Sweet bread (cozonac)

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This is the sweet bread (cozonac) recipe as I was taught by Marlena. Warning: it’s time consuming!

Ingredients

  • 1 kilogram flour (2 1/4 pounds)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 300 grams sugar ( 2 cups or 1 1/4 pounds)
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 600 ml milk (2 1/2 cups)
  • 28 grams dry yeast ( approx. 9 teaspoons or 4 instant yeast packages)
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter ( 113 grams or one stick) melted
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil (118 ml or 4 oz.)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Ingredients for filling

Walnut or almond filling

  • 500 grams nuts, 3 egg whites, 3 tablespoon sugar, 1 tablespoon cocoa, 1/2 cup of milk, rum.

Raisins and Turkish delight filling

  • 1/2 cup to a cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup to a cup Turkish delight

Directions

  1. In a small bowl mix the yeast, 2 spoons sugar, 2 spoons flour and 1/2 cup warm milk. The mix will have the thickness of heavy cream. Set it aside for 5 to 10 minutes in a warm place to rise. This mix it’s called maia in Romanian.
  2. Mix the sugar with egg yolks, salt and vanilla with a hand mixer.
  3. Sift the flour in a kitchen aid mixer, dig a hole in the middle, add the egg yolks, sugar mixture, the warm milk, the yeast mixture (maia). Start the mixer with a dough hook on low speed.
  4. Melt the butter and mix it with the vegetable oil.
  5. When the dough starts to form, add a little of the oily mixture, wait until it is incorporated with the dough, repeat until the all the oily mixture is incorporated in the dough. For this step use the second speed for the mixer.
  6. When the mixing is done, cover the dough with a thin layer of butter or oil, cover the bowl with a cutting board or a clean kitchen towel, and place it in the stove that was warmed up for 1 minute. Let the dough rise for approx. 45 min.
  7. Punch down the dough, divide it into 4 pieces. Roll each piece into a rectangle, spread the filling, then roll from the shorter side of the rectangle to form the bread. Place it in a tin lined with with parchment paper. Let them rise in the pan for 30 minutes.
  8. Brush the loaves with egg yolk mixed with few drops of water. Place all 4 pans in the preheated oven (375F), bake for approx. 45 min. Lower the oven temperature to 350F after the first 15 minutes.
  9. When done, keep them in pan for another 5 to 10 minutes, then cool on rack.

Directions for almond filling

  1. Grind the almonds in a vitamix in two batches, mix them with the cocoa.
  2. Beat the egg whites until they are stiff, add the sugar one spoon at a time.
  3. Mix the almonds with the egg whites and 1/2 cup of milk, add the rum.

Directions for walnut filling

  1. Grind the walnuts with a chees grater or a nut chopper, mix them with the cocoa.
  2. Beat the egg whites until they are stiff, add the sugar one spoon at a time.
  3. Mix the walnuts with the egg whites and 1/2 cup of milk, add the rum.

Directions for raisins and Turkish delight filling

  1. Coat raisins with flour, sift the extra flour.
  2. Cut the Turkish delight into small pieces, coat with flour, sift the extra flour.
  3. Use raisins or Turkish delight, or use both.

Notes

  • You can make them with no filling.
  • Ovens vary, so adjust the cooking time as needed.
  • Use the left over egg whites to make pricomigdale.

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