Easter bread

Easter bread

Sirnica

By
From
Dalmatia
Serves
8

Sirnica is one of the most important dishes for the Catholic Easter in Dalmatia. We take this bread, coloured eggs, salt, spring onions (scallions) and wine to be blessed in church at the midnight mass before Easter. On Easter day we eat all this blessed food and wine for a breakfast. Even in Australia my family keeps this tradition every year.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
1kg plain flour
50g fresh yeast
250g caster sugar
100g unsalted butter, softened
100g lard
8 eggs, separated
1 teaspoon salt
5 drops rose extract
20ml maraschino liqueur
20ml dark rum
250ml milk, warmed
zest of 2 lemons
zest of 2 oranges
2 eggs, whisked
100g white sugar cubes, roughly broken
icing sugar, for dusting

Method

  1. Sift the flour into a mixing bowl.
  2. In another bowl, mix the yeast into a paste with a few tablespoons of warm milk. Add 1 tablespoon of sugar and 60 g of the flour, mix well and let it prove for 30 minutes. When the yeast mixture is ready it will foam and double in size. Add 100 g of the flour and mix it into a dough. Let it prove overnight.
  3. The following morning, using a freestanding electric mixer, mix the softened butter and lard with the remaining sugar, adding the egg yolks one by one, mixing well after each addition. Mix in the salt, rose extract, maraschino, rum, warm milk and lemon and orange zest. Mix all the ingredients well.
  4. In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites into soft peaks and mix them into the other ingredients gently with a spatula.
  5. Put the yeast dough and egg mixture into a bowl with the remaining flour and mix into a smooth dough. Leave it to rest in a warm place, not hotter than 30°C, to prove for about 3–4 hours.
  6. Cut some baking paper into round 15 cm shapes. Cut the dough into four pieces and form round breads. Place them on the baking paper and cover with a wool blanket. Leave in a warm place for 3–4 hours.
  7. When the breads are doubled in size, uncover them and let them dry for 30 minutes. Crush the sugar cubes in a tea towel with a mallet or pestle, until coarse.
  8. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  9. Cut three (not too deep) cuts in the bread using a knife, brush with the egg wash and sprinkle with the broken sugar. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes. Cool and dusting with icing sugar, if using, before serving.
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