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Thursday, March 10, 2011

Orange bread with chocolate swirl filling (Romanian low-sugar cozonac)

The "cozonac" is a type of semi-sweet Romanian bread with a variety of swirl fillings, ranging from walnuts, honey, raisins, chocolate, Turkish delight and so on; typically made for Easter and Christmas.  The one we made here aimed more for a bread taste and we used less sugar than traditionally used. That is mainly because the recipe was adapted (putting more orange flavor into it, sweetening the glaze etc) from here, and those girls probably didn't know that what they're making is what we call a "cozonac" and has more sugar. 
The second reason we chose less sugar is the fact that we plan to have another scrumptious very sweet dessert and we prefer to think of this as just a "snack bread" for between meals. Flavored with orange and chocolate. Yum. 
But if you want to have the traditional "cozonac" it's easy - just triple the quantity of sugar in the recipe and other than that follow the same instructions. And it's really easier than it looks. :) Anyway you like it, enjoy:

Ingredients (for 1 loaf):
  • zest of 3 oranges
  • 200 g bitter chocolate
  • 60 g butter
  • 120 ml milk (plus one extra tablespoon)
  • 120 ml warm water
  • 40 g sugar
  • 468 g flour (plus more for dusting)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 envelope dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (or 1 tablespoon vanilla essence)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon powder sugar (optional, for glazing)
  • a little sunflower kernel oil for greasing the tin

Get the oranges and chocolate. My, do they look pretty:

Grate the oranges zest and mix it with the sugar. Use your fingers to release all the flavor those essential oils have to give:

Grate the chocolate and put it aside:

Mix the warm water with the dry yeast (we used a mixer but the "cozonac" can also be done by hand):

Add the sugar and zest, the vanilla and 2 eggs and mix:

Melt the butter in a little pot along with the milk:

Add the salt and the milk mixture to the main mixing bowl. Also add 125 g flour and mix:

Continue to add about 75 g (half a cup) of flour at a time until you've put all the flour into the dough. 

Cover and allow it to rise for at least 2 hours and a half, until doubled in size. Then, flour a working board and put the sticky dough on it:

Take your loaf pan or tray and put it close. Spread the dough into a sort-of rectangle with the smaller side fitting to the length of the tray:

The whole of it rolled out should have about this shape:

Spread the chocolate chips on it:

Gently roll it around itself, starting from one of the short sides:

Grease the tin then place the bread in it, with the seam side down:

Allow the dough to rise again for about 1 and a half hours:

After it's risen, preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius and lightly beat the third egg with 1 tablespoon milk. Add the powder sugar and mix well:

Brush the top of the loaf with this mixture (gently, not to punch it back down after it's risen). Pour all of it on the bread if any remains. 

Put it in the preheated oven and bake for about 45 minutes. Take it out and dig in! :)

Note: the bread keeps well for several days at room temperature if it's covered or well wrapped.

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