COZONAC-ROMANIAN HOLIDAY SWEET BREAD
This is the traditional Romanian bread for different holidays, most prominently Easter and Christmas. It is like a brioche or Portuguese sweet bread, but I think better than either. It is slightly sweet and has a great soft texture. The fillings are optional but add a lot of character. This recipe is based off of several online recipes, some friends' recipes, and my own intuition. It comes out beautifully, but is a labor of love! I'm sure there is a way to use a mixer or bread machine, but I love doing this the old fashioned way. The preparation time includes rising time.
Provided by Transylmania
Categories Yeast Breads
Yield 5 loaves
Number Of Ingredients 15
- Heat the milk. When it becomes lukewarm remove 1 cup and put into a small bowl. Sweeten with 2 teaspoons of the sugar and add the yeast. Mix well and set aside until foamy.
- Pour the rest of the milk into a larger bowl. Add about 1 cup of flour and mix well. Let it cool down to room temperature. Add the yeast/milk mixture and mix until well incorporated. Set this aside for about 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, melt the butter in a saucepan. Let it cool down to room temperature.
- Set aside about 1/4 cup of the egg whites for glazing the bread. Beat the rest until fluffy but still slightly wet (NO STIFF PEAKS). Divide these beaten egg whites in half. Put one half in the refrigerator.
- Beat the egg yolks, and add to the room temperature butter. Mix well, and then add the vanilla, lemon rind, and the rest of the sugar. Mix until it is creamy and well-blended. Fold in the half of the beaten egg whites that is not in the refrigerator.
- Your yeast, milk, and flour mixture (i guess its a sponge) should be growing and bubbly. Mix the butter/egg yolk/sugar mixture into the sponge.
- Now its time to get the dough finalized. Put the remaining flour into a very large mixing bowl and make a well in the middle of it. Pour in the liquid/sponge mixture and begin slowly mixing together. Work slowly and gently, incorporating the flour from around the edges with a wooden spoon. You will get a rather sticky dough eventually and you are now ready to knead!
- Flour your table well and put on some good music. This will take a while.
- Put the dough on the floured table and begin kneading. Sprinkle on more flour to keep the dough from sticking, but do so gingerly -- you don't want the dough to be too dry. Knead for 20-30 minutes. No, really! It might be painful, but this long kneading process is really what will make for a light, tender bread. You will know the dough is ready when it begins to be smooth, elastic, and shiny.
- Clean out your large bowl, butter it, and put the dough inches Cover with a towel and let it rise for about an hour. I like to let it rise in an unheated oven.
- While the dough is rising you can make your filling. This part is easy -- get the other half of the egg whites from the refrigerator and beat them up again if they look deflated. Add the walnuts, sugar, cocoa, and lemon rind. Mix it until it forms a cohesive paste.
- You should also butter 5 loaf pans during the rising time.
- Once the dough has doubled in bulk bring it back to your floured table. Divide the dough into five equal sized pieces and begin working.
- You can make a very simple cozonac by just shaping the dough into loaves and baking them -- but the fillings are more fun and charming.
- Divide each of the five pieces into two equal sized pieces. Stretch each piece into a loose rectangle, about 7 by 3 inches or so. Spread the two rectangles with your nut or poppy seed filling, leaving about a 1/2 inch margin around the edges. If you are using Turkish Delight just sprinkle the cubes on top of the dough. Roll the two rectangles up like jelly rolls, avoiding any filling squeezing out.
- Now take the two filled pieces of dough and twist them together to make a loaf shape. Place your loaves in the baking pans and let them rise again until double in bulk.
- If you want to make a fancy two-colored cozonac, when you have your two dough pieces for your loaf, take one of them and sprinkle it with cocoa. Begin kneading it until it is uniformly chocolate colored -- this takes about 5 minutes.
- Roll out your white dough into the 7x3 rectangle. Roll the chocolate dough into a slight smaller rectangle. Sprinkle the white dough rectangle with raisins and Turkish Delight. Place the chocolate dough over it, and press down so that the two pieces of dough stick together. Roll the dough up like a jelly roll. This will make a lovely two-colored spiral loaf. Place your loaf in its greased pan and cover and let it rise like the others.
- Preheat the oven to 375.
- Once the loaves have doubled in bulk, glaze them with the reserved unbeaten egg whites. Sprinkle each loaf with granulated sugar. You can sprinkle each loaf with a something to remind you of the filling; chopped walnuts on the nut filled one, poppy seeds with the poppy seed, granulated sugar on the Turkish Delight, etc.
- Bake the loaves for 15 minutes at 375, then lower the heat to 350 and bake for another 30-35 minutes. Breads will be done when a knife inserted comes out clean. The loaves should be a rich golden brown color.
- Remove the cozonaci from their pans as soon as they are done, and let them cool on a rack or a towel overnight. These are best the next day, and will last for a week or so.
- Enjoy and Happy Holidays!
Nutrition Facts : Calories 3060.7, Fat 102.8, SaturatedFat 48.3, Cholesterol 610.4, Sodium 688.6, Carbohydrate 460.2, Fiber 18.3, Sugar 90.8, Protein 77.3
ROMANIAN COZONAC OR COLAC - A CHRISTMAS BREAD
At Christmas time Romanian mothers readied the dough for baking these delicious breads with a variety of fillings. The smells of Cozonac baking would stir my senses. As a little girl, I knew there would be merriment and lots of good food. On Christmas Eve, relatives and their friends with musical instruments moved from house to house in the large Romanian community where I grew up. They would serenade us with Romanian Christmas songs and my mother would lay out Cozonac, Placinta with apples or sweetened cottage cheese, yeast doughnuts with lemon curd filling, and other lovely Old World style baking. There would be fresh sarmale (cabbage rolls), mititea, (sausage), pickled cucumbers, liquors and liqueurs, and home made wine. If families could afford it, money was also given to the carollers which would be divided between them at the end of their carolling. The feast was the carollers' reward for bringing joy in our homes, and was my signal that Mosu Craciun (Father Christmas) was about to arrive. The carollers moved throughout the Romanian community all night, during Christmas Eve, until dawn. I would sneak out of bed to watch the muscicians and listen to the carols. When they were gone I was sent to my bed, but quietly sneaked a peek to watch my parents put out the few toys for the youngest children and stockings filled with fruit nuts and cookies for the elders, and perhaps new mittens and socks. I was the eldest girl. There are many variations of fillings for the Cozonac. The basic dough does not vary much.
Provided by TOOLBELT DIVA
Categories Yeast Breads
Yield 1 loaf, 10-12 serving(s)
Number Of Ingredients 15
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- For the Dough: Heat the milk to lukewarm.
- In a separate bowl, crumble yeast.
- Add 2 tsp sugar, 2 tbsp milk; set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, place the 4 cups flour.
- To the lukewarm milk, add 3 Tbsp sugar, 1 tsp salt, the melted butter, lightly beaten eggs, (and optional food colouring).
- Add yeast mixture to remaining milk.
- Beat all with with rotary beater until thoroughly blended.
- Pour mixture over flour and work in, with a wooden spoon, until all flour has mixed well with milk mixture.
- Now, knead with hands for about 5 minutes or until dough will not stick too your hands.
- Cover with clean tea towel and place in warm spot. Allow dough to rise until double in size.
- Punch down and knead again for 2 minutes.
- Let rise again.
- Roll out dough and fill with your favourite filling.
- Cheese Filling: Cream cheese well, with fork.
- Add cornstarch and egg yolks and mix well.
- Add sour cream, 1 or 2 tbsp at a time.
- Work quickly and mix thoroughly.
- Add 4 tbsp sugar and flavouring.
- Spread over the dough, and bake in a moderate oven (350°F) until done.
- After 45 minutes, check for doneness.
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