The only recipe you will ever need for pinca – a traditional Easter sweet bread

Pinca or sirnica is a traditional Croatian Easter cake. It is prepared all over the country and although the base is the same, each household has its own recipe. Delicious Zagreb brings you the recipe from the Zagreb artisan bakery Kukuriku, owned by Domagoj Kordić. Kukuriku bakery is located in Savska cesta, and they are about to open another one in the centre of the city, in Mesnička Street.

The recipe offers the option to prepare pinca in one day or to leave the dough to ferment overnight, so you can serve it warm for Easter breakfast.

500 g of flour (preferably better-quality flour with more proteins)

20 g of fresh yeast

65 g of whole milk

60 g of water

1 egg

2 egg yolks

10 g of salt

zest of 1 orange and 1 lemon

50 g of lard

50 g of butter

One vanilla bean

50 g of thick orange paste

2 tablespoons of rum

70 g of sugar

30 g of honey

In a mixer or regular bowl, combine all the ingredients except butter, lard, yeast, and orange paste and mix on the lowest speed for 4 minutes. Or, if you are mixing by hand, until all the ingredients are evenly combined. Let the dough rest for at least 30 minutes (up to 1 hour). This way, you will mix the rest of the ingredients more easily and with less effort, because the gluten will slowly begin to develop on its own.

After 30 minutes to 1 hour, add the yeast and switch the mixer to the second speed. Mix for approximately 4 minutes; then add all the butter and lard. If you knead the dough by hand, stretch and fold the dough on the work surface until you get a homogeneous mass. After the dough has absorbed all the fat, it should be smooth and silky. Finally, add the orange paste.

Transfer the dough to a greased bowl and let it double in size. Now, you have two options – the first one is to deflate the dough completely, fold it and put it in the fridge overnight, and the second one is to take it out of the bowl onto the work surface, divide it into the parts of desired weight (300 – 500 g) and shape into balls. After that, arrange the dough balls on a tray and let them rise (covered) for another 2 to 2 and a half hours.

If you take the dough out of the fridge, leave it at room temperature for at least 30 minutes before dividing it and forming the balls of the desired weight.

When the sweet breads double in volume, brush them with an egg yolk if you prefer a darker shade of the crust or with a whole egg if you want a slightly lighter shade.

Bake them at 170°C in a preheated oven, for 30 to 40 minutes (depending on the power of the oven). We recommend using a food thermometer to measure the temperature in the middle of pinca – it is ready when it reaches 94°C.

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