WanderFood Wednesday: Making Croatian Easter Bread

by Samantha Scott
( April 23rd, 2014 )

Last week I wrote a post about traditional Easter food, wherein I mentioned Pinca, a Croatian Easter Bread. I made it over Easter weekend and it turned out to be delicious! Recipe is adapted from TheHungarianGirl.com.

Croatian Pinca Bread IngredientsIngredients


3 packs fresh yeast (.75 ounces/6 tsp)

1 Tbsp sugar

3/4 cups tepid milk

4 cups (500 grams) all purpose flour

1 tsp salt

1/3 cup (75 grams) butter, melted

3 egg yolks, plus 1 whole egg for egg wash

1/3 cup (75 grams) sugar

2 Tbsp vanilla sugar

Zest of 1 lemon

Zest of 1/2 orange

4 Tbsp (60 grams) raisins

1 Tbsp dark rum (I used Bacardi)

Directions

1. In a small bowl, combine the milk with the yeast. We used a thermometer and heated the milk on the stove until it got to between 110 and 115 degrees. I’d suggest adding the yeast steadily. Try to avoid dumping it all in at once.

Heating Milk


2. Stir the milk and yeast softly until well blended and set aside in a warm place where it will double in volume and get frothy. In the meantime, pour the rum over the raisins and set aside to soak.


3. In a stand mixer, combine the flour and salt. Add the yeast mixture, melted butter, egg yolks, sugar, vanilla sugar, lemon and orange zest. On medium speed and with a hook attachment, mix all ingredients until the dough draws together into a ball. You may need to periodically stop and scrape the sides, just to make sure everything gets blended well. Add the raisins and continue to mix on slow speed until the dough gets firm, about 5 minutes. Shape into a ball and transfer the dough to a large clean bowl. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel and set aside in a warm place to rise for 2 hours.

First Stage of Pinca Dough


4. Relax and do the dishes. Maybe go for a walk. The breads just rising, it’s not going anywhere other than up….and out a little bit.


Second Stage of Pinca Dough


5. Transfer the risen dough to a lightly floured working surface and punch out the air. While this is very theraputic, try not to overdo it.


Pounding the Air Out of Bread Dough


6. Cut the dough in half and form each half into a ball. Transfer to a baking sheet covered with parchment paper, brush with egg wash and let rise for 1 hour. After 1 hour, brush with egg wash again and let rise for 1 more hour.


Halved Pinca Dough


7. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C). Brush the loaves once more with egg wash. Using a sharp knife make three deep slits across the top of the bread, in the shape of a cross. Place loaves in the oven for 25 to 30 minutes or until golden brown.


Egg Wash on Pinca Dough


8. Cool on a wire rack and keep at room temperature.


Baked Pinca Loaves


9. Enjoy and Happy Easter!


Tips

The yeast and milk mixture rises pretty quickly after all stirred together, so the next step will happen fast. I like to measure out as many ingredients beforehand as I can (this also makes for nice pictures!).

Here is a very handy yeast converter if you get confused about the quantities: Yeast Converter

It’s WanderFood Wednesday! Add a link to your blog below and join the WanderFood Wednesday community where we share in foodie obsessions and some link-back love.


 

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All About Eggs

by Samantha Scott
( April 18th, 2014 )

I ran across an article recently highlighting a new cookbook by Michael Ruhlman that is all about eggs. Considering Easter is right around the corner, I wanted to write my own appreciation post for this quite extraordinary food!

Fresh Eggs


Remember that scene in Sabrina when Audrey Hepburn is back from cooking school in Paris (or was it finishing school?) and has learned how to elegantly crack an egg with one hand, not spilling a drop? “It’s all in the wrist” she says to Humphrey Bogart, mimicking her teacher.


I’ve tried that many times and made many messes.

That scene to me illustrates both the simplicity and complexity of eggs. These lovely fragile little things can do so very much! They’re essential in cakes and cookies, you need them to make meatballs and meatloaf, you can cook them on their own fried, scrambled, poached, hard-boiled, you can coat virtually anything you might want to fry in them…I mean these little dudes are seriously powerful.

Eggs for cooking


Which came first? The Spatula or the Egg?


When did people first discover they could cook eggs for food? Well since forever according to foodtimeline.org. Early humans discovered that they could gather eggs  for consumption before they hatched. They also realized that doing this did not prevent the egg layer from producing more, therefore ensuring a steady food supply. Once fowl became domesticated this knowledge helped in establishing farming and agriculture as humans gradually became more domestic and less nomadic. Some of the first documented instances of eggs being used as an ingredient in baking come to us from Ancient Egypt, where baked goods were a luxury enjoyed by the nobility.

Breakfast Egg


Since then, we have discovered a multitude of uses, including raw. That’s right, eggs are not actually as dangerous as your mother said they were. Of course it matters where you get them, fresh is best and from a reputable source. But raw eggs are not quite as scary as they were once thought to be. So if you want to make a Rocky-esque protein drink…go for it. Just promise me you’re blasting Eye of the Tiger while doing so.


Happy Easter!

Photo Credits

Egg Assortment: Rob and Stephanie Levy via Flickr

Eggs for Cooking: JFXie via Flickr

Fried Egg: Snow Pea & Bok Choi via Flickr

Eat Well, Travel Well ~ Samantha

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WanderFood Wednesday: Traditional Easter Food

by Samantha Scott
( April 15th, 2014 )

Traditional Easter food hasn’t changed a whole lot over the course of time. The holiday is celebrated all around the world and every culture has variations on the same Easter food. But no matter how different the variation may be, the food served on Easter is both religiously and historically significant.

Hot Crossed Buns Hot Crossed Buns


Bread is, not surprisingly, a major component of the Easter meal. Often sweet in taste, they are typically some kind of variation on Hot Crossed Buns, like Pinca, from Croatia. I will be attempting to make this on Saturday, pictures to come!

The foods represent both a historical and religious significance, as well as a seasonal significance. Eggs for example are symbols of birth, or rebirth as the case may be, and lamb is often served because it was one of first fresh meats available at the beginning of spring. Lamb also has historical significance as, in hopes of being “passed over” during the many plagues that Europe suffered, Jewish homes would paint on their doors with the blood of a sacrificed lamb. Lambs also have a strong symbolic presence in Christianity. They were considered to be the one animal the devil could not transform into, and so held a certain reverence within the faith.

Roast leg of lamb was always a staple for Easter dinner while I was growing up. Lamb is a wonderfully flavorful meat, so you don’t really need to do much to it, which makes it ideal for large family gatherings. I asked my grandmother how she used to prepare it: simply rub the meat with olive oil, use a couple cloves of garlic and some rosemary, tucked right into the meat so that the flavor really comes alive, and roast! Simple yet delicious.

And because I am a big fan of bridging the gap between old and new, you can pair any of these traditional offerings with an innovative Easter cocktail! I can’t wait to try some of these Easter cocktails from WanderLush!

Do you stick with traditional Easter food around your table or do you mix it up? Maybe a bit of a combination?

It’s WanderFood Wednesday! Share a link below to your blog and join the WanderFood community!

Eat Well, Travel Well ~ Samantha

Photo Credit

Hot Crossed Buns, by Nick Saltmarsh via Flickr

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