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Bulgarian Easter Bread Recipe - Kozunak

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Easter Bread

Easter Bread

© Ineedathis on Flickr
This Bulgarian Easter bread recipe, known as kozunak, is also served at Christmas and for other special occasions. It's a slightly sweet yeast-raised bread with raisins that crosses the line between bread and coffee cake.

See Easter Breads Across Eastern Europe and Easter Bread Recipes Around the World.

Makes 2 large loaves of Bulgarian Easter Bread or Kozunak

Prep Time: 1 hour

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 4 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 4 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 large lightly beaten egg
  • 3/4 cup scalded milk cooled to 110 degrees
  • 3/4 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup rum
  • Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 9 cups all-purpose flour, approximately
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 ounces (1/2 stick) melted butter
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vailla
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds (optional)

Preparation:

  1. In a large bowl or stand mixer, combine yeast, sugar 1 egg and warm milk and let stand, covered, in a warm place for 40 minutes. Meanwhile, Place raisins and rum in a small bowl to soak.

  2. Heat 1 cup milk and 1 cup sugar in a small saucepan until warm and set aside. Combine melted butter and oil in a small bowl and set aside. Separate 2 of the eggs, reserving the yolks for the egg wash, and beating the whites with the other 3 whole eggs and vanilla in a separate small bowl. Begin adding warm milk mixture, then butter-oil, eggs, and drained raisins to the yeast mixture, combining until well mixed.

  3. Then begin adding flour (you might not use all of it) and knead until a smooth dough results. It will be sticky. Transfer to a large oiled bowl, turning dough once to coat both sides. Cover with greased plastic wrap and let rise until doubled (1 to 2 hours).

  4. Punch down dough and let rise again, covered, for 1 to 2 hours or until doubled. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Punch down dough and knead for 1 or 2 minutes. Divide in half. Divide each half into 3 pieces and braid on parchment-lined sheet pans. Cover with greased plastic wrap and let rise about 30 minutes. Brush with reserved egg yolks and sliced almonds, if using. Bake about 30 minute or until golden brown and an instant-read thermometer registers 190 degrees. Remove from oven, remove from pan and let cool on a wire rack.
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