Bulgarian Easter Bread (Kozunak), for Bread Machine

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Total Time
2hrs 50mins
Prep
20 mins
Cook
2 hrs 30 mins

I've been experimenting with my 2 lb bread machine to see if it can do the hard part in making kozunak, since it's so delicious, but a LOT of work. After much trial and error, this is what I came up with. The original recipe, from my Bulgarian mother-in-law, is posted separately.

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Ingredients

Nutrition
  • 34 cup milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 14 cup butter, softened (1/2 stick)
  • 5 cups flour
  • 34 cup sugar
  • 12 teaspoon salt
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 teaspoons yeast
  • 34 cup raisins
  • 12 cup rum (or enough to cover the raisins)
  • 34 cup whole almond (optional)

Directions

  1. Set the raisins to soak in the rum; I put them in a mug. I sometimes microwave 30 seconds to speed the process.
  2. Zest the lemon. Coarser is preferable, although I'm not about to give up my microplane.
  3. Juice HALF of the lemon.
  4. Add the zest, the juice of half the lemon, and all other ingredients (EXCEPT the raisins, rum, and nuts) to your bread machine, in the order specified by the manufacturer. I worried about the lemon juice curdling the milk, but it seems to work ok.
  5. Run the dough cycle on the bread machine. Add the drained raisins when it is time to include the add-ins. If your dough cycle has no add-in part of the cycle, do not add the raisins; work them into the dough later.
  6. Remove the dough and divide into two parts. For each part, divide in three; roll out into braidable strands and braid. If you didn't add the raisins earlier, work them into the dough and between the strands as you braid.
  7. Stud the two loaves with almonds.
  8. Let rise on a greased baking sheet in a warm place until about doubled in size. Preheat oven to 375.
  9. I bake for 20 minutes, glaze with sugar water (1/4 c sugar dissolved in 1/4 cup warm water), and bake 5 minutes more. You may prefer an egg glaze or something else. the total baking time should be about 25 minutes or until the top is golden brown and the loaf is cooked through.