Easter Saturday is called ‘Bílá Sobota’ (White Saturday) in the Czech Republic. Richer foods would have been cooked and served with the fasting coming to an end.
One of the baked goods that is still eaten at Easter is a Mazanec. It is an enriched, beautifully fluffy dough with a crunchy crust.
The first written mention of these dates back to the 15/16th century, although they wouldn’t have been made with sugar. The ingredients would have also been dependant on who they were for. For special guests almonds and raisins would have been added, but for the farmhands the dough would have been kept plain.
It can stuffed with ‘tvaroh’ or dipped in local wine. The modern version is usually made with rum.
- 150g plain flour
- 150g bread flour
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt
- 5g fast action yeast
- 50g icing sugar
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla paste
- 1 egg and 1 egg yolk
- 125ml milk
- 3 tablespoons of rum
- Zest from 1 orange
- Large pinch of ground cardamom
- Optional - dried fruit, nuts in the dough and flaked almonds on the top
- 1 egg and more butter&rum for brushing
Combine the Mazanec ingredients and knead for 5 minutes
Leave to rise covered with a clean towel for an hour
Knock the dough back and knead for 20-30 seconds, repeat the process one more time before shaping into two equal buns
Either leave to rise at room temp for another hour or leave in the fridge overnight
Preheat the oven to 130C
Brush the loaves with beaten egg, sprinkle with the almonds and place into the middle of the oven
Bake for an hour until golden brown
In the meantime, gently melt a couple of tablespoons of butter and the same amount of rum and keep brushing the loaves every ten minutes or so for a crunchy and golden finish