Pinca – Croatian Easter bread

Happy Easter! Have a peaceful and blessed Easter Sunday 🙂

Pinca, also called Sirnica, is a traditional Croatian Easter sweet bread.
It is a rich yeast dough, made with a lot of butter (sometimes lard) and eggs, flavored with citrus zest, candied and/or dried fruit, rum or rosewater.
To make the dough into Pinca, you shape it into a round loaf, cut the characteristic cross with kitchen scissors and brush with egg wash before baking.

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In the past, Pinca was the pride of almost every household, each having their own family recipe. It was traditionally kneaded on Easter Eve and baked on Easter morning.
Today, along with French Salad, it still often finds its way to the Easter breakfast table.

Jump to recipe

Pinca - Croatian Easter bread

A while back, when Google+ was still very alive and kicking, we made many great friends there and had tons of fun! We did live cooking hangouts, wrote a book together and much more. One Easter the members of Foodies+ Group, us included, obviously, were making Pinca.
Since Google+ sunset, group moved to Facebook, so come aboard!

My Foodies+ friends, not only made wonderful Croatian Easter Bread, but they became ambassadors of Croatian culinary customs around the world!

You can see photos of all of their pincas at the end of the post!

A HUGE thank you for making that Easter special to:

  • Azlin Bloor, based in UK, but with versatile heritage and cooking experience makes her one of a kind. Check her amazing food collection on her site LinsFood.
  • Mirella Kaloglou shares many food tips on her site Little Cooking Tips. Check her great insight on Greek gastronomy!
  • Balvinder Ubi, my fellow Canadian, has a wonderful gluten free recipes blog Simple Gluten Free Kitchen, Indian style.
  • Rita Dolce, currently living in Spain, but with Middle Eastern background, has many sweet things to share with you on her site Dolce Rita 😉
  • Shana Shameer, Asian cooking expert, shares her knowledge on Asian cuisine on her site Recipes are Simple.
  • Indrani Sen, living in India, a cook, a techy and a traveler, shares her amazing food, tech and travel experience on her site Indrani’s recipes cooking and travel blog.
  • Joy Stewart, living in USA, married into a Peruvian family, shares many interesting South and North American dishes on her site The Joyous Kitchen.
  • Kanak Hagjer blends Indian flavors in her delicious Indian dishes on her site Blending Flavours.

Tools

  • Kitchen scissors to make that final touch, the characteristic cross on the top 😉
  • Pastry brush helps you finalize your Easter Bread by applying the whisked egg on it.
  • Mixing bowls. To combine all the ingredients together, you need to mix them somewhere. Mixing bowls to the rescue! Make sure bowls you use are adequately sized. There are few things worse than overflowing bowls.
  • Kitchen scale because baking is a fine art and perfection is a little bit more reachable when you quantify things; alternatively, you can use cups, in which case…
  • Measuring cups. Sometimes when you buy measuring cups, measuring spoons come with them
  • Measuring spoons to, you know, measure things with them.
  • Whisk to whisk the eggs.
  • Kitchen mittens. Things get hot in the oven. ‘Nuff said.
  • Parchment paper. Although not really a tool per se, it’s used in preparation of Pincas, so you should be aware of it when preparing to make it.
  • Baking sheet to put all your little breads on.
  • Kitchen towels that you can get in many colors, as dough rises better under the towel, towel keeps the conditions moderate 😀

Ingredients for the dough

Makes 5 small Pincas

  • 750 g (7 cups) all purpose flour
  • 2 sachets (14 g, 1½ tbsp) dry yeast
  • 170 g (14 tbsp or 0.875 cups but good luck measuring that) sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 sachet vanilla sugar (10 g, 2½ tsp)
  • 75 g (1/3 cup) unsalted butter
  • 75 g (1/3 cup) lard (it can be substituted with butter)
  • 150 ml (2/3 cup) warm milk
  • 80 g (2/3 cup) sour cream
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 40 ml (3 tbsp) rum
  • 40 g (1/4 cup) raisins
  • 50 g (1/3 cup) mixed candied fruit
  • finely grated zest of 1 orange
  • finely grated zest of ½ lemon

Ingredients for the egg wash

  • 1 whisked egg
  • sugar to taste

Preparation

  1. Soak raisins in rum.
  2. Sift flour into a bowl. Add salt, sugar and vanilla sugar.
  3. Dissolve yeast in warm milk and add to the flour mixture. Add eggs, yolk, sour cream and citrus zest. Then add candied fruit and raisins together with rum. Knead until soft dough forms. Make sure to knead it for about 10 minutes. Cover with clean kitchen towel and let rise in warm place until doubled in size (about 1 hour).
  4. Punch the dough and knead it again, adding melted and cooled butter and lard. Cover with clean kitchen towel and let rise in warm place until again doubled in size.
  5. Shape the dough into 5 round loafs and place them onto baking sheet covered with parchment paper.  Let them rest for 30 minutes. Using kitchen scissors, cut a cross into the surface of each bun. Brush the surface with whisked egg and let stand for 10 minutes.
  6. Preheat oven to 180 °C (355 °F).
  7. Bake for 30-35 minutes. While still hot, brush again with whisked egg and sprinkle with sugar.

Pincas from around the world

What does your Pinca look like?

Homemade Bread

For as long as we know, people made their own bread. In this day and age we are used to getting bread quickly and conveniently, in stores, bakeries and markets. There’s even a saying “The best thing since sliced bread”, which only puts an emphasis to the convenience we’re used to. Convenience of not only not having to bake our own bread, but also not even having to cut it. We buy it pre-cut, with slices’ thickness adjusted to our own personal taste.

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Unfortunately, as I am writing this, in March, 2020, there is a virus spreading around the world exponentially infecting everybody. Governments are waking up to the facts and a lot of people are “social distancing” and may decide not to obtain bread by usual means.

Now that the stage is set and the prelude is coming to a close, our hero, you, decides to take things in to their own hands and bake bread of their own. This breadless life will be no more.

No worries, our hero is not alone, there are helpful forcing guiding them, in the form of this post, and they can make it on their own, share the recipe with friends, and enjoy freshly made bread any day of the week.

This recipe is so simple and easy, and the bread is soft and moist! Get on a video call with your friends and social distance is no more.

Tools

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups (400 g) of all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups (350 ml) of water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp dry yeast

Preparation

  • In a large bowl, mix all ingredients with the spoon, do not use electric mixer.
  • Cover with a cloth and leave it to rise at least 4 hours, preferably over night.
  • Put the dough on a flour surface and form a ball
  • Heat the oven to maximum temp, my oven was at 270 °C (525 °F), and heat the Cast Iron pot in the oven, in which you are going to bake bread. The pot needs to have a lid and it must endure high temperatures.
  • place the dough on a parchment paper in a hot pot and bake covered for 30 minutes
  • after 30 minutes lower the temperature to 200 °C (390 °F), remove the lid and bake for another 10 minutes. This makes the crust nice and crunchy.

You can play with different flours as well, corn flour, rye flour etc.

How did this adventure go?
Have you ever baked bread before?
Tell us in the comments. We’d love to hear your experience.