Cozonac: Romanian Easter and Christmas Bread

Cozonac: Romanian Easter and Christmas Bread

The Spruce / Christine Ma

Prep: 35 mins
Cook: 60 mins
Total: 95 mins
Servings: 8 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
924 Calories
46g Fat
113g Carbs
18g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
×
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8
Amount per serving
Calories 924
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 46g 59%
Saturated Fat 21g 107%
Cholesterol 306mg 102%
Sodium 532mg 23%
Total Carbohydrate 113g 41%
Dietary Fiber 5g 16%
Protein 18g
Calcium 315mg 24%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Romanian cozonac is a slightly sweet yeast-raised egg bread, similar to houska, that is traditionally eaten for Easter, Christmas, and New ​Years. Bulgarians call this bread kozunak. It's considered the Italian panettone of the Romanians. When the cozonac dough is filled with farmer's cheese, it becomes a pasca, similar to a Polish kołacz.

This recipe calls for egg yolks only so freeze the leftover egg whites and save them for a recipe like this meringue torte.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups milk
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (plus 2 1/2 tablespoons, separated)
  • 1 (1/4-ounce) package active dry yeast
  • 4 large egg yolks (at room temperature)
  • 3/4 cup sugar (superfine)
  • 4 ounces raisins (light or dark)
  • 1 lemon (zest only)
  • 4 ounces butter (melted)
  • 1 tablespoon dark rum
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil (or canola oil)
  • 1 large egg yolk (at room temperature)
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • Optional: 1 ounce walnuts
  • Optional: 1 tablespoon raisins
  • Optional: 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Cozonac: Romanian Easter and Christmas Bread ingredients

    The Spruce / Christine Ma

  2. Scald 1/2 cup of the milk and stir in 2 1/2 tablespoons of the flour until smooth. Let cool 10 minutes.

    milk and flour in a saucepan

    The Spruce / Christine Ma

  3. Heat another 1/2 cup of the milk just until lukewarm. Do not scald. Place yeast in a small bowl and pour lukewarm milk over, stirring until dissolved.

    milk and yeast mixture in a bowl

    The Spruce / Christine Ma

  4. Add yeast mixture to the cooled milk-flour paste and beat until large air bubbles appear.

    milk, flour and yeast mixture in a saucepan

    The Spruce / Christine Ma

  5. Cover and let rise at least 15 minutes.

    milk and yeast mixture in the saucepan

    The Spruce / Christine Ma

  6. Heat the remaining 1/4 cup milk to lukewarm. Do not overheat. Pour into a warmed large bowl or bowl of a stand mixer. Add the egg yolks, sugar, raisins, zest, yeast mixture, and the remaining 3 1/2 cups flour, stirring after each addition.

    Add the egg yolks, sugar, raisins, zest, yeast mixture, and flour to a bowl with milk

    The Spruce / Christine Ma

  7. Knead about 10 minutes by machine or 15 to 20 minutes with buttered hands while still in the bowl, adding some melted butter as necessary to achieve a nonsticky, pliable, moist ball of dough. It will probably take about 3 ounces of the melted butter. Save the rest.

    dough in a stand mixer

    The Spruce / Christine Ma

  8. Add rum, vanilla, and oil and knead another 2 to 3 minutes.

    Add rum, vanilla, and oil to the dough in the stand mixer

    The Spruce / Christine Ma

  9. Cover bowl with greased plastic wrap and let rise until doubled.

    dough in a bowl

    The Spruce / Christine Ma

  10. Punch down and, with hands dipped in some of the remaining 1 ounce of melted butter, knead another 5 to 10 minutes.

    dough in a bowl

    The Spruce / Christine Ma

  11. Pre heat oven to 350 F. Coat a 10- to 12-inch round pan that is at least 3 inches deep or a 9x5x3-inch loaf pan with cooking spray. Using buttered hands, twist the dough and place in the pan.

    dough in a baking pan

    The Spruce / Christine Ma

  12. Cover with greased plastic wrap and let rise until dough reaches the top of the pan.

    dough in a baking pan

    The Spruce / Christine Ma

  13. Brush top of dough with egg wash (1 large egg yolk mixed with 1 tablespoon water). Sprinkle with optional walnuts and raisins, if desired.

    dough in a baking pan covered with egg wash, nuts and raisins

    The Spruce / Christine Ma

  14. Bake 1 hour or until toothpick tests clean or an instant-read thermometer registers 190 F.

    Cozonac: Romanian Easter and Christmas Bread in a baking pan

    The Spruce / Christine Ma

  15. Remove from pan and cool on a wire rack. If you wish, while the cake is still hot, sprinkle with optional confectioners' sugar. Let cool completely before slicing and serving.

    Cozonac: Romanian Easter and Christmas Bread on a cooling rack

    The Spruce / Christine Ma