Bulgarian Easter Bread (Kozunak)

Recipe by Mymble
READY IN: 8hrs
YIELD: 8 loaves
UNITS: US

INGREDIENTS

Nutrition
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DIRECTIONS

  • Mix first five ingredients (yeast, small amount sugar, salt, one egg, warm milk) in a large bowl.
  • Cover and leave in a warm place for 40 minutes.
  • Put raisins in rum to cover, and set aside to soak.
  • Grate and juice the lemons.
  • Set aside.
  • Sift 4 of the five pounds of flour onto a large tray or other work surface.
  • (You can estimate- does not need to be precise.).
  • Melt butter and combine with oil.
  • Heat 2 cups of milk and sugar on low in a small saucepan until warm.
  • Separate 4 of the eggs; set aside the yolks for brushing.
  • Beat the whites with the other 7 eggs.
  • Add a handful of the flour from the work surface to the warm yeast mixture.
  • Bit by bit, mix in with a spoon the rest of the flour, the milk mixture, the beaten eggs and the butter/oil mixture.
  • When most of it is together, mix in the lemon juice and zest, and the vanilla.
  • Adding more flour to the work surface if necessary, dump out the dough and knead until it holds together well.
  • Let the dough rest in a warm place until double in bulk (1-2 hours).
  • You may need to divide between two bowls.
  • Punch down and knead the dough.
  • Drain the raisins and dredge in flour.
  • Work about half of them into the dough as you knead, a few at a time.
  • Let the dough sit and rise again (another 1-2 hours).
  • Preheat oven to 425 (400 if your oven runs hot).
  • Punch down and knead again.
  • Divide the dough into 8 parts.
  • Each of these, divide into three parts; roll them long and braid into a single loaf.
  • While braiding, work the remainder of the raisins between the strands.
  • Brush the loaves with the reserved egg yolk and stud the top with nuts.
  • Bake the loaves about 30 minutes or until golden brown.
  • (We usually did about 3 loaves at a time.) You can also use the dough to make smaller rolls, if you prefer; bake for proportionally less time.
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