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.
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)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
8. Cool on a wire rack and keep at room temperature.
9. Enjoy and Happy Easter!
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
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