Easter is coming! The festive preparations during the week right before Easter are mostly related to the traditional Orthodox festive menu which includes – coloured eggs, baked lamb meat, green salads and kozunak. Similar to Italian panettone, kozunak is typical Easter sweet bread which is a must in every house, on every table during this time of year, and not only in Bulgaria, but also in Romania, Serbia and North Macedonia.
As always, we are here with a culinary idea which meets both the traditional menu expectations, and gives an extra twist by adding a note of our favourite element in the kitchen – the fragrant and floral rose flavour. And speaking about Easter menus with a twist, before you jump right to the recipe, take a look at these lamb chops glazed in rose jam. And now, prepare for some seriously good baking…
KOZUNAK WITH ROSE WATER
for 2 small or 1 big kozunak
200 g sugar
200 ml warmed cow’s milk
50 g soft butter
7 g dry yeast
600 g flour + extra 100 g for kneading
1 stick vanilla or 1/8 tea spoon vanilla seeds
the zest from the peel of 1 lemon and 1 orange
50 g almonds
4 table spoons rose water for cooking by Rosey’s mark
Before we proceed with preparation method, we would like to point out the importance of flour type to be used for your kozunak. In different countries there are different classifications and different numbering of the flours, so here 3 options. If you are using Bulgarian wheat flour, go for type 450 or 500. There are also some flours on the market labelled especially for kozunak. In you have access to Italian flours, choose type 00 (doppio zero). This is the flour also used for panettone. And according to the German flours classification the best option would be type 405.
1. Take out of the fridge all ingredients at least 2 hours in advance, so that everything is at room temperature.
2. In a bowl, mix together the warmed milk, the yeast, 2 table spoons of sugar and 6 table spoons of flour. Leave for 20 minutes in order for the yeast to rise.
3. Combine the eggs and the sugar using a mixer. Add the butter and the ready yeast mixture and stir using a wooden spoon.
4. Add the vanilla and the citrus zests and stir again.
5. Sift the flour twice and start adding it to the mixture while it’s fully absorbed.
6. Finally, add the rose water and knead so that the rose water is absorbed.
7. Move the dough to the counter and knead for about 10 minutes, using the additional 100 g flour and till you get soft, elastic dough.
8. Place in a buttered bowl, cover with a towel and leave in a warm room for 2-3 hours, till the dough doubles its size two times.
9. Move the dough to the counter again and separate it in 4 even parts.
10. Rolling them in your hands, form 4 long and thick dough ropes.
11. Place the dough ropes as shown bellow and start twisting them together alternating directions clockwise and counter-clockwise.
12. Place the knitted dough in a baking tray and leave it rise for a second time, for about 1 hour.
13. Smear with mixture of 1 yolk and 1 table spoon of milk and sprinkle almonds and sugar on top.
14. Bake in a preheated oven at 180°C for about 45 minutes. If the top starts browning too much, cover with foil.
15. Leave the already baked kozunak let cool completely before cutting and serving it.