Cozonac-Romanian Easter Bread

We continue our journey through abbecedario culinario della comunita, the European Community Culinary ABC, with the country of Romania and the letter “D” for Drob, a traditional Romanian dish similar to the Scottish speciality, haggis. La Cucina di Cristina entertains us with lovely photos of Romania and some facts about the country itself, plus her version of Drob. I hope to put Romania on my list of must see countries.  

The Romanians have a rich culinary history predominately the Ottoman Empire which ruled the country for 276 years. The Turkish cuisine greatly influenced the Romanian cuisine adding spicy meat dishes, vegetable appetizers of eggplant, peppers along with other vegetables and sweets containing nuts, and honey in cakes and pastries. Since Easter is upon us, I decided on Cozonac, a rich yeast bread swirled with a ground nut mixture. I found dozens of variations on Cozonac, some had nut fillings, some had ricotta cheese filling, some had raisins in the bread dough, some were braided-the variations seemed endless. Finally, I chose a moderately simple recipe.

Makes 3 Loaves (9x5x3)

Rich Yeast Dough

  • 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 4 tablespoons warm milk (105°-115°F)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • Zest from 2 lemons
  • 2 cups warm milk  (105°-115°F)
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter (1 cup or 8 ounces), melted and cooled
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 5 egg yolks, whisked until combined
  • 7-7 1/2 cups bread flour
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  1. In a small bowl, combine yeast, 1 teaspoon sugar and 4 tablespoons milk. Let sit for about 10 minutes, or until creamy.
  2. In a large bowl or measuring cup, mix together the sugar and the lemon zest with your fingers until fragrant.
  3. Stir in the warm milk, unsalted butter, and vanilla extract and egg yolks.
  4. Place half the flour in the bowl of a heavy duty mixer, add half the liquid mixture. Mix on low speed until mixed well. Add more liquid and flour in increments until well mixed. Switch to the dough hook and knead on medium speed for 7 minutes. The dough will be slightly sticky, so don’t add more flour unless necessary.
  5. Grease a large bowl. Turn dough into bowl, then flip over greased side up. Cover with greased plastic wrap. Let rise until doubled-1-2 hours. 
  6. Meanwhile, make the nut filling. 

Nut Filling

  • 1 pound pecans, or nut of choice (walnuts, hazelnuts, etc
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 eggs, whisked together
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. In the bowl of a food processor, grind together nuts, sugar and butter until finely ground, about 30 seconds or less, in short pulses. Remove to a large bowl.
  2. Add the eggs and vanilla extract, mix well. Store covered in the refrigerator until dough rises. If making ahead more than 3-4 hours, bring nuts to room temperature.

To complete the Breads

  1. Butter or oil your loaf pans. After the dough has risen, remove to a lightly floured surface. Divide into 3 equal pieces. Using one ball of dough, roll out in a large rectangle the width of your baking pan. Spread with 1/3 of the nut mixture. Beginning with the short side of the rectangle, roll dough over filling jelly roll style. Pinch ends and seams. Place in baking pan. 
  2. Repeat procedure for the remaining two balls of dough.  Cover pans lightly with greased plastic wrap and let rise in a moderately warm place until doubled in size. Mine rose just to the edge of the pan.  Brush tops with an egg wash (1 egg yolk and 1 teaspoon water, mixed together) and sprinkle with sugar if desired.
  3. Bake in a preheated 350°F oven for 35-45 minutes and golden brown. Bread is done when tapped lightly sounds hollow, or until a thermometer inserted in the middle of the bread reads about 200°F. Remove from oven. Let cool 5 minutes, then turn out on to a rack to cool to room temperature.

European Culinary ABC

Hosting Blog-Romania-the letter D

Submitted to Yeastspotting


  1. Simona
    March 29, 2013 / 4:02 am

    Wow, Lynne, your Cozonac looks gorgeous. The spiral of filling is perfect. It's one of the dishes I considered making, then went a different direction. But maybe I can make a post-Easter Cozonac.

  2. Cindystar
    March 30, 2013 / 9:26 am

    Water mouthering! :-PSuppose most of us we'll have an Easter Romanian breakfast :-)Happy Easter to you & your family, have a great time together!

  3. Chiara Giglio
    March 31, 2013 / 7:01 pm

    Yummy ! I wish you a very happy Easter Lynne !

  4. Priya Elias
    April 1, 2013 / 9:49 am

    The bread sounds so delish Lynne. The spiralling looks so perfect!

  5. A.L.M.
    April 1, 2013 / 10:20 am

    Hi, I'm Ana from It is a site in which users vote recipesfrom 1 to 10.There is a ranking of the best recipes and a profile with your voted recipes. Each recipe has a link to the blog which belongs the recipe. This way you will get traffic to your blog.It's easy, fast and fun. The best Photo recipes will be here.I invite you to enter, add your blog and upload a recipe with a nice photo.You are able to see your stats:-Number of visits to your blog from -Number of votes received every day -Number of votes received by each category -Number of votes for each grade (1-10)-Number of votes for each recipe.Look this example of one profile stats: would love that you participate with some recipe. Looks Amazing! Regards

  6. Lynne Daley
    April 2, 2013 / 9:51 am

    Simona-the cozonac can be a celebration bread for any season. Thanks.Cindstar, Thanks, hope your Easter holiday was wonderful.Chiara, thanks, hope you, too had a wonderful time at Easter.Priya, thanks, the bread was enjoyed.

  7. Kyra M.
    April 2, 2013 / 9:26 pm

    I'd like to invite you to join the CookEatShare Author Network. I really enjoy your blog and I think the over 1 million unique montly visitors to will too. By joining our Author Network, your blog posts will be indexed and users will be guided to your actual blog when searching your recipes or profile.The service is free and easy to sign up for. Simply visit or contact me at You'll get a unique link to claim and customize your profile. We look forward having you in our network!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.