Bulgarian cuisine is divine in every aspect and one of the most significant dishes is the kozunak which is basically sweet bread made on Easter.
As delicious kozunak is, it can be just as hard to make. It takes somewhere between 4 to 8 hours and also there are a lot of ‘secrets’ to really get that sweet taste and mouthwatering smell.
But don’t get discouraged, it’s always worth the effort! I’ll try to give you the instructions in the most precise and shortest way possible.
We started at around 6 pm and our kozunak was ready at about 10 pm.
One of the most important requirements for a successful kozunak is warmth. Everything needs to be warm – your kitchen and the products as well. The eggs should be on room temperature, so make sure you bring them out of the refrigerator in advance. Then the milk should also be warm, so heat it up before starting but be careful not to boil it.
Another thing this fastidious dish requires is a looot of kneading and beating – this way air gets into the dough making it double its size and rise.
Kozunak – Easter Sweet Bread
|Cook time||4 hours|
|Allergy||Egg, Milk, Wheat|
|Meal type||Bread, Breakfast, Dessert|
- 12 eggs (on room temperature)
- 2kg all-purpose flour
- 300g sugar
- 600ml milk
- Raisins (as much as you want)
- 2 lemons (the zest only)
- Vanilla extract or vanilla stick (to taste)
- 100-200ml lard (pig fat) (melted)
- 50ml vegetable oil
- 40-50g fresh yeast (you can substitute with regular yeast)
Have in mind that the ingredients listed make a very big quantity of dough. You can halve them if you want less. Also you can moderate the level of sweetness by putting as much sugar as you want.
|Preheat oven to 200° C (400° F). If you have an electric heater I suggest you turn it on, because your kitchen needs to be as warm as possible. |
|Heat milk for 3-5 minutes and add some vanilla to it. Remove from heat and add the sugar. Pour 150 ml of the milk-sugar mixture into a separate bowl, add 2-3 tbs flour and the yeast. Cover and let it rise.|
|Sift the flour in a bowl and make like a little whole in the middle. Beat 10 of the eggs + 2 egg whites (save the yolk for later) in a separate bowl.|
|When the yeast mixture has risen enough, put it into the whole in the bowl with flour. Add the rest of the milk and eggs. Mix well and start kneading. Add the oil gradually while kneading. Beat the dough on the table for about 1-2 minutes.|
|Cover with a cloth and let it rise. The time varies somewhere between 30-45 minutes and 1-2 hours.|
|When it has doubled its size, divide into 2-3 parts, knead each of them using the lard. Put raisins (as much as you want) and lemon zest. Cover and let it rise again.|
|When doubled its size once again, take one part, divide into 3 pieces roll them carefully with hands and braid them. Repeat with the rest of the dough.|
|Put into a greased pan(s), grease the kozunak carefully with oil, spread the egg yolk and sprinkle some sugar on top. Bake till a toothpick comes out dry and there's a nice crispy crust.|
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