roatian Easter bread has many names – in Dalmatia, where I live it is called sirnica, and it the other parts of my little country it is called pinca, pogača (pɒgʌʈʃʌ) or jajarica. Our Easter bread is sweet and fragrant, brioche-like and delicious, and I can’t wait to show you how it’s made!
Easter Food Traditions
Easter is the most important Christian holiday celebrating the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. Each country has some unique traditions before and during this festive Sunday, but many of food traditions are found in all the Christian parts of the world. For example – it is difficult to imagine Easter holiday without roasted lamb, spring onions, asparagus, glazed ham, hard boiled colored eggs, loads of cakes and cookies, and some kind of Easter Bread.
Easter Breads around the Europe
Most countries have their own Easter bread tradition, so in Poland they have chalka or babka, in Italy you can eat colomba pasquale or pane di Pasqua, In Greece they enjoy tsoureki, in Ukraine paska, Bulgarians have kozunak, Germans make their osterbrot, the British dine hot cross buns, and in Croatia we have sirnica or pinca! Some of these breads are braided, some are filled with poppy seed or chocolate filling, some contain raisins or candied fruits, and all of them are delicious!
Dalmatian Easter Bread Sirnica
In Dalmatia, we make sirnica – Easter bread flavored with citrus zest, rum, other fruit liqueurs like Kirsch and pear liqueur, and – the most characteristic flavor – rose water. There is no traditional sirnica without fragrant rose water! One more thing – all Easter breads are actually enriched yeast breads, in a way similar to brioche. Btw, you can find classic brioche, raspberry brioche crumble and chocolate chip brioche buns on my site, so check those, too! Anyway, brioche dough means lots of butter of course. In Dalmatia bakers often use the same amounts of butter and lard for making their sirnica. I prefer butter, but if you are a lard fan, give it a go, your sirnica will be very soft and tasty, I promise!
One more thing, to make perfect sirnica, two most important things are time and patience! Knead your dough long enough to develop the gluten. Add butter gradually and knead again. Ferment your dough for at least two hours, and after shaping prove it for another two hours. Once baked, make sure to cool your sirnica before cutting. You should NEVER cut hot bread because by doing that, you destroy the delicate texture of your bread you’ve been building for hours! Now, I wish you happy and peaceful Easter and let’s make sirnica!
Croatian Easter Bread (Sirnica or Pinca)
by:Tereza Alabanda,The Pastry MaestraPRINT PDF (EN) ISPIŠI PDF (HR)
Prep. time : 60 minutes
Cook time : 20 minutes
Ready in 80 minutes plus fermenting and cooling
Level : Basic
Easter Bread (Sirnica or Pinca):
- Bread flour or manitoba flour 500g (17.6oz)
- Salt 5g (1Tsp)
- Sugar 100g (3.5oz)
- Vanilla powder to taste
- Orange zest 6g (zest of one orange)
- Lemon zest 8g (zest of two lemons)
- Honey 30g (1oz)
- Fresh yeast 30g (1oz)
- Whole eggs 100g (3.5oz or 2 medium eggs)
- Egg yolks 70g (2.5oz or 4 egg yolks)
- Milk 100g (3.5oz)
- Rum 15g (1/2oz)
- Kirsch 15g (1/2oz)
- Rose water 30g (1oz)
- Butter 200g (7oz) – you can swap half of the butter with lard
- Eggs 50g (1 medium egg)
- Milk 10g (1Tbsp)
- Pearl sugar 55g (2oz)
- To make Croatian Easter bread place lukewarm milk into a measuring cup, add fresh yeast and stir well with a whisk.
- Place sifted flour into a stand mixer fitted with hook attachment. Add the dry ingredients – salt, sugar, vanilla powder, lemon zest and orange zest. Mix on low speed to combine.
- Next, add milk and yeast mixture, honey, whole eggs, egg yolks, rum, kirsch liqueur and rose water. Mix on medium speed for about 10 minutes, until the dough becomes nice, smooth and stretchy.
- Then, gradually add softened butter mixing well after each addition. Cover the bowl with a cloth and leave it in warm place for about 2.5 hours.
- When the dough doubles in size divide it into four equal parts, about 285g (10oz) each.
- Next, form each piece into a ball by folding the dough, flipping it over and rounding using your palms. Place breads onto parchment paper lined baking trays, cover them with a cloth and let the dough rise again for about two hours.
- Brush the breads with egg wash, make incisions using scissors, and finally, sprinkle some pearl sugar on the top.
- Bake Easter breads at 180°C (350°F) for about 20 minutes, until nicely golden.
- There, your delicious Croatian Easter bread is done, and smells like heaven! Enjoy!
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