Mazanec is sweet pastry baked in the Czech Republic at Christmas. This is a beginner-friendly recipe.
Have you ever been in the Czech Republic at Easter? The nature is waking up after the winter rest, houses, shopping windows and squares are adorned with decorated eggs called kraslice, you can get the traditional whip pomlázka at any of the many Easter markets and people´s homes smell so good…there’s the lamb cake (cake in the shape of a lamb, not a meat pie), gingerbread cookies perníčky and of course mazanec.
It is a “cousin” of the Christmas bread Vánočka, the only difference is the shape. While Vánočka is rather long, mazanec is round.
I have actually published an article about this Easter pastry before. The original article contains a link to a recipe from another page but now we have a full recipe here, too!
This is really an easy recipe, the final mazanec will look just like a loaf of bread. If you want to make it a little more difficult, here’s a video on how to braid mazanec:
Before we start I’d like to invite you to have a look at the Easter category in our blog, there are articles about Czech Easter food and traditions.
(For 1 loaf although I make 2, one wouldn’t last a day at my house!)
- 500 g of half coarse flour – here’s my Czech Flour Guide and if you just cannot get half-coarse, just use all-purpose
- 175 ml of lukewarm milk + 5 tbsp for the mother dough
- 42 g of active yeast (that’s one cube in CZ)
- 3 eggs
- 1/4 tsp of salt
- 1 tbsp of vanilla extract
- zest from 1/2 lemon
- 100 g of powder sugar
- 100 g of unsalted butter
- almond flakes
- optionally: nuts, raisins
Mazanec – Recipe
Put 5 tbsp of lukewarm milk in a small bowl, sprinkle yeast into it and add 1 tsp of sugar. Let the bowl rest in a warm place and in about 10 minutes the yeast should be working, there will be bubbles and foam on the surface. This is the mother dough.
In a large bowl, mix the flour, salt, lemon zest and sugar, then add the mother dough, milk, 2 eggs, vanilla extract and butter. The butter should be softened at room temperature, not liquid. If you want, you can also add raising and nuts to the dough.
Knead the dough until it’s smooth. If it’s still very sticky, add some flour. Then cover the bowl and let the dough rise, it will double in volume. Then knead it a little more and form a loaf. Let that loaf rest in a warm place for another 15 minutes.
Preheat the oven on 175 °C. Smear the mazanec with the remaining egg (combine the egg yolk and white well) and sprinkle almond flakes on top of it. Bake for 15 minutes.
Then cover the mazanec with an aluminum sheet, place a bowl with water in the oven (this will keep it moist), lower the temperature to 150 °C and bake for another 15 minutes. Take off the aluminum and bake for another 15 minutes. Each oven bakes a little differently, so just pinch the mazanec with a chopstick. If it comes out clean, the pastry is done.
You can serve it just like that with tea or coffee, or have it with some butter and marmalade.