Traditional Romanian fluffy sweet bread with dark chocolate, cocoa, hazelnuts, candied orange, cinnamon, and orange jelly – who doesn’t like it? Whenever I think that winter is coming, I already think about the smell that dominates the whole kitchen, the multitude of broken walnut shells, and the moment when we start to break from the fresh sweet bread taken out of the oven.
Who else has the patience for sweet bread to cool? Aromatic, with a fantastic crust and a soft and fluffy core, it fully deserves all the work done.
The best and fluffiest traditional sweet bread with dark chocolate, cocoa, hazelnuts, candied orange, cinnamon, and orange jelly came out with this recipe, which I adjusted until it came out perfectly.
There are certainly other successful sweet bread variants, but I will present to you my favorite Romanian traditional recipe and I recommend you respect exactly the weight of the dough. I guarantee you fluffiness and a special taste.
You are free to experiment to your liking.
Prep Time: 40 Minutes
Kneading Time: 50 Minutes
Leavened Time: 2 Hours
Cooking Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 4 hours:30 minutes
• 500 g of dry whole flour
• 10 yolks
• 150 g Stevia sweetener
• 50 ml sunflower oil
• 70 g butter with 80% fat
• 15 g cocoa (1 tablespoon)
• 250 ml milk + 50 ml warm milk for the sourdough preparation.
• 1 teaspoon of rum essence
• Freshly grated zest from ½ lemon and ½ orange
• ½ teaspoon of salt
• 7 g of dry yeast or 25 g of fresh (I used fresh)
• 50 g of fat yogurt or kefir
• 1 tablespoon of lard
• 1 cube of butter to grease the tray (or baking paper)
Ingredients for the filling:
Depending on your preferences, you can add walnut kernels, ground walnut, hazelnuts, raisins, dried cranberries, cocoa, chocolate, Turkish Delight, candied fruits, and cinnamon.
Ingredients for the dark dough filling:
• 20 g butter min.80%
• 160 g dark chocolate (min 80% cocoa)
• 2 tablespoons of cocoa
• 70 g candied oranges
• 1 tbsp chopped hazelnuts.
Ingredients for the white dough filling:
• 1 tsp of cinnamon
• 100 g dark chocolate pennies
• 100 g orange jelly.
Ingredients for the orange jelly:
• 150 ml of freshly squeezed orange juice
• 3 g of gelatin
• 1 tsp of Stevia sweetener/agave syrup.
• 1 egg yolk + 20 ml milk + 1 pinch of salt to grease the sweet bread (for gloss).
Make the orange jelly:
1. Gelatin is left to hydrate in 1 tbsp of water for 5 minutes.
2. Put the orange juice in a saucepan on the fire, add the sweetener, stirring constantly until it starts to boil. Remove from the heat, allow to cool slightly, add gelatin, mix for a few seconds until the gelatin is completely dissolved, strain it, then leave to cool.
3. After it has cooled, put the jelly in the freezer until it hardens, then takes it out and cut it into cubes. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Note: I suggest you make the orange jelly the day before.
Make the dough:
All the necessary ingredients for the sweet bread are taken out the night before preparation, to be at room temperature, otherwise, the sweet bread is “cut”.
1. Separate the eggs in the evening, mix the yolks with salt and beat them a little with a wooden spoon (not metal), and leave, covered, until the next day.
2. Sift the flour into a plastic bowl (I did it 3x).
3. Boil 50 ml of milk and scald 1 teaspoon of flour (pour the milk, mixing with a wooden spoon, not to make lumps) and leave to cool.
4. Maia (Sourdough) – if you have fresh yeast, dissolve it in 50 ml of warm milk (not hot), add a pinch of Stevia and a teaspoon of flour, stirring until it becomes like a pancake dough. (If you use dry yeast, mix it directly with flour, do not make sourdough), Cover and let rise, but not more than 15-minutes.
5. Put in a small pot on fire 200 ml of milk together with the Stevia and vanilla essence and mix until the Stevia melts completely.
6. Mix the butter with a tablespoon of lard and melt.
How to knead the dough for the traditional fluffy sweet bread?
Now, we start kneading the traditional fluffy sweet bread. We divide all the ingredients equally for the 2 rolls, with the only difference being that for one of the 2 rolls we also add cocoa.
1. Make a hole in the middle of the flour mound, and pour the yolks with salt, the sourdough, cooled scald (the flour scalded with milk), fatty yogurt, grated lemon, and orange zest, and start mixing, adding the warm milk little by little, until the desired consistency.
2. Now we start to add a little oil, until it is finished, and knead from the edge to the middle, so that the dough does not break, with energetic movements, but not brutal.
3. When the oil is finished, add the butter with melted lard, little by little, not all at once: grease the bowl, lift the dough and grease it underneath.
4. When we start to put in the fat, the dough hardens, so add warm milk, if you need more or a little white flour, if the dough is too soft.
The amount of milk and flour cannot be given exactly to this type of traditional sweet bread, because it depends on how many eggs you use, how dry the flour is, and how much liquid it absorbs.
5. Kneading the traditional sweet bread recipe should last at least 50-60 minutes until the dough comes off the hand, becomes smooth, and has air bubbles, or 20 minutes on the food processor.
6. Put the bowl down and slam the dough 15-20x, then knead a little more (this way it becomes softer and more elastic, the air bubbles shrink, and are more uniform).
7. Place the dough basins in a warm place, covered with a kitchen towel, and leave it to leaven for 2 hours until it doubles in volume (after 30 minutes, knead the dough again, about 5 minutes This way, the yeast is reactivated and you will get a wonderful fluffy sweet bread).
How is this fluffy sweet bread filled and braided?
1. I spread the white piece of dough on the lightly floured table to obtain a square of approx. 30 × 30 cm.
2. I sprinkled cinnamon on the whole surface, then I added the chocolate chips and the finely chopped orange jelly.
3. I then spread the cocoa dough to almost the same size, only 1-2 cm at the smaller ends, I spread the cooled chocolate cream (the filling) and I leveled it nicely with the spatula, then I spread the hazelnuts and the candied oranges.
4. I rolled each part on the longer side, from the middle to the outside, obtaining a roll.
5. I did the same with the other portion of dough.
6. I put one roll on top of the other in the shape of the letter X.
7. I then twisted the rolls (once on one side and once on the other) and then hid the ends underneath.
8. Put them in the tray lined with baking paper and greased with butter (the sweet bread will have a special flavor).
9. In the meantime, I heated the oven to 160 C with heat up + down + ventilation (medium to high in gas.
10. I greased it with beaten egg yolk with a little warm milk and a pinch of salt (with a soft brush), then you can sprinkle it with poppy seeds, powdered sugar, cinnamon, and sesame seeds or put halves of walnut kernels (all these are optional).
Baking the fluffy dark chocolate, hazelnuts, candied oranges, cinnamon, and orange jelly sweet bread:
1. I immediately put the sweet bread tray in the preheated oven and baked it for 20 minutes at 160 C and then another 40 minutes at 180 C. I can’t describe the flavors in the kitchen to you 🙂))).
2. Turn on all sides about every 10 minutes, not to let go, because the dough is extremely fine.
3. Do the toothpick test – it shouldn’t be wet at all when you take it out of the cake.
4. That’s it! The cake is reddish and beautiful, we take it out of the tray and remove the baking paper.
5. Leave the sweet bread to cool on a wire rack, or a wooden bottom, on the side at the beginning, turning it from side to side every 10 minutes, and then standing.
An extraordinarily tasty dark chocolate cream, hazelnuts, candied oranges, cinnamon, and orange jelly sweet bread came out!
Drizzle over melted dark chocolate and grated orange zest.
Leave the sweet bread on the grill until it cools completely. If you break it while hot, you destroy the structure of the dough. I waited patiently until I could slice it nicely with a serrated knife (bread knife).
This dark chocolate, hazelnuts, candied oranges, cinnamon, and orange jelly traditional Romanian sweet bread is easily sliced and is extremely fluffy and fragile, in addition, it is extremely fragrant from the rum, cocoa, orange, and lemon zest, and simply melts in your mouth.
You can serve it as such or with a glass of milk.
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