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Apr 27, 2015

Romanian Easter Bread | Cozonac

Romanian Easter Bread | Cozonac

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....

Romanian Easter Bread | Cozonac

Here is what happened in the oven...

Romanian Easter Bread | Cozonac


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...

Romanian Easter Bread | Cozonac

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 | Cozonac

Romanian Easter Bread Recipe

Recipe 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
2 eggs

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


  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, add two cups of the flour, the yeast, and lemon zest. 
  2. 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. 
  3. Add the milk/butter mixture to the flour along with the eggs. Mix until all of the ingredients are incorporated. 
  4. 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. 
  5. 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. 
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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). 

Would you like to comment?

  1. A wonderful loaf Karen! This bread really does have a lot of oven spring! Those lovely gluten strands are a badge of honor, not a sign of error. I love the sound of your filling, too...almost Nutella! Thanks for baking with the Bread Baking Babes!

    1. Thanks Elle for a great choice!! Badge of honor. Love it!!

  2. looks delicious and gorgeous Karen!

  3. What a beautiful loaf of bread Karen! The ingredients remind me of a not-very-eggy challah, which would make a perfect base for French toast if there is any left after a day or 2. Unlikely, I know.

  4. SO gorgeous! I have always wanted to try a braided loaf, but just have not had the courage to do so

  5. Bread Geeks do that ... that's an understatement!
    This did have great oven spring (wait till you see this month's bread).
    I'm so impressed with how the filling swirls so beautifully.
    Wonderful for you baking with us!

  6. And now we learned a fantastic Romanian word for this bread too! Your loaf is stunning, very well done!
    Thanks for baking with us this month.

  7. Wow! I love the beautiful gold colour of the crust! And I love what happened to your perfectly braided loaf once it got into the oven! It's brilliant when bread does that, isn't it?

  8. For the dough we use about 10 yolks for 1 kg flour, butter, milk, oil..., and for the filling, the egg whites beaten and are mixed with walnut and cocoa and a little milk or some makes it with turkish delight, and in the dough we add raisins soaked in rum

    1. Wow, that's a lot of eggs! Your filling sounds delicious!

    2. Is not much we usually do 2 kg flour (2000 grams) and 20 eggs whitch means 4 sweet bread-cozonaci, on christmas we make cozonac and on easter we make cozonac and Pasca which is cozonac dough filled with cream cheese flavored with raisins soaked in rum, lemon and orange peel grated, vanilla ... some make it with chocolate ...
      But the cozonac dough is hard to knead, it's like a day of going to the gym full workout , kneading the dough, beating the dough ... a whole process :)))
      I love your recipes ill try soon some. Thank you


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