Pinca - Croatian Easter Bread

Pinca – Croatian Easter Bread

Pinca, also known as sirnica, is a traditional Croatian Easter sweet bread especially popular in Dalmatia and Istria. Pinca is very similar to a briche and is traditionally shaped into a round loaf. What makes it recognizable is the sign resembling a cross which is cut into the surface of the loaf before baking. This symbolically represents the Crucifixion of Christ. Pinca is a very rich bread containing butter and many eggs, usually flavored with rum, raisins and citrus zest, and is eaten to celebrate the end of Lent. Together with Easter eggs, Pinca has remained the centrepiece of the family Easter breakfastand and is usually taken to Easter Mass for blessing.

 Recept na hrvatskom

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Pinca – Croatian Easter Bread

Makes two 23cm loaves
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Difficulty: Intermediate

Category: Croatian cuisine, Sweet breads
Cuisine: Croatian
Pinca is not at all complicated to make and most of the prep time is actually rising time.  Pinca is best eaten warm, but remains fresh for for a couple of days. Just wrap it in some plastic foil and cover with kitchen towel. It’s great for breakfast and goes really well with a cup of coffee or tea.
Ingredients
20g fresh yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
200ml tepid milk
500g all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
75g butter, melted
3 egg yolks
1 egg, for egg wash
75g sugar
2 tablespoon vanilla sugar
zest of 1 lemon
zest of 1/2 orange
60g raisins
1 tablespoon dark rum
Directions
In a small bowl combine half of the milk with 1 teaspoon of sugar and yeast. Stir and leave to proof in a warm place until it doubles in volume and becomes frothy. In the meantime, pour rum over raisins and set aside to soak.
Using a stand mixer, combine the flour and salt. Add the yeast mixture, melted butter, remaining milk, egg yolks, sugar, vanilla sugar, lemon and orange zest. Mix on medium speed using a hook attachment until the dough comes together into a ball. Add the raisins and rum and continue mixing on slow speed for 4-5 minutes or until you get a firm dough. Shape into a ball and transfer to a large clean bowl, cover with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel and let it rise for 2 hours in a warm and draft free place.
Transfer the risen dough to a lightly floured working surface and punch out the air. Cut the dough in half and form each half into a ball. Transfer the dough balls onto a baking sheet covered with parchment paper. Brush both loaves with egg wash and let them rise in a warm place for 1 hour. After an hour brush the loaves again with egg wash and let them rise for another hour.
Preheat the oven to 180°C. After 1 hour, brush the loaves with egg wash again. Using a very sharp knife or scissors, make three deep cuts in the surface of each loaf (similar to a cross).
Bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack and keep at room temperature wrapped in a kitchen towel.

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