Cozonac Recipe - Romanian Walnut Roll (2024)

Published by: Adina 路 Last modified: March 1, 2024 13 Comments

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Romanian cozonac recipe or Romanian sweet bread: this is the most traditional pastry in Romania, a soft yeast walnut roll with a sweet filling.

Cozonac Recipe - Romanian Walnut Roll (1)

A simpler and delicious cozonac recipe for your Easter or Christmas table, you will love this Romanian sweet bread with walnut or dried fruit filling. Try other traditional festive recipes like Pasca, Boeuf Salad, or Sarmale.

Making sweet walnut bread was my grandmother's task when I was a kid. She was the only one in our family who would ever make them, and she would bake them for the whole family. Lots of them... So she did bake cozonac for everybody twice a year and nothing else ever.

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  • 馃崬What is cozonac?
  • 馃搵Recipe ingredients
  • 馃尠Filling variations
  • 馃懇馃徎鈥嶐煃矵ow to make yeast dough for cozonac?
  • 馃How to make the fillings for Romanian cozonac?
  • 馃How to form a cozonac?
  • 馃敟Rise and bake
  • 馃攰Tips for making the yeast dough
  • 鉂揜ecipe FAQs
  • 馃More sweet bread loaves
  • 馃摉Recipe
  • Cozonac Recipe - Romanian Walnut Roll

馃崬What is cozonac?

A sweet, brioche-like bread consisting of a yeast dough made with lots of eggs or, even better, egg yolks and filled with nuts or other fillings.

Similar cozonac recipes are extremely popular in Romania, Moldova, and Bulgaria. It is always baked for Easter and Christmas. You can find similar sweet bread in other countries as well, countries like Hungary, Greece, Armenia, Turkey, Croatia and so on. For instance, Hungarian Beigli or Polish Makowiec.

馃搵Recipe ingredients

Cozonac Recipe - Romanian Walnut Roll (2)

Ingredients for the dough:

  • Dry ingredients: All-purpose flour,active dry yeast, fine sea salt, and icing sugar.
  • Eggs: You will need 4 egg yolks to make the cozonac dough, but remember that you will need 3 of the egg whites to make the filling.
  • Milk: It's preferable to use whole milk.
  • Rum: It is optional and a matter of taste. It's traditional to add it, but I know plenty of folks (including myself) who don't like the flavor.
  • Oil: Use a neutral-tasting oil like canola or sunflower oil. Traditionally, my grandma would use sunflower oil. Ensure it's neutral-tasting; not all brands are.

Ingredients for the filling:

  • Those 3reserved egg whites.
  • Granulated sugar.
  • Rum: Again, it is optional.
  • Ground walnuts: As ground walnuts are not available where I live, I always grind them in the food processor.
  • Dried fruit like raisins, currants, cherries, cranberries, lemon or orange peel (not too much of those two), etc.

Ingredients for the egg wash: One egg and a little milk

See the recipe card for full information on ingredients and quantities.

馃尠Filling variations

  • Dried fruit: A mixture of raisins, candied cherries, currants, even dates or figs. Lemon and/or orange peel can also be used; just make sure that you like them; they are not popular with many people and definitely not with kids. If you have leftover fruit or peel, bake the Orange Raisin Bundt Cake or the Egg White Cake. If it's around Christmas, definitely make our delicious and Non-Alcoholic Fruit Cake or Pumpkin Fruitcake.
  • Other nuts: Hazelnuts, almonds, or a mixture of different ground nuts.
  • Cocoa: Many people add 1 tablespoon of unsweetened cocoa powder to the nut filling. It makes the filling darker and gives it a slight chocolate touch. Do use cocoa if you wish.
Cozonac Recipe - Romanian Walnut Roll (3)

馃懇馃徎鈥嶐煃矵ow to make yeast dough for cozonac?

Kneading without a mixer:

  • Mix the wet and dry ingredients as well as you can.
  • Start kneading the dough and do it for at least 10 minutes or until the dough is elastic and doesn't stick anymore.

Kneading with the stand mixer:

Cozonac Recipe - Romanian Walnut Roll (4)
  • Step # 1: Activate the yeast in a small bowl. If using instant dry yeast, mix that with the flour and only add the egg yolk mixture to the flour.
  • Step #2: Mix egg yolks, lukewarm milk, and activated yeast.
  • Step #3: Sift the flour into the mixer's bowl and add the yeast mixture. Knead the dough for about 5 minutes, it will be very stiff at the beginning, but it will get softer in the end.
  • Step #4: Add icing sugar, one tablespoon at a time, with the mixer kneading continuously. Knead for about 4-5 minutes more. The dough will become softer now.
Cozonac Recipe - Romanian Walnut Roll (5)
  • Step #5: Slowly add the oil. Keep kneading until the dough is elastic and doesn't stick anymore for about 5 more minutes.
  • Step #6: Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Leave to rise in a warm place for about 1 hour and 30 minutes. If your kitchen is not warm enough, place the bowl in the oven and turn on the oven light. Just the oven light, not the oven.

馃How to make the fillings for Romanian cozonac?

The quantities required by this cozonac recipe are for two loaves. If you only want to make one sweet bread, halve the quantities.

Also, the required ingredients for each filling in the recipe card are enough to fill both loaves of bread. If you want to make one bread filled with nuts and one filled with dried fruit, halve both filling recipes.

The most common filling is the walnut and egg white filling.

Cozonac Recipe - Romanian Walnut Roll (6)

Steps #7 and #8: Egg white-walnut filling: Whisk 3 egg whites until stiff. Slowly add sugar and rum. Whisk until the mixture is stiff again. Carefully fold in the ground walnuts, do not over mix.

Alternative dried fruit filling:Chop 300 g/ 10.5 oz dried fruit and peel. This amount will be enough for both loaves of bread. If you only want to fill one piece of bread with dried fruit, halve the amount of fruit.

馃How to form a cozonac?

There are two ways to form a cozonac: you can roll it (like my grandmother used to do) or you can braid it. Brading the cozonac is easy, so give it a try; the sweet bread loaves are prettier if formed this way.

Roll it:

Cozonac Recipe - Romanian Walnut Roll (7)
  • Step #9: Divide the dough in two. Roll the pieces of dough (one after another) on a lightly oiled surface, about 30 cm/ 12 inches long, 40 cm/ 16 inches wide, and 3-4 mm/ 0.13 inches thick.
  • Step #10: Spread half of the filling on top and carefully roll the dough into a thick sausage starting from the shorter side closer to you.
    • If the filling comes out a little around the edges, try to clean that as well as you can manage. Place in one of the buttered loaf pans and repeat with the second piece of dough.
Cozonac Recipe - Romanian Walnut Roll (8)
  • If using dried fruit, scatter the chopped pieces on the rolled dough, then roll the cozonac.

Braid it:

Cozonac Recipe - Romanian Walnut Roll (9)
  • Step # 11: Divide the dough into four equal parts.
  • Step #12: Roll one piece on a lightly oiled surface about 30 cm/ 12 inches long, 20 cm/ 8 inches wide, and 3-4 mm/ 0.13 inch thick.
Cozonac Recipe - Romanian Walnut Roll (10)
  • Step #13: Spread 录 of the filling on top and roll carefully, starting from the longer left side. Repeat with a second dough piece.
  • Step #14: Braid the two sausages together and place them in the prepared loaf pan.
  • Repeat with the remaining dough portions.

馃敟Rise and bake

Cozonac Recipe - Romanian Walnut Roll (11)
  • Step #15: Cover the pieces of bread with kitchen towels and let rise in a warm place for about 1 hour and 15 minutes or until nicely risen. During the last 15 minutes of the rising time, preheat the oven.
  • Step #16: Brush with the egg wash and bake for 15 minutes, then remove the pan of water from the oven.
  • Step #17: Bake for another 15 minutes and check the color of the crust. It should be golden brown by now. Loosely cover them with aluminum foil to prevent the crust from getting too dark and too dry.
  • Step #18: Bake for another 30 minutes (a total of 1 hour) until the cozonaci are baked through.
Cozonac Recipe - Romanian Walnut Roll (12)

馃攰Tips for making the yeast dough

Measurements: The most important tip I can give you when making this cozonac recipe is to use a digital kitchen scale (the Amazon affiliate link opens in a new tab). Measuring flour with a cup is always risky.

Temperature: The milk needed to bloom the yeast should be lukewarm 鈥 body temperature. If it's too hot, it will kill the yeast.

All the ingredients should be at room temperature, not only the eggs but also the oil and the flour.

Steam: Place a small pan of water on the bottom of the oven. The steam will make the crust of cozonaci softer and nicer.

Let rest in the tins for about 10-15 minutes. Transfer to wire racks and let cool completely.

Turn the pieces of bread every 10-15 minutes or so on the wire racks. They are very soft, and they might get squashed if they spend all the cooling time lying on only one side. Turning them a few times in between will make sure that they keep a nice form.

Cozonac Recipe - Romanian Walnut Roll (13)

鉂揜ecipe FAQs

How to store Romanian cozonac?

Keep it wrapped in clean kitchen towels and in a plastic bag; this way, it will be fine for about 4 days, getting drier towards the end of this time.
It is preferable to be kept in a cooler place, but not the refrigerator.
You can also freeze it well-wrapped for up to 3 months.

Can I use another type of yeast for cozonac?

You can use fresh yeast to make the dough. If fresh yeast is not available, instant or active dry yeast is perfectly fine. Instant yeast can be mixed directly with the dry ingredients, while fresh and active dry yeast needs to be proofed or bloomed before adding the rest of the ingredients.

Cozonac Recipe - Romanian Walnut Roll (14)

馃More sweet bread loaves

  • Quick Green Tomato Bread
  • Sweet Irish Soda Bread
  • Moist Blackberry Lemon Bread
  • Easy Banana Bread Bundt Cake

Do you like this recipe?

Please leave a good rating in the recipe card below. Stay in touch through social media: Pinterest, Facebook, and Instagram. Don鈥檛 forget to tag #whereismyspoon when you try a recipe!

馃摉Recipe

Cozonac Recipe - Romanian Walnut Roll (19)

Cozonac Recipe - Romanian Walnut Roll

Cozonac 鈥 this delicious sweet bread with walnut or dried fruit filling is the most popular sweet thing to eat at Easter and Christmas in Romania.

4.67 from 3 votes

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Course: Romanian Cakes and Desserts

Cuisine: Romanian

Prep Time: 1 hour hour

Cook Time: 1 hour hour

Additional Time: 3 hours hours

Total Time: 5 hours hours

Servings: 2 loaves

Calories: 150kcal

Author: Adina

Ingredients

Dough:

  • 500 g all-purpose flour 1.1 lb/ 4 cups + 2 tablespoon, Note 1
  • 2 录 teaspoons active dry yeast 7 g/ 0.2 oz, Note 2
  • 200 ml lukewarm milk 6.5 fl.oz/ 戮 cup + 2 tablespoons
  • 4 egg yolks keep 3 egg whites to make the filling
  • teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon rum or a few drops rum aroma optional
  • 125 g icing sugar 4.5 oz/ 1 cup
  • 100 ml vegetable oil canola, 3.5 fl.oz/ 鈪 cup + 2 tablespoons

Filling for 2 loaves of bread:

  • 3 egg whites
  • 100 g granulated sugar 3.5 oz/ 陆 cup
  • 1 tablespoon rum or rum aroma optional, Note 3
  • 120 g ground walnuts 1 cup

Dried fruit filling for 2 loaves of bread:

  • 300 g dried fruit 10.5 oz, Note 4

Egg wash:

  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons milk

Instructions

Yeast dough:

  • Proof yeast: Mix the active dry yeast with 1 tablespoon granulated sugar and add about 50 ml/ 2 fl. oz/ 录 cup of the lukewarm milk. Stir well and let stand for about 10-15 minutes until frothy. If using fresh or instant yeast, please read the notes.

    2 录 teaspoons active dry yeast + 1 tablespoon granulated sugar + 50 ml lukewarm milk/ 录 cup from 200 ml lukewarm milk/ 戮 cup + 2 Tbsp

  • Mix the egg yolks and salt using a fork. Add the remaining lukewarm milk and the rum or rum aroma (if using) and set aside.

    4 egg yolks + remaining milk +1 tablespoon rum or a few drops rum aroma

  • Knead: Mix the flour and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer or kitchen machine. Add the egg-milk mixture and the activated yeast. Knead for 5 minutes. The dough will be stiff at this point.

    500 g all-purpose flour/ 4 cups + 2 tablespoon + 陆 teaspoon fine sea salt

  • Add icing sugar: Slowly add the icing sugar, one tablespoon at a time, while the mixer is kneading. Knead for another 4-5 minutes. The dough will become softer after adding the sugar.

    125 g icing sugar/ 1 cup

  • Add oil: Slowly start adding the oil as well. Knead for another 5 minutes or so until the dough is elastic.

    100 ml vegetable oil/ 鈪 cup + 2 tablespoons

  • Let rise: Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with cling film/plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for about 1 hour and 30 minutes or until doubled in size.

Filling:

  • Walnut filling: Whisk 3 egg whites until stiff. Slowly add the sugar and the rum (if using) and continue whisking until the mixture is stiff again. Very carefully fold the ground walnuts into the egg white mixture; do not over-mix.

    3 egg whites + 100 g granulated sugar/ 陆 cup + 1 tablespoon rum or rum aroma + 120 g ground walnuts/ 1 cup

  • Alternative filling: Chop and mix dried fruit, like raisins, currants, cherries, cranberries, lemon, or orange peel (not too much of those two). This amount will be enough for both loaves of bread. If you only want to fill one piece of bread with dried fruit, halve the amount of fruit.

    300 g dried fruit/ 10.5 oz

  • Fill: Spread the filling on the rolled dough and form the loaves of bread, either rolled or braided.

  • Form loaves:

  • Butter two loaf pans, about 24 cm/ 9.5 inches long and 11 cm/ 4.5 inches wide (a little more or less is fine).

  • Rolled loaves: Divide the dough in two. Roll one piece on a lightly oiled surface, about 30 cm/ 12 inches long, 40 cm/ 16 inches wide and 3-4 mm/ 0.13 inch thick.

    Spread half of the filling on top and carefully roll the dough into a thick sausage starting from the shorter side closer to you. Place in one of the loaf pans and repeat with the second piece of dough.

  • Braided loaves: Divide the dough into four equal parts. Roll one piece on a lightly oiled surface about 30 cm/ 12 inches long, 20 cm/ 8 inches wide and 3-4 mm/ 0.13 inch thick.

    Spread 录 of the filling on top and roll carefully, starting from the longer left side. Repeat with a second dough piece.

    Braid the two sausages together and place them in the prepared loaf pan. Repeat with the remaining dough portions.

  • Let rise: Cover the loaves of bread with kitchen towels and let rise in a warm place for about 1 hour and 15 minutes or until nicely risen.

  • Preheat: During the last 15 minutes of the rising time, preheat the oven to 160掳C/ 320掳F. Place a small pan with water on the bottom of the oven.

  • Egg wash: Mix the egg and the milk. Brush the bread with this mixture and place it in the oven immediately after brushing.

    1 egg + 2 tablespoons milk

  • Bake: After 15 minutes, remove the small pan with the water. Continue baking the bread for 45 minutes or until cooked through.

  • Check after 20-30 minutes and lightly cover the bread with aluminum foil. If they are already brown, they probably will be.

  • Cool: Remove from the oven and let stand in the pans for 15 minutes. Remove and let cool entirely on wire racks, turning them on another side every 15 minutes or so, so that they retain a nice form.

Notes

  1. Measurements: Always use a digital kitchen scale in baking; it ensures the best results (Amazon affiliate link opens in a new tab).
  2. Yeast: You can use the same amount of instant dry yeast. Just mix it with the flour without activating it and proceed with the recipe. You can use 30 g/ 1 oz fresh yeast. Stir it with 1 tablespoon granulated sugar until liquid. Add about 50 ml/ 2 fl. oz/ 录 cup of the lukewarm milk and stir well. Let stand for 10-15 minutes until frothy. Add it to the flour together with the egg mixture.
  3. Rum or rum aroma is optional; add it if you like it.
  4. Dried fruit like raisins, currants, cherries, cranberries, lemon or orange peel (not too much of those two), etc.

Nutrition

Serving: 1slice | Calories: 150kcal | Carbohydrates: 23g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 25mg | Sodium: 44mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 8g

Tried this Recipe? Pin it for Later!Mention @adinabeck or tag #WhereIsMySpoon!

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Cozonac Recipe - Romanian Walnut Roll (24)

Reader Interactions

Comments

  1. Inge Kohl says

    Last week I managed to get my hands on some cake yeast and I was dying to use it on anything. I think it makes any yeast baked goods so much better than the dry yeast. The loaves are in the oven and it will be hard to wait for them to cool.
    Next will be a good hearty bread, because I was crazy enough to buy a 50 pound bag of high gluten flour. Got any good recipes you suggest?

    Reply

    • Adina says

      Hi Inge. Frohe Ostern! I hope the breads turned out well. 50 pounds of flour is indeed a lot, I exagerated myself wit toilet paper and cat food, I think I have enough for at least 2 months. 馃檪 Regarding bread, I like all the posted recipes, my favorite is the spelt (or wheat) bread, but you will need whole flour for it. Otherwise, you could try the yogurt bread. Or you could have a look at Chefkoch.de, there are hundreds of good bread recipes there.

      Reply

  2. Evi @ greenevi says

    How lovely! There is a very similar Christmas Hungarian bread filled with walnuts or poppy seeds and I used to love it, so I'm pretty sure I'd love this one too. So so so beautiful 馃檪

    Reply

    • Adina says

      Thank you, Evi. Hungarian and Romanian cooking do have a lot in common, isn't it?

      Reply

  3. Anca says

    A cozonac without Turkish delight sounds strange to me, maybe it depends on the region (I'm from South East). I'm making my grandmother's recipe too, with an white dough and a chocolate brown dough. It's nice to keep the traditions live, isn't it?

    Reply

    • Adina says

      I am from Sibiu, we only had the Turkish delight cozonac rarely, well, I never did actually, just my sister and my grandma liked that. 馃檪 And I also think that about traditions, there is not much else that I can keep when living abroad, but with cooking traditions it's easier.

      Reply

  4. Thao @ In Good Flavor says

    This is a gorgeous loaf of bread, Adina! I love the walnut swirled filling inside. I'm so glad you were able to find a recipe just like your grandma's. I know it's one you will treasure.

    Reply

    • Adina says

      It is, Thao, thank you. 馃檪

      Reply

  5. Kathy @ Beyond the Chicken Coop says

    I love walnuts in just about everything...especially bread. My family just doesn't care for them. I think it would still be lovely if I omitted the walnuts....and maybe added the chocolate!

    Reply

  6. Kimberly @ The Daring Gourmet says

    This looks wonderful, so fluffy on the inside and that wonderful crust on the outside! I've never been to Romania but would love to visit someday. At least for now I can enjoy some Romanian food 馃檪

    Reply

    • Adina says

      Romania is a beautiful country, I hope you get to see it one day.

      Reply

  7. Anu - My Ginger Garlic Kitchen says

    This bread is just perfection, Adina! Your sweet treats are always so rich and luscious, love them all. Hope you are having a good time! 馃檪

    Reply

    • Adina says

      Thank you, Anu.

      Reply

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