When talking about typical Easter treats baked in Czech, you can’t forget mazanec! Also known as „velikonoční bochánek“, it’s one of the main symbols of Czech Easter.
What Is Mazanec?
Mazanec is a traditional Czech Easter bread made with sweet yeast dough. It contains raisins soaked in rum and its top is sprinkled with slivered almonds.
Mazanec is round and has two cross-cuts on the top, reminding us of Jesus.
It’s baked on Holy Saturday and it used to be a ceremonial meal; people used to go to church to have mazanec blessed by a priest.
Ingredients for Mazanec
- All-purpose flour – in the Czech Republic we use „hladká mouka“, it´s similar to all-purpose flour.
- Egg yolks – take the eggs out of the fridge in advance, so they’re at room temperature.
- Lukewarm milk
- Melted butter – not hot
- Dry active yeast – in the Czech Republic fresh yeast is most commonly used, but you can use instant yeast without any problems.
- Granulated sugar
- Lemon zest – grated
- Raisins – soaked in rum (soake them the day before and let them sit in a fridge overnight)
- Blanched almonds – to put some in the dough and some to sprinkle on top of the mazanec
Don’t forget to soak the raisins in advance, they’ll be juicier (I always forget this step, my bad luck!).
Did you know that mazanec is baked from the same dough as „vánočka“ – Christmas bread? As the name suggests, Vánočka is baked at Christmas in the Czech Republic.
Try out other Czech Easter Pastry – Velikonoční jidáše
How to Make Mazanec in 5 Steps
- Put the flour into a bowl, and make a small hole in the middle. Put the yeast inside this hole and pour warm milk with sugar over the yeast. Mix and let it leaven.
- Add the melted butter and the rest of the milk. Add the sugar, yolks, salt and lemon zest. Knead until you have soft dough, and mix in the soaked raisins and almonds. Let it leaven.
- Make a round bun from the dough and let it leaven again.
- Cut a cross into the middle of the mazanec, brush with the beaten eggs and sprinkle with almonds.
- Let it bake for 30 minutes in a preheated oven.
Be advised that the preparation of the mazanec takes about 3 hours!
Czech homemakers started making the dough in the morning, so that they had ample time for finishing it in good time.
How to Serve Mazanec
Mazanec can be eaten on its own, it tastes best when it’s fresh.
In our family, we spread butter on it, sometimes jam or honey can be used as well.
Mazanec is also awesome with white coffee, especially when it’s a day or two old. You can dip a sweet slice in your milky coffee and enjoy the moment!
Mazanec can also be heated up in a pan with a piece of butter (my favorite way), or in a toaster.
1 Guaranteed Trick to Make the Best Mazanec
Let the mazanec dough leaven for three times.
First, when you put the yeast in the flour with warm milk and sugar, then after you knead the dough and lastly after you form it.
Mazanec will be awesomely fluffy and soft after this process, triple leavening also prevents its surface from tearing.
Velikonoční Mazanec – Czech Sweet Easter Bread
- 2 cups (330 g) all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup (120 ml) milk lukewarm
- 2 tsp dry active yeast
- 2/3 stick (70 g) butter melted
- 2 egg yolks
- 1/3 cup (60 g) granulated sugar
- lemon zest grated
- pinch of salt
- 2 Tbsp (35 g) raisins
- rum to soak raisins
- 2 Tbps (35 g) blanched almonds roughly chopped
- 1 egg to glaze mazanec before baking
- almonds slivered, for topping
- Soak the raisins in rum the day before.
- Sift the flour into a large bowl and make a small hole in the middle. Put the yeast in the hole, add a teaspoon of sugar and pour in half of the lukewarm milk. Mix the milk and yeast with small portions of flour, until a thin batter forms. Cover with a clean towel and let it leaven in a warm place for 30 minutes.
- Add the melted butter (it can´t be hot!) into the mixture, together with the rest of the milk and sugar, yolks, salt, vanilla and grated lemon zest. Knead the soft dough – it’s done best with a wooden spoon. If you have a stand kitchen mixer with a knead hook, use it, it will save you a lot of work.
- Add the chopped almonds into the dough together with the soaked raisins. Don’t pour in the rest of the rum – leave it for glazing the mazanec. Incorporate them into the dough.
- Cover the kneaded dough and let it leaven in a warm place for a further 30 minutes.
- Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Form a bun from the dough and let it rise for the last time, this time for an hour. Have patience my friends!
- Cut the top of the mazanec in a cross shape – use scissors or a sharp knife.
- Beat one egg with a fork well to glaze the mazanec. If you have some rum left from the raisins, add it to the egg.
- Glaze the surface of the mazanec, sprinkle with almond slices and bake in an oven preheated to 350 °F (180 °C) for about 30 minutes.
- At the end of the baking process, stick a wooden skewer into the mazanec. If you take it out dry, the mazanec is finished. If there are any pieces of raw dough on the skewer, let the mazanec bake for a further 10 minutes.