Well, what can I tell you? This is the fourth or fifth year I have tried making a Sirnica or Pinca (depending on what part of Croatia you’re in) and again it hasn’t turned out the fluffy, airy Easter bread that by all Instagram accounts (of much better bakers than me) it should be. Traditionally this bread is taken to Easter mass to take part in the food blessing ritual. You take a basket filled with goodies including this hunk of dough and then everything is taken home and eaten for an Easter breakfast/brunch (this is my favourite Easter meal of all!) The cross carved into the centre represents the resurrection and I’ve always loved the crushed sugar cubes decoration.
This is the first year that I used fresh yeast because there was no instant yeast left in the supermarkets that I tried (thank you covid-19) and it worked wonderfully. It frothed, foamed and bubbled up, I thought this bread is going to be amazing and yet it is still quite hard. BUT!! It is delicious to eat (when it first comes out of the oven). Anyway, regardless of how long this bread takes me to master, I will be baking it every Easter for the rest of my life! And even though there are no Easter masses this year (again, thank you covid-19), you can still make it to enjoy, or just stare at it over the Easter table. But I thought I’d share this recipe anyway because maybe it’s my oven or something? And for you it may work out beautifully, let me know.
- 100mls milk (tepid for the yeast)
- 20 grams of fresh yeast
- One tablespoon caster sugar
- 850 grams plain flour
- 250 grams unsalted butter
- Zest of one lemon
- Zest of one orange
- One teaspoon salt
- Six egg yolks
- 150mls milk
- One teaspoon vanilla extract
- One teaspoon rosewater
- One teaspoon rum
- One egg (beaten)
- Sugar cubes (crushed)
- Combine the 100mls of tepid milk, yeast and 1 tablespoon of sugar in a small bowl. Stir well and make sure all the yeast has dissolved. Set aside to proof.
- With your hands or in a food processor combine the flour and butter until the butter has incorporated into the flour.
- Add the sugar, salt and lemon/orange zest to the butter/flour mix, using a whisk.Lightly mix the egg yolks, vanilla, rosewater, rum and the 150mls of milk then add to the flour.
- Add the yeast milk. With your hands, knead the mixture to form a dough and keep doing this for 10 minutes until it springs back when touched.
- Place the dough back into the mixing bowl, cover with a towel and allow to rest in a warm place to rise for 2-3 hours. It may take 4 hours to double in size. It needs to rise.
- Line your baking tray with baking paper. Set aside.When the dough has risen, take it out of the bowl and cut into even quarters.
- Roll each quarter into a prefect ball and place onto the lined and greased baking tray. Allow to rise again for 1½ – 2 hours before baking.
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsiusBrush each ball of dough with the beaten egg, then cut a shallow cross into the tops of each.
- Scatter the crushed sugar cubes over the top and into the cross. Bake for approximately 30 minutes, or until golden and a skewer comes out clean when tested.
Let me know if you tried this Easter bread (if it worked for you??) and what you thought?
Dobar Tek! Zivjeli! (Bon Appetit! Cheers and let’s live!)