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Pinca – The Traditional Croatian Easter Bread

Pinca – The Traditional Croatian Easter Bread

Pinca Croatian Easter Bread

This bread is traditionally baked in Croatia during Easter holidays. It is sweet, rich, soft, foamy, light and beautifully flavored.

Pinca (also called sirnica) 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. It is shaped into a round loaf that is cut with kitchen scissors and brushed with egg wash before baking. In the past, pinca was the pride of almost every household, each had their own family recipe. In Croatia, it was traditionally made on the Saturday and baked on Easter morning – but is now eaten throughout Easter.

For a long time I was avoiding making this sweet bread. It was just never made in our family. Then I tried several recipes and wasn’t impressed, to say the least. It was ok while it was still hot, but when cooled, it turned into a dry loaf of bread. Nothing special, nothing that would interest me. So after a few recipes, I forgot about it. However, this year I had to prepare some traditional Easter recipes and finally gave in and gave pinca another try. I was determined to make it work this time. And so it did. It worked wonderfully. I got soft, light and foamy dough that remained soft and not even a bit dry after 2-3 days (I wrapped the remainings in plastic wrap). It had a wonderful flavor – this time I used both candied fruit and raisins. Pinca is great with some butter and a cup of coffee or tea.

This rich dough is made for special occasions and is not something you can make in a hurry. Pinca takes some time and there are several things to consider when making it, as it will result in beautifully soft and foamy dough.


How to Make Pica – Traditional Croatian Easter Bread


  1. Prep Raisins:

    • Soak raisins in rum and set aside.

  2. Dough Mixture:

    • Sift flour into a large mixing bowl. Incorporate salt, sugar, and vanilla sugar.
    • Dissolve yeast in warm milk and mix into the flour. Add eggs, egg yolk, sour cream, and citrus zests. Stir in candied fruit and rum-soaked raisins.

  3. Kneading:

    • Knead until a soft, elastic dough forms, approximately 10 minutes. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let it rise in a warm place until doubled in size (about 1 hour).

  4. Second Rise:

    • Punch down the dough, then knead in melted (but cooled) butter and lard. Cover and let rise again until doubled.

  5. Forming Loaves:

    • Shape the dough into five round loaves and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Rest for 30 minutes. Cut a cross on top of each loaf with kitchen scissors.

  6. Egg Wash:

    • Beat 1 egg and brush the top of each loaf. Let stand for an additional 10 minutes.

  7. Baking:

    • Preheat oven to 356°F (180°C). Bake for 30-35 minutes or until golden.

  8. Final Touch:

    • While hot, brush the loaves again with egg wash and sprinkle with sugar.

Recipe Notes:

  • Ensure milk is warm to touch for the yeast to activate properly.
  • Allow dough to fully double during both rising periods for best texture.
  • The cross-cut on top of the loaves is traditional and helps the bread bake evenly.

 

See Also
Italian Castagnaccio Cake


 

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Pinca Croatian Easter Bread

Pinca – The Traditional Croatian Easter Bread


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4.9 from 8 reviews

  • Author: Tamara Novacovic
  • Total Time: 3 hours
  • Yield: 5 loaves 1x

Description

This sweet bread is traditionally baked in Croatia during Easter holidays. It takes a lot of time to prepare, but the result is sweet, rich, soft, foamy, light and beautifully flavored dough that will satisfy any palate!


Ingredients

Units Scale

Dough:

  • 26.4 oz (750g) all-purpose flour
  • 2 sachets (14g) dry yeast
  • 6 oz (175g) sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 tbsp vanilla sugar
  • 2.6 oz (75g) unsalted butter
  • 2.6 oz (75g) lard
  • 0.6 cups (150ml) warm milk
  • 3.1 oz (90g) sour cream
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 3/4 tbsp (40ml) rum
  • 1.4 oz (40g) raisins
  • 1.7 oz (50g) mixed candied fruit
  • Zest of 1 orange (finely grated)
  • Zest of 1/2 lemon (finely grated)

Egg Wash:

  • 1 large egg
  • Sugar for sprinkling

Instructions

  1. Prep Raisins:
    • Soak raisins in rum and set aside.
  2. Dough Mixture:
    • Sift flour into a large mixing bowl. Incorporate salt, sugar, and vanilla sugar.
    • Dissolve yeast in warm milk and mix into the flour. Add eggs, egg yolk, sour cream, and citrus zests. Stir in candied fruit and rum-soaked raisins.
  3. Kneading:
    • Knead until a soft, elastic dough forms, approximately 10 minutes. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let it rise in a warm place until doubled in size (about 1 hour).
  4. Second Rise:
    • Punch down the dough, then knead in melted (but cooled) butter and lard. Cover and let rise again until doubled.
  5. Forming Loaves:
    • Shape the dough into five round loaves and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Rest for 30 minutes. Cut a cross on top of each loaf with kitchen scissors.
  6. Egg Wash:
    • Beat 1 egg and brush the top of each loaf. Let stand for an additional 10 minutes.
  7. Baking:
    • Preheat oven to 356°F (180°C). Bake for 30-35 minutes or until golden.
  8. Final Touch:
    • While hot, brush the loaves again with egg wash and sprinkle with sugar.

Notes

  • Ensure milk is warm to touch for the yeast to activate properly.
  • Allow dough to fully double during both rising periods for best texture.
  • The cross-cut on top of the loaves is traditional and helps the bread bake evenly.
  • Prep Time: 150 mins
  • Cook Time: 30 mins
  • Category: Bread
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: Croatian

 

View Comments (12)
  • Hi.
    Your Pinca Easter bread is wonderful my partner loved it and also my self, if you have the time for sending me some recipes that you could think are interesting please I will appreciate it.
    Keep loving food and the art of cooking.






  • Since candied fruit is usually available only at Christmas (in my area), I guess I’ll have to wait until then to make Pinca. (I’m pouting as I type this.) :)
    Tamara, your recipes, photographs, and words are beautiful. Your passion certainly flavors your “work.” Thanks for sharing!






  • Wonderful recipe. I made your recipe this Easter. I like it better than my usual Italian Easter bread. Very flavorful with fruits and lard.






  • I am trying to find a recipe for mastnica(not sure of spelling). Its a yeast bread rolled with cottage cheese, eggs, butter and onions.

  • Just made this for the Croatian/ France final in the World Cup watching party. Croatia lost but these rolls WON. Moist, delicious, full of flavor but not too sweet. We did ours with raisins, dried cranberries and prunes. We also did the first rise over night in the fridge, which helps with these sort of enriched breads- the extra fruit, alcohol and fat retard the yeast process. 3 rises for this worked great – first as mentioned over night in the fridge, second was an hour in a proofing drawer, third was once the rolls were separated for 30 minutes – but probably could have gone for 15-30 more minutes. in the oven for 33 minutes and out they came, just right :)






  • Love this recipe! I was introduced to Pinca by a Croatian friend and although I am vegetarian and prefer spicy food, I find the food my friend makes to be tasty and just lovely :)






  • I made this today, and it turned out completely amazing. Fantastic bread recipe, that I will definitely use – not just for Easter!






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