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slice of romanian sweet bread with filling
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Romanian Sweet Bread with Walnuts – Cozonac

Cozonac – this delicious sweet bread with walnut or dried fruit filling is the most popular sweet thing to eat at Easter and Christmas in Romania.
Course Romanian Cakes and Desserts
Cuisine Romanian
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 1 hour
Additional Time 3 hours
Total Time 5 hours
Servings 2 loaves
Calories 150kcal
Author Adina

Ingredients

  • Dough:
  • 500 g all-purpose flour 1.1 lb/ 4 cups + 2 tablespoon
  • 2 ¼ teaspoons active dry yeast 7 g/ 0.2 oz (Note 2)
  • 200 ml lukewarm milk 6.7 fl.oz/ ¾ cup + 2 tablespoons
  • 4 egg yolks keep 3 egg whites to make the filling
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon rum or a few drops rum aroma optional
  • 125 g icing sugar 4.4 oz/ 1 cup
  • 100 ml vegetable oil canola, 3.4 fl.oz/ 1/3 cup + 2 tablespoons
  • Filling enough for 2 breads:
  • 3 egg whites
  • 100 g granulated sugar 3.5 oz/ ½ cup
  • 1 tablespoon rum or rum aroma optional
  • 120 g ground walnuts 4.2 oz/ 1 cup
  • Dried fruit filling enough for 2 breads:
  • 300 g dried fruit 10.6 oz, like raisins, currants, cherries, cranberries, lemon or orange peel (not too much of those two), etc.
  • Egg wash:
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons milk

Instructions

Yeast dough:

  • Proof yeast: Mix the active dry yeast with 1 tablespoon granulated sugar and add about 50 ml/ 2 fl.oz/ ¼ cup of the lukewarm milk. Stir well and let stand for about 10-15 minutes until frothy. If using fresh or instant yeast, please read the notes.
  • Mix the egg yolk and salt using a fork. Add the remaining lukewarm milk and the rum or rum aroma (if using) and set aside.
  • Knead: Place the flour in the bowl of a stand mixer or kitchen machine. Add the egg-milk mixture and the activated yeast. Knead for 5 minutes. The dough will be stiff at this point.
    Slowly add the icing sugar, one tablespoon at a time, while the mixer is kneading. Knead for another 4-5 minutes. The dough will become softer after adding the sugar.
    Slowly, start adding the oil as well. Knead for another 5 minutes or so until the dough is elastic.
  • Let rise: Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with cling film/plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for about 1 hour and 30 minutes or until doubled in size.

Filling:

  • Walnut filling: Whisk 3 egg whites until stiff. Slowly add the sugar and the rum (if using) and continue whisking until the mixture is stiff again. Very carefully fold the ground walnuts into the egg white mixture, do not over mix.
  • Alternative filling: Chop and mix 300 g/ 10.6 oz dried fruit, like raisins, currants, cherries, cranberries, lemon or orange peel (not too much of those two) and so on. This amount will be enough for both loaves of bread. If you only want to fill one piece of bread with dried fruit, halve the amount of fruit.
  • Fill: Spread the filling on the rolled dough and form the loaves of bread, either rolled or braided.
  • Form loaves:
  • Butter two loaf pans, about 24 cm/ 9.5 inches long and 11 cm/ 4.3 wide (a little more or less is fine).
  • Rolled loaves: Divide the dough in two. Roll one piece on a lightly oiled surface, about 30 cm/ 12 inches long, 40 cm/ 16 inches wide and 3-4 mm/ 0.13 inch thick.
    Spread half of the filling on top and carefully roll the dough into a thick sausage starting from the shorter side closer to you. Place in one of the loaf pans and repeat with the second piece of dough.
  • Braided loaves: Divide the dough into four equal parts. Roll one piece on a lightly oiled surface about 30 cm/ 12 inches long, 20 cm/ 8 inches wide and 3-4 mm/ 0.13 inch thick.
    Spread ¼ of the filling on top and roll carefully, starting from the longer left side. Repeat with a second dough piece.
    Braid the two sausages together and place them in the prepared loaf pan. Repeat with the remaining dough portions.
  • Let rise: Cover the loaves of bread with kitchen towels and let rise in a warm place for about 1 hour and 15 minutes or until nicely risen.
  • Preheat: During the last 15 minutes of the rising time, preheat the oven to 160 degrees Celsius/ 320 degrees Fahrenheit. Place a small pan with water on the bottom of the oven.
  • Egg wash: Mix the egg and the milk. Brush the bread with this mixture and place it in the oven immediately after brushing.
  • Bake: After 15 minutes, remove the small pan with the water. Continue baking the bread for 45 minutes or until cooked through.
  • Check after 20-30 minutes and lightly cover the bread with aluminum foil. If they are already brown, they probably will be.
  • Cool: Remove from the oven and let stand in the pans for 15 minutes. Remove and let cool entirely on wire racks, turning them on another side every 15 minutes or so, so that they retain a nice form.

Notes

  1. Always use a digital kitchen scale in baking; it ensures the best results (Amazon affiliate link).
  2. You can use the same amount of instant dry yeast. Just mix it with the flour without activating and proceed with the recipe.
  3. You can use 30 g/ 1 oz fresh yeast. Stir it with 1 tablespoon granulated sugar until liquid. Add about 50 ml/ 2 fl. oz/ ¼ cup of the lukewarm milk and stir well. Let stand for 10-15 minutes until frothy. Add to the flour together with the egg mixture.

Nutrition

Serving: 1slice | Calories: 150kcal | Carbohydrates: 23g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 25mg | Sodium: 44mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 8g