A few months ago my Dad's wife, Marge, handed me a few recipes for Kozunak, the traditional sweet, yeasty coffee cake type bread served at Easter, Christmas and the New Year. I remember having this bread all the time made by a host of Bulgarian bakers, but I have never made it. I went through the recipes...one called for eight pounds of flour and two dozen eggs and made God knows how many loaves. One was braided and filled with nuts and raisins and another was plain and baked in loaf pans. I was determined to make only two and borrowed from all three recipes and added a coffee, almond and brown sugar streusel filling. —inpatskitchen
What You'll Need
finely ground coffee
cup light brown sugar
cup finely chopped almonds
For the bread
cups whole milk
plus 1 teaspoon yeast granules
fresh lemon zest
7 to 8 cups
egg, beaten with a tablespoon of water for brushing on loaves
Combine all ingredients and set aside.
For the bread
Scald the milk and add the butter and sugar. Stir until butter melts and sugar dissolves. Transfer to a large mixing bowl and cool to lukewarm.
Stir the yeast into the milk mixture and then stir in the three beaten eggs.
Add the lemon zest and vanilla.
Stir in the flour a little at a time.( I started with 7 cups and reserved the rest for kneading)
Knead the dough until smooth and pliable, adding more flour as you knead.
Place the dough in a large, oiled bowl and cover. Let rise until more than doubled in bulk.
After the first rise, divide the dough into 2 pieces and roll each piece into a rectangle about 14 x 18 inches.
Sprinkle about 1/2 cup streusel onto each rectangle.
Roll up jelly roll fashion and then form a coil for each loaf making sure all edges are sealed and tucked in.
Place each loaf on its own baking sheet that has been lined with parchment or Silpat and then let rise about 30 minutes. Brush each loaf lightly with the egg wash.
I think I get my love for food and cooking from my mom, who was an amazing cook. She would start baking and freezing a month before Christmas in order to host our huge open house on Christmas afternoon. I watched and I learned...to this day I try not to procrastinate when it comes to entertaining.
My cooking style is pretty much all over the place, although I'm definitely partial to Greek and Italian cuisine. Oh yes, throw a little Cajun in there too!