Nuselska kuchta

Nuselska kuchta

27. 4. 2014


Výzva tohoto měsíce byla pro pekaře z The Daring Bakers jistě nepříliš náročná. Úkolem bylo představit tradiční velikonoční chléb země, ze které pocházíme. No a protože mazanec pro nás, vás, Čechy není nic nového a objevného, a ani mnou použitý recept není v ničem neobvyklý, dává smysl napsat tenhle příspěvek anglicky, aby se v případě zájmu mohli i soudruzi z jiných zemí pokusit umotat náš tradiční velikonoční bochan. Přece jen, Google překladač, byť geniální, má svoje mezírky. 


And here we are. Since this Easter bread recipe won't be any kind of revelation to a typical Czech, I may as well try and put this post together in English. That way any one non-Czech can have a go at this rich, fragrant and easy Easter bread recipe, be it an expat living here or anybody abroad just trying out dishes of different nations. Should you get offended by mistakes in my grammar, please, feel free to skip right to the list of ingredients and method... :)

For those not easily offended I offer a little insight into the history of mazanec, which is the name of the Czech Easter bread. First recipes date back into the 15th and begginnings of 16th centuries. It was baked on Holy Saturday and the ingredients depended on for whom the bread was. There was the richer version for visitors, all with raisins and almonds, for household staff it was usually just a plain loaf with nothing in or on it. In the old days it was also baked without sugar, as it was not as widely known and used (and abused) as it is today, apart from being fairly expensive, I would imagine. Cream was used instead. As for spices I saw cloves and saffron listed which did surprise me, and they are certainly not used today, or at least I have not come accross them in any recipes I researched. Kind of seems strange our ancestors would use much saffron but what do I know. I am certainly no historian, put it that way.

My take on Easter bread is pretty straightforward. Put everything in and let rise. It is quite a heavy dough, so it takes a little while. 

Makes 1 large or 2 smal boules.

500 g all purpose flour
7 g sachet of instant yeast
120 g caster sugar (or demerara)
3 egg yolks
125 g unsalted butter, melted
230-250 ml luke warm milk (depending on how much your flour "drinks")
seeds of one vanilla pod
zest of 1 lemon (or orange)
2 handfuls rum or brandy soaked raisins - you can, of course, omit the alcohol
1 handful of dried cranberries
3 handfuls of coarsely cut almonds - half goes into the dought, the other on top
pinch of salt
pinch of ground nutmeg
1 egg whisked with a bit of milk to smear the boule before baking

1. Mix the flour, salt, yeast, sugar, citrus zest and spices. Add the egg yolks, butter and half of the milk, then add gradually while mixing the dough, until you reach the right consistency. Not runny but definitely not too firm. Mix for 10-15 minutes on a low speed or by hand. Fold in the almonds and raisins with cranberries toward the end of mixing.
2. Let rise in a warm place until doubled in size. Put the dough on a working surface dusted with flour and and fold until you have a smooth ball of dough. Shape into a boule and put on a baking tray lined with baking paper to rise for approximately another 30-45 minutes. Don't make the same mistake as I did - impatiently cutting it and baking after 20 minutes of rising. It opened on me like a book. It should keep a nice boule-ish shape.
3. Meanwhile preheat your oven to 200°C (390°F). You can cut a traditional cross with a sharp knife over the top of the boule, apply the egg-milk mixture over the whole loaf, sprinkle with the rest of the almonds and bake for 15 minutes. Then reduce temperature to 170°C (340°F) and bake until a toothpick comes out clean. If the top browns too quickly, put a baking paper over to shield it.

Let cool and eat with butter, marmelade or just on its own. Very rich and filling, with a mug of hot chocolate a very festive breakfast, indeed. I hope you dare yourselves and try this easy and utterly delicious sweet bread at some point. It's worth it. Really! If you don't try it, you will never, ever know! It really IS nice! A little bit more nagging and I will turn you off, you say? Ok, I rest my case. But TRY IT! :)

The April Daring Baker’s Challenge was hosted by Wolf of Wolf’s Den . She challenged us to Spring into our kitchens and make Easter breads reflecting cultures around the world.

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