Pinca, Croatian Easter Bread, is given at the end of Lent as a symbol of good wishes to family and friends. Our theme this month for Twelve Loaves is Easter or St. Patrick's Day breads. We have compiled a wonderful list of breads that can be made in your own kitchens for these two special holidays. The list and links can be found at the end of this post.
I first saw this bread a few years ago and immediately clipped and kept the recipe. I knew someday I would find the perfect gluten free bread dough that would work best for this bread recipe.
The dough I have been working on is a great Easter dough because it has more than a normal amount of egg whites (not full eggs, but hey, this is gluten free baking so some rules will need to be changed).
I love the combination of citrus, rum and golden raisins. Together they made the perfect roll and loaf that we served with warm butter and honey (at least this is how we ate our bread this past week).
A few details had to be changed from the original recipe simply because I am dealing with gluten free flours and starches. The most noticeable will be the shape and the rise times. The traditional loaf is more round on top with a noticeable cross cut in the middle. I tried, but the dough is very wet, unlike the normal recipe. The second difference as I mentioned is the rise time for the dough. It does not require 3 different rises, so a single rise is perfect.
In researching this bread I came across this article and wanted to share with you the list of Easter breads and where they are from. I found it fascinating how similar some of them were but with their own unique name and differences.
Dan Lepard wrote an article about Easter breads and listed a selection from various countries. His full article can be read over at the BBC Food Blog .
Around the world, home kitchens offer a wide selection of Easter baking ideas:
Babka - a sweet yeast cake found in Eastern and Central European baking
Bochánek - a sweet bread from the Czech Republic
Choereg - an Armenian spiced plaited bread
Colomba Pasquale - a dove shaped sweet bread from Italy
Cozonac or kozunak - found in Bulgaria, Macedonia, Romania and Albania, a rich sweet raisin bread
Fola, or pão doce - a Portuguese bread that is often sweetened
Gubana - a hazelnut-flavoured sweet bread
Hot cross buns - the English tradition, though now popular all over Britain.
Kulich - Russian sweet bread
Paasbrood - a fruit Dutch bread
Pinca - a Croatian bread
Pinza - from Germany, Austria and Slovenia
Tsoureki - a Greek plaited bread wrapped around, or served with, a coloured egg
Velykinė boba - from Lithuania
Rosca de Pascua - from Argentina
Pinca bread can be described as such, "An Easter tradition in Croatia, pinca also known as sirnica is a sweet bread that is flavored with raisins, rum and citrus zest. It is commonly shaped into a round loaf that is marked with a cross to symbolize the Crucifixion of Christ. Another variation is to tuck hard-boiled colored Easter eggs into the bread’s folds." Monica Topolko, The Hungarian Girl has an excellent Pinca recipe that is not gluten free.
Recipe: Pinca, Gluten Free Croatian Easter Bread
300g Fine Brown Rice Flour (about 2 cups)
300g Fine White Rice Flour (about 2 cups)
120g Tapioca Starch (about 1 cup)
73g Oat Flour (about 2/3 cup)
1 tablespoon salt
3 tablespoon Xantham Gum
1 cup of warm water
2 1/3 tablespoon of yeast
1 tablespoon of sugar
2.5 cups Seltzer water
6 egg whites, at room temperature
zest of one lemon
zest of one orange
1/4 cup of golden raisins
1 tablespoon of dark rum (you can also use rum flavoring, but reduce the amount to 2 teaspoons)
NOTE: I strongly recommend that this recipe be made using a scale to weigh the flours and starches. The cups are only close recommendations. I make this dough all the time and the weights with the scale have never let me down. I always buy my fine flour blends at H Mart. This is a popular Asian chain grocery store. They are blended to a powder consistency and are not grainy when used in baked goods. The texture it produces will shock you. I have tried all of the carbonated waters and Seltzer works best.
In a small bowl add raisins and rum (or flavoring). Let these soak until needed.
In a large bowl on a scale, add and weigh the flours and tapioca starch. Add the salt. Whisk together until well combined.
In a small bowl, add the warm water, sugar and yeast. Let proof for 5 minutes.
In a medium bowl, add egg whites and seltzer. With a hand mixer, blend the two together. Notice all of the bubbles? This gives the bread air and helps it to rise.
Combine the proofed yeast, egg/seltzer combination with the flours.
Mix the dough for 4 minutes with an electric mixer. The dough will be thick. Add the raisins with rum, lemon zest and orange zest. Mix until well combined--about a minute.
Grease your pans. I used a 12 cup cupcake pan and a 9 inch cake pan to make this batch. I wanted to see how the dough would perform as rolls and as a loaf. Both the roll and the loaf are excellent. The only thing to vary is the cook time.
I have included two pictures so that you can see how full to make each pan. See below.
I preheated my oven to its lowest heat setting and then turned it off. I added both of my pans and left the door open. Let dough rise for 2 hours.
Remove pans from oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Return pans and bake cupcake pan for 25 minutes and cake pan for 40 minutes. The top of the loaf should start to brown. You are welcome to use an egg wash but I notice with the gluten free bread it doesn't produce the same results.
Remove bread from the oven and pans. Let cool on rack. I stored the rolls and the loaf in large ziplock bags.
To warm, we microwaved each roll for 20 seconds. I also used the bread as the base for a grilled ham and cheese open face sandwich <----that was GOOD!
#TwelveLoaves March: Holiday Bread. Bake a bread, yeast or quick bread, loaf or individual.
This #TwelveLoaves is all about the incredible holiday breads featured in March. Do you have a favorite Easter or St. Patrickís Day Bread? We would love to see it. Letís get baking!
Look at what our very talented #TwelveLoaves bakers have created this March!
- Grammy's Italian Easter Bread by Dorothy at Shockingly Delicious
- Hot Cross Buns by Holly at A Baker's House
- American Irish Soda Bread by Renee at Magnolia Days
- Hot Cross Buns by Lora at Cake Duchess
- Pinca: Croatian Easter Bread by Sherron at Simply Gourmet
- Jamaican Zucchini Spiced Bun by Lyn at The Lovely Pantry
- Plaited Easter Bread with Cream Cheese Filling by Liz at That Skinny Chick Can Bake
- Greek Easter Bread by Alice at Hip Foodie Mom
We would love to have you join our #TwelveLoaves group; itís easy!
1. When you post your Twelve Loaves bread on your blog, make sure that you mention the Twelve Loaves challenge in your blog post; this helps us to get more members as well as share everyoneís posts. Please make sure that your Bread is inspired by the theme!
2. Please link your post to the linky tool at the bottom of my blog. It must be a bread baked to the Twelve Loaves theme.
3. Have your Twelve Loaves bread that you baked this March, 2013 posted on your blog by March 31, 2013.
Written by Sherron Watson