Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Kozunak - Bulgarian Sweet Easter bread-recipe updated!


Easter breads 201107
I have been asked so many questions about this recipe, that I decided I should repost it and update the instructions, hopefully you'll find it useful when making this delicious treat ! 
Before I continue, I have to say that the original recipe is NOT mine! 
It was published by a very nice lady from a Bulgarian forum( Scarlet, THANK YOU!). However, the instructions and pictures are mine! I have been making this recipe since 2006 and it is one of the best Kozunak recipes I've tried!
 KOZUNAK
Ingredients for the dough
 - dry ingredients
7 and 1/2 cups( to 8 cups, depends how big are the eggs) sifted flour
1/8 tsp salt
- liquid ingredients
6 large eggs
1 and 1/3 cup white sugar
- yeast mixture
4 tsp dry yeast
1 and 1/4 cup room temperature milk
1 tsp sugar
- additional
2/3 cup melted butter
2/3 cup vegetable oil

1 extra egg for brushing the crust before baking
  
optional:
2-3 tbsp lemon zest ( if you like it) or lemon flavor. 

1. Preheat the oven at 350F( I use it to warm up the room at first too!).

2. Mix with a mixer on high speed the eggs and sugar until creamy.

3. Sift the dry ingredients together( flour and salt).

4. In a bowl combine the yeast mixture ingredients- milk, yeast and 1 tsp of sugar. Stir until the yeast dissolves completely, then cover with plastic wrap, cover with blanket or something similar, so it can stay warm and wait 15 min to rise.( To rise means to have kind of a foam on top)
*********************************************************************************
If using a bread machine

5. Place the liquid ingredients first, then add 4 cups of the dry ingredients and start the Dough program on your machine. Add gradually ( spoon by spoon) the rest 3.5 cups of flour. Use the kneading phase of your dough cycle 2 times in a row( just stop the breadmaker and start again).

6. When all of the flour is incorporated well, add gradually the oil and butter ( and lemon zest if you like it).

7.  The second time leave the breadmaker to finish the Dough cycle, the dough will rise in it.  Continue to step 8.

If using a stand up mixer with dough kneading option:

5. Place the liquid ingredients first, mix well with the dough kneading attachment on the setting according to your manual.

6. Add gradually the dry ingredients until well incorporated then add spoon by spoon the oil and butter ( and lemon zest if you like it).

7. Grease the mixer bowl with oil and place the dough in it. Cover with plastic wrap and let it rise in a warm room.  
Continue to step 8.

If kneading by hand:
5. Place the dry ingredients in the container where your are going to knead, then on top of them add the wet ingredients.

6. Knead at least 40 minutes! The longer, the better! 

7.Gradually add the butter and oil ( and lemon zest if you like it) while kneading. When the dough is ready, grease the container, place the dough in it and cover with plastic wrap. Leave it in a warm place ( today it was 95F at my kitchen) to rise.
Continue to step 8.
 ********************************************************************************

8.After the dough is ready, divide it by weight to fit your containers and set aside. If you want to achieve the traditional braided form, you can use 3-4-5 + dough "ropes" to braid the bread.

9. Simply take a ball of dough, roll it out with your rolling pin on a greased surface, you can add if you want filling like, nuts, chocolate, jam, raisins etc, then roll it inwards. 


10. When you have all your "ropes" hold the ends of each rope  and twist them in the opposite directions.


11. Braid the ropes together and place them in greased deep baking pans. Let them rise until they reach the top of the baking pan.
* Note : Each breaded unbaked kozunak should fill in half of the baking pan you are going to bake it into before you leave it to rise before baking!


12. When the kozunak has risen, brush with egg white( or a whole egg) on top, sprinkle some sugar and/or some nuts and bake at 350F for 40-50 minutes, depending on the shape you chose and the size of the pan you are using.



Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Beef Brisket Flambe with double fried potatoes with breadcrumbs.

Ok, most of you probably have seen these "cool looking" attractions at the restaurant when a wide shoulder waiter with a thin mustache sets on fire food and everyone ooohs and aaaahs.
Yes, it's exciting but it is so expensive to order that I am sure most of you haven't even tasted flambe food. The truth is that making flambe is so easy, once you try it, it can become a regular on your table. I am planing on making a video how to flambe food in the next week, so get yourselves ready to "fire up" your taste buds! :-)
Now if you still have no idea what I am talking about, take a look what Wikipedia has to say about it!

This time I didn't make the video because I honestly forgot. I started making the beef than at the last minute I remembered and that's why I asked my husband to take pictures, but it was too late and he had only his cell phone ( hence that bad quality of the picture), but I'll do my best to make a video for you to see what I am talking about.

Here is the recipe that I have for you today!

Beef Brisket Flambe with double fried potatoes with breadcrumbs
Beef Brisket0005

You will need:
For the Beef Brisket
1 large piece beef brisket
1 large redskin onion
10 garlic cloves
 1 cup whole baby carrots 
1 tsp coriander seeds
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
4 bay leaves 
1 tsp salt
5 tbsp olive oil

For the flambe 
3/4 cup  brandy
large kitchen tongs
a large pan with a lid

* Note:You can use any kind of alcohol you like, but not more than a 120% proof! Remember that the meat will take the aroma of the alcohol, so I personally prefer brandy or cognac, because it gives the meat more caramelized taste, taste of herbs, compared to let's say vodka, that has more bitter afterwords taste.

For the potatoes
2 lbs potatoes
1 cup bread crumbs
salt and black pepper to taste
1/2 cup olive oil
The whole thing would serve 8-10 people. 

Preparation:
1. First preheat the oven at 375 F. Wash and clean the meat and pat dry. 
2. Wash and prepare the vegetables- dice the onion, leave the garlic cloves and baby carrots whole.  

3. In a large nonstick pan ( with a lid!) sear the meat on each side. Add the spices and the vegetables, stir-fry for 1-2 minutes. 

Trying this recipe is at your own risk! 
PROCEED  TO STEP 4 ONLY IF YOU KNOW HOW TO FLAMBE !!! 
IF YOU DON'T,  BE PATIENT UNTIL I UPLOAD THE VIDEO HOW TO DO IT SAFELY AT HOME!
 Beef Brisket Flambe0001
* sorry for the picture quality, this one was taken with a cell phone as I mentioned before! 
4. Flambe  the meat and vegetables with the brandy and place in a baking pan. Cover the baking pan with aluminum foil and bake for 35 min, then check the meat temperature. 
 Beef Brisket0002
* Note: you can flambe the already cut pieces when the meat is done on the table when serving, but I prefer to bake it with the alcohol. That doesn't mean that you can't do it twice if it's for your guests entertainment.  
5. In a large cooking pan boil the potatoes until they are almost cooked! You need them soft enough to cut through easily, but hard enough to hold their shape. Take them out of the pan and let them cool. 
6. When the meat is almost done( approx. 40 min) remove the aluminum foil and bake uncovered for another 10-15 min.
7. While the beef is still in the oven, heat the olive oil for the potatoes in a large pan and cut the potatoes to cubes.  
GoldenPotatoes0001

8. Dip and roll the potatoes in the breadcrumbs and then fry in the hot oil. Sprinkle with salt and serve hot!
Beef Brisket0008

9. Take the meat out of the oven and let it rest on wooden tray for 5 minutes, then cut with a sharp knife. 
  
This is a great party recipe, because it is easy to prepare, virtually no time at all, it tastes great and it's attractive to your guests!
I sorry I don't have a picture of the meat with potatoes in a plate, but my guys were so hungry, I didn't manage to take any before the food was gone! ;-)

Enjoy!




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