romanian sweet bread with walnuts cozonaci cu nuca

Romanian sweet bread with walnuts, as made by Mamaie Stela

Whenever we want something good to eat, we call Mamaie Stela (Grandma Stela) and tell her what we want to eat. With the calling and the cooking, Mamaie Stela started to teach us how to make this and that ourselves, in our own kitchen. We start the series of recipes learned from Mamaie Stela with fluffy Romanian sweet bread with walnuts. Because it doesn’t need to be a holiday, for you to enjoy some delicious Romanian sweet bread!


For the dough:

  • 1 kg of flour
  • 7 egg yolks
  • 4 egg whites
  • 300 g sugar
  • 250 g butter
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • Milk as required (usually, about ½ litre will go into the dough)
  • 1 teaspoon rom essence
  • Vanilla / vanilla essence
  • zest from a big lemon
  • 50 g of yeast
  • 1 teaspoon fine salt

For the filling:

  • 500 g ground nuts
  • 350 g powdered sugar
  • a pinch of salt
  • ½ cup of boiling milk
  • If you want, you can add cocoa to the mix


  • oil or butter for the bread pan
  • extra flour to spread on the working table
  • clean, dry cloth, preferably made out of cotton

The first piece of advice is to keep the kitchen warm (not too hot) and draught-less (we say with no “sudden changes in temperature”).

romanian sweet bread with walnuts cozonaci cu nuca
  • Soak the yeast with a little warm milk and a little sugar.
    Tip: It is best that the milk is not hot. Otherwise, the yeast gets scalded and the dough no longer grows.
  • Separately, in a large bowl, scald 3 tablespoons of flour with a little boiling milk and mix well so as not to become lumpy. Allow the mix to cool for a few minutes.
  • When it has cooled, so that you can work with it by hand, add the yeast and beat well until you make large blisters.
  • To this mix, add a little more flour and cover the bowl with a clean cloth. Place it in a warm place to grow.
    Tip: If you don’t live in the countryside, you can’t put it on the stove anymore, that’s why it’s good to turn on the oven, heat it up a bit, open the oven door and put the bowl on it, to keep it warm.
  • As the dough grows, beat the yolks with a pinch of salt, to darken them in colour, and sugar. Beat well, vigorously, to create a kind of frothy cream.
    Tip: The sugar must be ground or at least sifted. It is added little by little, not all at once, without measure.
romanian sweet bread with walnuts cozonaci cu nuca
  • Whisk the egg whites until they become similar to whipped cream. If you turn the bowl over, your egg whites should not fall out of the bowl.
  • When the dough has risen enough, add the rest of the flour, up to one kg.
    Tip: It is good for the flour to be kept warm, so that the sweet bread comes out more fluffy.
  • Over this mix, add the yolks, a little warm milk and the beaten egg whites. Now is where the kneading begins.
    Tip: Kneading should take at least half an hour. Take the dough from the edges, in circular motions, towards the middle. Mamaie Stela says to knead the dough until your arms start to hurt.
  • While kneading, add to the dough the lemon zest, oil, rum, vanilla, melted butter, little by little.
    Tip: If the dough becomes too hard, you can add a little warm milk.
  • Gather all the dough in a bowl, cover with a dry, clean cloth and place in a warm spot, away from moisture. Let it grow for about 2-3 hours.
  • As the dough rises, make the filling. Mix all the ingredients mentioned above and make a paste.
    Tip: If you want your cake not to flow everywhere, the paste should not be too soft. If you see that it has softened, add more ground walnuts in it.

Romanian sweet bread with walnuts

  • When the dough has risen enough, grease your hand with oil and divide the dough into two pieces. Each piece is in turn divided into two pieces.
  • Spread each piece on the table, spread the walnuts paste on it and make a roll. The rolls are woven two by two and the dough thus obtained is put in a bread pan. Tip: On the table you work on, make sure there is always flour, so that the dough does not stick to it. The pan must be greased with butter or oil. When placing the dough in the bread pan, be careful not to exceed half the pan. Depending on how much dough you have, see how many cakes you can make.
romanian sweet bread with walnuts cozonaci cu nuca
  • After the whole dough is put in the bread pan, let it rise a little, until it reaches the edge of the form.
  • When the sweet bread is ready to be put in the oven, grease it with some egg yolks and sprinkle coarse sugar on them. It should stay in the oven for about an hour, at the right heat.
  • Tip: When you take them out of the oven, do not take them straight out of the pan. Let them cool first and then take them out. Allow to cool at room temperature.

~ 3 hours prep and baking
~ 300 calories / 100 grams

We use the metric measurement system for all our recipes. If you would like to convert the values in the measurement system you prefer, we recommend to use Metric Conversions.

Enjoy your freshly baked Romanian sweetbread with walnuts, just like our Mamaie Stela makes them! If you want to add this recipe to your personal recipe book, you can download it here.

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