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Macedonian Sweet Bread (Kozinjak)

Shared by: Baba Tala
Recipe origin: Bitola, Macedonia

The lead up to Easter is a time of fasting, reflection and sacrifice, but come Easter Sunday, the celebration and feast is on!

As part of my families Easter tradition, in the early hours of Sunday morning, following midnight mass, we devour Baba Tala’s incredible kozinjak.

Kozinjak is a heavenly sweet bread that everyone adores, so much so that my cousin has renamed it kozin-’yum’! I like to think of kozinjak as Macedonia’s version of a hot cross buns, but oh so much better!

Baba Cveta, my grandfathers sister taught Baba Tala how to make kozinjak as a young bride. The recipe has been in the family for over 60 years and I’m extremely excited to be able to pass it on for others to enjoy.

Making kozinjak

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Recipe

Serves 16

Ingredients
Sponge (yeast mix)
3/4 cup (185ml) full cream milk
3 tablespoons (6 x 7g sachets) dry yeast (to use less, see tips)
1 teaspoon (12g) caster sugar
1 tablespoon (6g) plain flour

Dough
6 large organic or free-range eggs, room temperature
1 1/3 cup (250g) caster sugar
2/3 cup (150ml) vegetable oil, plus extra for greasing
1 1/4 cup (310ml) full cream milk, room temperature
1 tablespoon (8g) vanillin sugar
Zest of 1 lemon
10 cups (1kg) white bread flour (‘00’), sifted, plus extra for dusting
3 drops yellow food colouring (optional)

250g raisins
1 organic or free-range egg, lightly whisked for brushing
Sesame seeds for sprinkling

Method
1) Gently heat milk to luke warm (blood temperature). In a small bowl combine milk, dry yeast, sugar, flour and mix until smooth (1-2 minutes). Allow to rest until double in size (7-10 minutes).

2) In a large bowl or pot combine eggs, sugar, oil, milk and vanillin sugar. Lightly whisk until well combined (3 minutes). Add lemon zest, plain flour and sponge (yeast mix). Use one hand to scrunch and knead the dough, while the other turns the bowl/pot. Continue kneading until the dough starts to feel smooth and moves as one (7-10 minutes). Dust the top with flour and make a cross using the edge of your hand (a tradition of baba’s to reminder us that bread is from God) and cover with a tea towel or lid. Allow to rest in a warm place until double in size (approx 60 minutes, depending on the weather).
Note: The dough should be quite wet, if it is too too dry add an extra tablespoon or two of milk.

3) Once the dough has risen knead for a further 3-5 minutes in the same bowl or pot, cover and allow to prove in a warm spot again (approx 30 minutes).

4) Oil a large round tin (40cm diameter) and line with baking paper.

5) Once risen, add raisins and knead for a further 5-7 minutes, scrunching and turning the bowl/pot until the raisins are evenly mixed through. Oil a large clean bench or table and turn out dough onto oiled surface. Divide into 3 equal portions, use your hands to roll and shape into long sausages (60cm in length). Gather at the top and gently fold over each sausage into a plait. Stretch out any sections that are thicker, so that the plait is the same thickness. Cut off the two end sections (these will be used for the centre). Shape the plait into a round ring and carefully place in baking tin. Combine the two cut off ends and roll into a sausage, then wrap into a knot and place into centre of the ring. Loosely cover with a clean tea towel and allow to stand in a warm spot for dough to relax (approx. 30 minutes).

6) Preheat oven to 200ºc.

7) Once the dough has relaxed, brush with lightly beaten egg (you may not need it all) and sprinkle with sesame seeds.

8) Bake for 10 minutes at 200ºc, or until the top starts to brown. Cover loosely with a sheet of foil and bake for a further 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 150ºc, bake for another 10-15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 100ºc, remove foil and bake for a final 15-20 minutes or until cooked through, test with skewer (approx. 50-60 minutes in total).

9) Remove kozinjak from tin and eat immediately or wrap in a clean tablecloth (or a couple of tea towels) to keep warm.

10) Serve while warm or at room temperature.

Tips:
- Baba Tala likes to use a large quantity of dry yeast (6 x 7g sachets), however, if you prefer less yeast use 2-3 x 7g sachets.
- Eggs and milk must be at room temperature, if cold gently heat over a very low heat to blood temperature.
- If it’s a cold day, prove the dough in very low oven (100°C), keeping the oven door open.
- Freeze leftover kozinjak for up to 2 months and reheat in the microwave.
- For a smaller kozinjak half this recipe, use a smaller round tin and reduce the baking times slightly.
- If your eggs are not yellow enough in colour, add 3-4 drops of food colouring.

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28 Comments  |   Add a comment

  1. daniela

    Mine is in the oven as we speak! It’s a long process but hopefully well worth it. Thanks for putting the recipe up just in time for easter up hear in the north. I’ll let you know how it turns out. xoxo d

  2. alasko

    This has to be the best recipe you’ve uploaded yet, closely followed by Maznik :D

  3. mary

    Thanks heaps Suz! I was always wondering if anyone would have the patience to actually write out this receipe – can always count on you! Will definetly have to try with the twins help!!!

  4. Natalie

    thanks for the recipe suz! i actually made it tonight- and everyone absolutely loves it!!! xo

  5. vera

    hi
    thank you for the recipe.i have my recipe it is very similar to yours but still it is very nice how you explain everything even baking time,
    thank you again
    vera

  6. Diana

    Hello,
    I just like to ask you why do you use caster sugar on all your recipe? can you use fine reg suger? by the way great recipes.. i made your queen cake today amazing.. my husband ate 1/2 of it..lol… keep up the good work,,
    i have to try your kozinjak ..( jas sum od dolno serpci do Bitola od kaj si ti?

  7. Kozinjak photoshoot | Village Feast

    [...] For the recipe click here  Recipe Rating:  Loading … Click on the 'stars' above to rate Comment on this Recipe0 comments [...]

  8. Vigora

    Dear Baba Cveta, Thanking you so much for your kozinjak recepta!!! Its so lovely of you for sharing… unlike many macedonians who are selfish, thus, refuse to give out recipes!!! To your grand-daughter, your efforts in detailed recipes are much appreciated. Keep up the great work and god bless you both :) Xx
    Kind regards, Vigora

  9. Village Feast

    Welcome Vigora!! Sadly Baba Cveta actually passed away a couple of weeks ago so it’s nice that this recipe is in memory of her – she was both a beautiful and generous lady :)

  10. Vigora

    Im do sorry to hear ::( Bog da e prosti.. Take care & keep up the great work ;)
    May baba Cveta R.I.P.

    P.s. I have a posna recepta for plain apple & cinnomon tortincina (cupcakes). Please let know if you are interested in having this posted on you web page? Cheers, Vee

  11. Village Feast in Good Taste magazine | Village Feast

    [...] For the Kozinjak recipe click here. [...]

  12. Lidija

    Hi Suz,

    all this week I have been looking for something sweet to make for Easter and then you sent this…perfect!!! and it looks delicious. THANKS!!!
    Miss you Lidija

  13. tatiana

    Thank you for recipe, look wonderfull,probably it is the taste of your childhood. I bake it yesterday and unfortunatly taste is not good at all, too much yeast!!! Taste of the yeast and smell too!!!Not balanced not a pinch of salt, no butter, but idea to do plait andto do ring is wonderfull, I would use it for mine sweet bread.Story is sweet from loving granddaughter. Thank you.

  14. Natasha Petrovska

    Hi Suzana,

    I saw your kozinjak recipe i the Good Taste publication. Congratulations! It is fantastic to open a publication and read/see true Macedonian food. It is about time. I am making the kozinjak right now however by following your measurements the dough ewas coming quite hard so I added some more milk etc. I noticed one of your babas pictures shows she is adding water but it is not mentioned in the ingredients. Can you please comment on this.
    Sorry to hear about your babas.
    To Diana who made the comment Dolno Diana if you read this, whats your surname?

  15. Natasha Petrovska

    Sorry Diana, I meant Dolno Srpci…..

  16. Village Feast

    Hi Diana, yes adding more milk is the right thing to do. As for water in the picture, it was a prop used incorrectly in the photoshoot as we had to make 2 versions…whoops ;)
    I hope your kozinjak turned out – baking is never a perfect process as it depends on your flour and the weather. S

  17. Mel valentine

    Hi, happy easter :) Im in the middle of makeing Kozinjak with my three year old son and my Mum, I have been very much looking forward to this being a special easter baking treat that would hopefully become a tradition. I am a bit dissapointed though as the artical and photos really give the imprecion that was water is added even though there is no mention of water in the recipe.the dough was very hard in deed and adding enough milk/water?? once it is at dough stage was very hard so in the end we had to put it into the old kenward with the dough hook to work the liquid into the dough to get it to the right consistancy. we were adding milk but then on seeing the picture thought there should have been water added ealier, I did think that it indeed may have been the case of just a prop photo (not a good idea though for recipes though!) but then when I read in the artical ‘Baba will bump in the flour and I’ll say ‘STOP’ Lets weigh it before you add the water’ that they MUST have left out the water from the recipe so we then added water to get it to the right consistancy. It is now having its hour rest. I came on the web site to see if I could find an answer. on reading a comment from someone else I see that it was a prop photo ‘oops’ and the conversation was probbably about another recipe you cook with her. as it says that milk is what is needed…… :( I really hope mine still works as my son will be sad and will have wasted the igreadients too. sorry if I sound a bit grumpy about it I just feel the magazine really should have been able to see such a big mistake and feel that by them being told that hopefully they will be more carfull. I really do want to have somthing special for my family when they arrive tonight. Fingers crossed.I really am glad you got this recipe published before your Baba past, its a beautiful thing for such treasures to be passed on.

  18. Mel valentine

    oops Kenwood! not Kenward…. what ever that might be :) !

  19. Diana

    Zdravo Natasha Petrovska

    I/m from Dolno Serpci..

  20. Diana

    My last name is Gajtanovski

  21. Vigora

    Hi again, 2nd time round this recipe has done wonders for me this Easter!!!! Keep your fabulous recipes coming!!! Happy Easter to you all xx

  22. nada sobevski

    Thank you for sharing .This will be my first time i’ m going to make kozinjak on my own.Hope all goes well.Thanlk u again.Happy Easter to all.

  23. Sandra Stamcoff

    I would like to thank you for posting this recipe. My dear Baba Temeyana passed away years ago before I took an interest in learning to make bread. Your Baba’s bread came out wonderful, very much like my Baba’s, who concidentally was also from Bitola. The step-by-step instructions were very helpful. Thank you so much for sharing this recipe and passing on our proud Macedonian heritage. Sandra from Toronto Canada

  24. Natasha Petrovska

    Hi Dijana Gajtanovska,
    What a small world… or the beauty of the net. I know you. you were friends with my cousing Dijana Jorgandzijovska. I am few years younger and I used to hang around with you girls. To the best of my memory… I think you were/are tall girl and left for Canada or USA when you were a teenager…am I right? Is that you?

  25. Diana

    TO ”
    Natasha Petrovska

    that is me wow .. here is my email
    derekanddiane@rogers.com we can talk i’m in Canada

    thanks

  26. Sandy

    I want to make it with a red egg in the middle. Do I put the egg in the middle and bake it or will that crack the egg? (The egg has already been boiled and coloured)

  27. Chef Carla

    So I have made the kozinjak and following your recipe it is way to much yest.. and it was too dense so when I made it This evening I only put 14 grams of yeast and it has worked out so much better lighter and fluffy.
    So I think you should adjust the recipe..

  28. Village Feast

    Thanks Clara. I haven’t made the kozinjak in a while, I’ll double check with Baba and update.
    Happy Easter!

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