don't add too much flour.
- Place the dough into an oiled bowl, cover, and let rise in a warm spot for about an hour, until doubled. In the meantime, mix the filling ingredients.
- Divide the dough into three equal pieces (I used a scale) and roll each into a 14 inch by 7 inch rectangle. Spread each with 1/3 of the filling (about 1/3 cup for each piece of dough) leaving a small margin of the edges clean.
- Roll up each piece lengthwise like a jellyroll and place them on a piece of parchment paper. Braid the three pieces and lift the parchment onto a baking sheet. Cover with oiled plastic wrap and place in a warm spot to rise, about 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Brush with the egg wash and bake for about 35 to 40 minutes. Cool on a wire rack. Drizzle with the optional glaze (I skipped this because we froze part of the loaf for later).