Sweet Easter Bread (Mazanec)

Sweet Easter Bread (Mazanec)
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  • 330g plain flour
         20g fresh yeast (c. 8g instant dry yeast)
         115ml lukewarm milk
         60g sugar
         20g vanilla sugar
         70g unsalted butter (room temperature)
         4g salt
         1/2 teaspoon lemon rind (grated)
         1 egg
         35g raisins
         35g roughly cut almonds
         1 egg and sliced almonds
         50g sliced almonds
    Czech Easter would not be Easter without the round sweet Easter bread (Mazanec). This bread was traditionally baked on Holy Saturday and then taken to a church to be blessed by a priest. This recipe is based on an old Easter dessert where slices of bread were soaked in wine and covered with honey or honey and almonds. Ingredients and recipes varied not only between regions but also according to each baker’s resources. Some Easter breads use only the yeast dough while others include a lot of almonds and raisins or even nuts and dried fruit. The dough was sometimes kept moist by adding cream or quark. After shaping the dough, the baker made two cross-cuts on the top with a sharp knife. This was not only about Christians symbols; it also has practical reasons as the cuts allow the dough to rise, they also allow steam to escape during baking and prevent the surface of the bread from tearing.


  • Sift the flour into a large bowl and make a well in the centre. Stir the yeast into two-thirds of the milk and pour into the centre of the flour. Slowly stir in the flour to form a thick batter.

    Sprinkle with a little of the flour, cover and leave to rise in a warm place for 30 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients, the rest of the milk and prepare the dough. Finally add the raisins and almonds.

    Take the dough out from the bowl onto a lightly floured surface and leave to rise for 30 more minutes. Roll the dough into a ball, using your fingers to push in any raisins or almonds so they don't stay on the surface, then place the dough on a baking tray. Leave to rise in a warm place for at least one hour. The dough is ready for baking when it springs back after a light touch. Brush the top of the dough with the whisked egg and sprinkle some almond slices, then cut the top of the dough with sharp scissors (or cut a cross with a sharp knife).

    Preheat the oven to 160C/320F/Gas mark 3. Bake the bread for 40-50 minutes. Brush the top with melted butter with rum and sprinkle (lightly) with icing sugar.

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