Bread | Dessert

Cozonac – Romanian Easter Bread

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Cozonac is a traditional Romanian Easter/ Christmas Bread that is fun to make and ridiculously and moist and delicious!

Slices of cozonac on marble boardPin

What is cozonac?

Cozonac is a slightly sweetened yeast bread that is traditionally served around Christmas and Easter. It can be compared to other traditional, maybe more well known, European sweet breads such as the Italian panettone.

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It is filled with various ingredients. Orange, lemon, rum extract, cocoa powder, nuts or Turkish delight. Like many traditional recipes, it varies between regions.

My daughter in law is from Romania and we have had fun making this bread and pasca the last few years.

Whole loaf of cozonac on wire rack. Pin

The dough itself is a simple yeast dough, which is similar to Gugelhopf. That is flavored with citrus.

The filling is very easy and contains the cocoa powder, nuts, powdered sugar and rum extract. Raisins are soaked with rum extract or vanilla.

Once the dough and filling are made, the bread is rolled cinnamon roll style to make swirls in the bread. It is a fun effect.

Close up of sliced cozonac
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What you need

  • flour
  • warm milk
  • eggs
  • sugar
  • yeast
  • vanilla
  • lemon zest or orange zest
  • melted butter
Ingredients for yeast dough sugar, vanilla, lemon, butter, yeast, eggs, milk, flour.Pin

What you need for filling

  • raisins
  • vanilla
  • powdered sugar
  • cocoa powder
  • ground walnuts
Ingredients for filling on wooden board- raisins, walnuts, vanilla powdered sugar, dutch chocolate.Pin
  1. Warm milk. Add milk, butter and vanilla to mixer bowl. Allow yeast mixture to bloom for 5 minutes.
  2. Mix dry ingredients in bowl.
  3. Add wet ingredients to dry. Mix thoroughly. Knead about 6 minutes by hand or with the dough hook of your stand mixer. Place dough in greased, clean bowl. Allow to rise 1.5-2 hours, until doubled in size.
  4. Add vanilla and water to raisins in a small bowl. Soak about 10 minutes.
  5. Add filling ingredients to another bowl.
  6. Mix well.
  7. Remove dough from bowl to floured board.
  8. Cut dough in half. warmed wet ingredients. Dry ingredient added, Mixed dough. Raisins soaking. filling ingredients in bow, Mix up. Dough after rising. Dough cut in half.Pin
  9. Roll one half of dough into long rectangle.
  10. Drain raisins.
  11. Beat egg.
  12. Sprinkle half of filling on rectangle. Sprinkle with half of raisins. Brush top edge with egg.
  13. Begin to roll dough along long side of rectangle, tightly.
  14. Pinch seams.
  15. Repeat with second piece of dough.
  16. Twist the two rolls together. Place in bread pan lined with parchment paper. Let rise about 1 hour.
Rolled dough. Raisins drained. egg in bowl. Filling and raisins added to top of dough. Dough brushed with egg. Dough being rolled. Log of dough. Twisted dough in pan.Pin

Bake at 350°F for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until bread is golden brown and internal temperature is above 190°F. Cover bread with foil loosely, if it is getting too brown. Cool completely before cutting.

Whole cozonac bread white purple towel.
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Other bread recipes

sliced bread  on marble board.Pin

Enjoy this Romanian sweet bread with a nice cup of coffee, tea or milk for breakfast of dessert.

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I hope you enjoyed the recipe today.

Enjoy. And have fun cooking!

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Sliced cozonac on marble board.

Cozonac – Romanian Christmas & Easter Bread

Cozonac is a traditional Romanian Easter Bread that is fun to make and ridiculously delicious!
See Step by Step Photos Above!Most of our recipes have step by step photos and videos! Also helpful tips so that you can make it perfectly the first time and every time! Scroll up to see them!
4.13 from 8 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Breads
Cuisine: European
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings: 20 slices
Calories: 359kcal
Author: Beth Neels
Cost: $4

Ingredients

For dough

For filling

To assemble bread

  • 1 egg white
  • brown sugar or turbinado sugar to sprinkle on top

Instructions

For dough

  • Warm milk, according to package directions, 105-120°F, (43°C)
    1 cup milk
  • Separate eggs. Add milk to mixer bowl with egg yolks, butter, 2 tablespoons sugar, vanilla, rum extract and yeast. Stir. Allow to bloom 5 minutes, until bubbly.
    3/4 cup butter, 3 large eggs, 1 package active dry yeast, 3/4 cup sugar
  • Add remaining ingredients, about 1 cup at a time and mix thoroughly.
    6 cups flour, 1 grated lemon peel
  • With dough hook of mixer, or by hand, knead bread 6-10 minutes, until smooth and elastic. Add more flour 2 tablespoons at a time if dough is very sticky.
  • Place dough in oiled, clean bowl. Turn dough over so all sides are oiled. Cover with kitchen towel.
  • Place in warm spot. Allow to rise for 1-2 hours, until doubled in size.

For filling

  • Add raisins to a small bowl. Cover with water mixed with vanilla, or rum extract.
    2 tsp pure vanilla extract, 1 cup raisins, 1 tsp rum extract
  • Combine the rest of filling ingredients. Set aside.
    2 cups walnuts, 4 tsp Cocoa powder, 1/2 cup powdered sugar

To assemble bread

  • Once dough has risen, cut dough in half. Then cut each half in half again.
  • Roll one piece of dough into a long rectangle, about ½" thick.
  • Sprinkle dough with ¼ of the filling. Then sprinkle on ¼ of the raisins, leaving ½" from the top edge of dough without filling.
  • Roll along the long edge of dough, tightly, into a log. Whisk the egg add brush a layer of egg along the top edge. Pinch ends and seams to seal.
  • Continue with the other 3 pieces of dough.
  • Line bread pans with parchment paper.
  • Twist 2 of the logs together. Place in bread pan.
  • Continue with the other 2 logs. Place them in another bread pan.
  • Cover bread. Let rise for 40 minutes to 1 hour, in a warm place.
  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Brush top of breads with egg white. Sprinkle with sugar.
    1 egg white, brown sugar
  • Bake 40 minutes to 1 hour, until golden browned and internal temperature reaches 190°F
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Notes

Makes 2 loaves. Use long bread pans. 12″ (30 cm) long loaf pan will work well.
Yeast bread Baking Tips:
When making yeast breads, add flour 1 cup at a time, until the dough comes together.
The temperature of the liquid is important, and varies with yeast brand and the type of yeast. Always read the package directions to check suggested temperature.
Many times, you will have to add flour to a recipe, or not use quite the recommended amount, due to differences in flour densities. Do not be afraid to add additional flour, if dough is very sticky.
Being patient during the rising process is important. Always let the rise for specified amount of time, so the bread will come out the proper texture. Don’t make yeast breads, if you are in a rush.
In general, yeast breads are very forgiving. Don’t be intimidated. If you add a bit too much liquid, and have to add more flour to a recipe, it won’t have a huge effect of the bread.
Add flour one cup at a time until the dough comes together. Add flour a couple tablespoons at a time after that if dough is still sticky.
General Baking Tips:
Always measure dry ingredients with a dry measuring cup. Measure with dry measuring cups or weigh dry ingredients. Scoop the flour into measuring cup with a spoon and the level off with a flat knife. Never scoop the four directly out of the bag or the flour bin directly with scoop. This can dramatically add to the amount you are using.
Always measure liquid ingredients with liquid measuring cup
Never break eggs directly into recipe ingredients. Break eggs into a separate bowl, in case you get any shells, so that you can pull them out.
Make sure that you know what temperature your oven is set at. Buy an oven thermometer and check oven temperature regularly.
Always check baked goods, like cakes or quick breads with cake tester, placed in center. If the tester comes out clean, it’s done.

Nutrition

Calories: 359kcal | Carbohydrates: 47g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 52mg | Sodium: 82mg | Potassium: 188mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 12g | Vitamin A: 280IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 40mg | Iron: 2mg
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Originally published 4/10/20

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18 Comments

  1. 2 stars
    Way too much flour in recipe. Like 1-2 cups too many. I’m assuming I won’t even be able to roll it out it’s so hard. Not an inexpensive bread to make either. 🙁

    1. We’ve made it 20 times. It comes out perfect every time. I’m not sure what you could have done wrong except messed up quantities of fat/ liquids to flour.

  2. 1 star
    I followed exactly, and the dough turned out hard and impossible to work with. I managed to make one loaf, and the rest was trashed because it was so tuff. Maybe the directions were supposed to say sift flower, because there was way too much flour for the wet ingredients.

    1. I’m sorry you had trouble with the dough. Commercial flours that you buy know are pre sifted, so there is no reason to really sift anymore. We’ve been making this bread for many years and haven’t had any trouble with it. I’ve changed the wording on the recipe. Maybe you used smaller eggs? Or scooped the flour out of the container instead of spooning it into your measuring cup? That can drastically change the quantity of flour that you used. Like all yeast dough, you add flour until you get a nice soft yet firm dough. Humidity can also be a factor when making yeast bread. That is all that I can think of that you did wrong since this dough is very forgiving. Thanks for giving it a try and again, sorry you had problems.

    1. Mine were 9″x5″. They would be better in a 10″ pan though. Let me know how you like it. Thanks Mikayla!

  3. 5 stars
    This cozonac looks amazing. We love baking this as you say mainly for special occasions and holidays like Easter and Christmas. Beautiful pictures too 😍

  4. 5 stars
    Okay, I have never heard of this bread, but it looks not only delicious but beautiful! I am currently all about making some bread and learning new recipes so I’m going to add this one to my baking bucket list for the weekend.

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