There is no Easter in Croatia without a Pinza (or Sirnica) – Sweet Easter Bread. It is very flavorful festive egg bread, similar to brioche, full of rose oil, orange and lemon zest, nutmeg and allspice with the addition of Prosek (Croatian sweet dessert wine made of raisins) or rum and maraschino liqueur. The dough for this bread is mildly sweet, but the top of the bread is abundantly sprinkled with crushed sugar cubes. The Pinza is cut into three sections, symbolizing the Holy Trinity. The same dough can also be used to make braided bread with colored eggs.
This sweet bread will keep well for one week at room temperature, sealed in plastic wrap. It can also be frozen for 6 to 8 weeks in the freezer.
Pinza Sweet Easter Bread is a must on every table during Easter while its leftovers can be served for breakfast with a cup of latte or used in an amazing Overnight French Toast Casserole recipe.
UPDATE 2015: I’ve made some changes/improvements to the recipe (more milk, more butter).
See yeast conversion chart here.
- 500 g all purpose flour 4 cups
- 40 g fresh yeast; or 2 tsp active dry yeast; or 2 tsp instant yeast; or 2 1/2 tsp dry cake yeast 1.4 oz, 7 g; 0.25 oz, 7 g; 0.25 oz, 8 g; 0.28 oz
- 150 ml warm milk 2/3 cup
- 2 whole eggs
- 1 large egg yolk or 2 small
- 125 g sugar 1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 3 drops rose oil
- 1/8 tsp nutmeg
- 1/8 tsp allspice
- grated zest of 1 orange
- grated zest of 1/2 lemon
- 100 g butter softened, 3/4 stick + 1 Tbsp
- 3-4 Tbsp rum
- 1 Tbsp maraschino liqueur or Prosek* optional
- 1 egg for brushing
- crushed sugar cubes for decoration
Sift flour into a large bowl. Make a well in the middle of the flour mixture with your hand. Add yeast and warm milk. Stir with a little bit of flour. Cover and let rise until doubled in size, about 15 minutes.
In a separate bowl, beat eggs and egg yolk with sugar, salt, rose oil, nutmeg, allspice and grated orange and lemon zest. Add this to flour mixture together with softened butter, rum and maraschino liqueur.
Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface, and knead until soft and elastic and you can see large bubbles appear, about 8 minutes (you can use mixer or food processor to speed up this process). Cover and let rise for 10 minutes.
Divide the dough into halves. Roll each half into a ball. Put the balls on a a baking sheet lined with greased baking paper. Cover with a damp towel and let rise until doubled in size (up to 3 hours, depending on how hot is your kitchen).
Using a pair of kitchen scissors, make three 1 1/2-inch-deep, 3-inch long intersecting cuts that meet at the center. The cuts should be quite deep (at least halfway through the loaf) to allow the dough to rise up from the center and form the traditional crests on the loaf.
Brush the bread with beaten egg and sprinkle with crushed sugar cubes.
Bake in 175 C (375 F) preheated oven for about 45 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
*Prosek is Croatian sweet dessert wine made of raisins. Not to be confused with Italian sparkling wine Prosecco.
You can use the same dough to make braided bread with colored eggs:
PINZA Sweet Easter Bread
Get the recipe –> https://www.kitchennostalgia.com/bread/pinza_sweet_easter_bread_recipe.html
Croatian Pinza (or Sirnica) – round or braided sweet Easter bread; fills your home with divine aromas as it bakes!
Posted by Kitchen Nostalgia on Friday, March 18, 2016
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Question: What % of rose oil is used???
I went to my local store and found 5% rose oil (the other 95% is grape seed oil). It smells wonderful and is food grade. Is that a common percentage? is that low? do I need to adjust the amount in the recipe?? I can do the math I just need to know what the starting point is.
I wish I knew. I have a very small bottle from a local producer and it only says “ROSE OIL – to be used for cakes and drinks”. No indication of percentages.