This is a traditional recipe from my lovely granny.
When I was thinking about what to make this Easter sweet bread was only one thing I would like to have at this moment. I miss my family and this recipe is something special for us because we bake it every single year during easter. There is also Easter lamb cake, but I couldn’t find any nice lamb form so I decided to make this bread.
Easter in Czechia
Not gonna lie, but I a little bit more of a Christmas person, but when we celebrate Easter I am always more than happy to make all traditions. For some people, old Slavic traditions could be a little bit weird or cruel (especially whipping girls), but I can tell you it’s fun, and we always enjoyed it. Let me tell you more about traditions.
BOYS: The week before Easter boys braided a whip from pussy willow (called pomlázka). Also, boys walk in a group through the villages and rattling their rattles vigorously, so the noise can be heard from afar (řechtačka). This tradition is happening every day during the morning and evenings until White Saturday when the boys are visiting every house and getting some money which they are splitting between the group.
The girls make and decorate Easter eggs (called Kraslice), bake Easter lamb cake or Mazanec and getting ready all decoration for Easter Monday.
On Easter Monday everything is happening! The girls are ready to be whipped by the boys or doused with water or perfume. The tradition saying that actually, it’s chase after illnesses and bad spirits and whipping make girls more beautiful and younger.
History of Czech Mazanec
This bread recipe is one of the oldest recipes of all. The oldest cookbooks that are mentioning Mazanec are from the 15th century and the loaf of this sweet bread was baked only during easter time and that’s on Easter Saturday (called white Saturday in Czechia). The original recipe was slightly different from the current one. People used only sweet cream instead of sugar because sugar wasn’t known well and was too expensive. The way how the bread was baked also was depending on how wealthy people were. More wealthy people could make more loaves and could afford to add some almonds, raisins, fruit or sweet cream.
How to store Mazanec
The best way how to keep Mazanec fresh and moist is to keep it in the container or cover it with a kitchen towel. The loaf could stay soft for at least 3 days.
How to make Mazanec
All preparing and process take a long time so make sure that you have enough time for making this recipe. It took more than 3 hours for me.
Yeast: In the bowl mix lukewarm milk with sugar and yeast and let rise.
Mix: In the bowl mix all ingredients and slowly add yeast. Combine until it’s smooth and elastic. I used a stand mixer and let it combine for 7 minutes. If the dough is not mixed properly use your hands and knead for few minutes.
Rise again: Brush the bowl with a little bit of vegetable oil and put the drought into the bowl. Cover it with plastic wrap or kitchen towel and let it rise again for 1 hour or until it’s double size.
Make it: Once the dough rises you can make different shapes or just one loaf.
Rise again: Put your loaf on a baking tray and cover it with a towel or plastic wrap and let it rise again for another hour.
Bake it: It’s time to bake! Before baking brush, Mazanec with egg and I baked it at 190 C° for 30 minutes or until it was done inside. Every oven is different so I found out that it’s better to keep checking because the Mazanec can burn quite easily.
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