In many European countries, there are various traditions surrounding the use of bread during the Easter holiday. Traditionally the practice of eating Easter bread or sweetened “communion” bread traces its origin back to Byzantium and the Orthodox Christian church. The recipe for sweetened or “honey-leavened” bread may date back as far as the Homeric Greek period based on anecdotal evidence from classical texts that mention this type of special food. It is also widely known that sweetened bread desserts similar to panettone, were a Roman favourite.
When I was a child, my parents had a villa house in the North of Bulgaria. This meant that we spent long summers and many Easter holidays there, enjoying the sunshine, the Danube River, culture and of course the food. One of the things that was always a part of Easter was the traditional Easter bread (called Cozonac/козунак).
It seemed so strange and fun that it tasted slightly sweet and was something of a real treat. Now that I’m not in Bulgaria that often anymore, I tend to miss these little things, but of course baking is something I can do wherever I am! So, if you like the idea of serving something traditional on Easter morning, why not try this bread?
I really enjoy making breads at home, the smell of sweet fresh baked bread always makes me so happy! This Easter bread is a fun and festive recipe. You can work through each step, mixing, proofing, shaping and have time in between to decorate easter eggs. A perfect recipe to make together with your family!
- 5 1/2 - 6 cups all-purpose flour
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 package active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
- 1 stick butter, softened
- 1 cup warm water (110-115 degrees)
- 4 eggs, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon cold water
- poppy seeds for topping (if desired)
- Combine 1 1/4 cup flour, sugar, salt and yeast in a large bowl (I used my stand mixer bowl).
- -Mix in the softened butter and the warm water.
- -Use the dough hook (or wooden spoon) to blend thoroughly, making sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl from time to time.
- -Separate the yolk from the white from one of the eggs, and set aside the one yolk for later use.
- -Stir the 3 eggs and one egg white into the dough mixture, one at a time.
- -Stir/knead in the remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time until the dough is smooth and elastic (approximately 5-7 minutes) *Note - if you're making this on a humid day, the additional flour will be required.
- -Place the dough in a greased bowl and cover it with plastic wrap in a warm draft free place to rise until doubled in size (approximately 1 hour).
- -Once risen, punch the dough down and turn it onto a lightly floured surface. Divide the dough into 4 portions (if making 2 loaves) one slightly smaller than the other OR two portions, again, one slightly smaller than the other.
- -Using the larger portion of dough, divide it into 3 equal pieces and roll each piece into a long snake.
- -Place the three roll out snake pieces next to each other on a parchment lined baking sheet and pinch the ends of one end together.
- -Starting at the pinched end, braid the three dough ropes together and once complete, pinch the ends of the dough to finish.
- -On a lightly floured surface, take the smaller portion of dough and follow the exact same braiding technique. *Note - this braid will be slightly smaller than the first one.
- -Using a little water and a pastry brush, brush a light bit of water on the base braid and then carefully lay the smaller braid on top of the base braid.
- -In a small bowl, whisk together the egg yolk and 1 teaspoon of water.
- -Gently brush the egg wash completely over then entire loaf and sprinkle with poppy seeds (if desired).
- -Allow the loaf to rise again until doubled in a warm, draft free place (approximately 1 hour).
- -Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- -Bake the Challah in a preheated oven for 30 minutes or until it deeply golden brown in color.
- -Cool completely.
- -Admire, slice and serve 🙂
Recipe By Kudos Kitchen
Христос воскресе! Kristus vstal z mrtvých! Christ est ressuscité! Krishti u ngjall! Christ is risen! Kristus er opstanden! Christus ist auferstanden! Christus is opgestaan! Cristo è risorto! Cristo ressuscitou! Χριστὸς ἀνέστη! Chrystus zmartwychwstał! Tá Críost éirithe! Kristus on üles tõusnud! Քրիստոս յարեաւ ի մեռելոց՜ Օրհնեալ է Յարութիւնն Քրիստոսի՜ Kristur er upprisinn! Cristu arrivisciutu esti! Хрыстос уваскрос! Kristus prisikėlė!