Easter is here so let’s bake some traditional Czech Easter Bread!
Mazanec is sweet Czech Easter pastry usually baked on Holy Saturday. Nowadays it comes mostly in a form of a round loaf, however, it can also be braided. And in this recipe I’m going to show you how to bake and braid it from 4 strands.
Supplies for the Easter Bread
- 500 g of flour
- 2 egg yolks + 1 to smear
- 100 g of sugar
- 1/4 tsp of salt
- 42 g of fresh yeast (equals one cube in the Czech Republic)
- 175 ml of milk + 5 tbsp
- fresh grated peel from 1 lemon
- 1 tbsp of vanilla extract
- 100 g butter at room temperature
- 50 g of almond slices
- handful of raisins and a handful of finely chopped nuts
How to bake and braid Czech Easter Bread
Let’s prepare the sourdough first. Slightly heat up 5 tablespoons of milk in a bowl, break the yeast into small pieces and put it in the milk together with a teaspoon of sugar. Cover the bowl with a rug and let it rest in a warm place until the sourdough rises.
In one bowl, combine the sourdough, soft butter, milk, 2 egg yolks and vanilla extract and mix well. In another bowl, combine the flour, salt and sugar and if you want, add also nuts and raisins. Pour the sourdough mixture into the flour mixture and start kneading. If you want to knead manually, count on having a little workout, it will take some time and I recommend you to use your bare hands in the end. Otherwise, you can work with a kitchen robot or another electric kneading machine. The final dough should be soft, united and just very slightly sticky.
Place the dough in a bowl, cover it with a rug and let it rise in a warm place. The rising time depends on the temperature but the dough should at least double its volume.
Divide the dough in 4 equal parts and roll out about 25 cm/9-10 in long strands.
Braid following this video tutorial:
Cover the Easter Bread with a kitchen towel and let raise for 10 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 180°C/356°F. Whisk the remaining egg yolk with a little milk and smear it all over the mazanec. Bake for 15 minutes, then cover it with some aluminum foil, lover the temperature to 150°C/302°F and bake for 10 more minutes.