Easter Bread / Uskršnja Pogača
4 - 6 people
A traditional Serbian recipe for Easter Bread / Uskršnja Pogača. When Christmas or Easter rolls around, freshly baked bread is bound to end up as the centerpiece of the table. Made with ingredients that are like a brioche type of dough, this bread is meant to have a rich taste, be soft and delicious. Many families or different regions will have their own way of making Easter Bread / Uskršnja Pogača, but they all end up looking ornate and festive. This recipe is based on how I grew up eating this celebratory bread and how I prefer to make it myself. This bread is a great way to get creative and make something that looks beautiful and tastes delicious.
About this recipe
Different parts of Europe have various traditions around bread making during festive seasons. From brioche breads to sweet breads filled with raisins, most countries have their own tradition. Bread is a significant part of religion which is why it is made in a special way every year. In Serbia we refer to Easter bread as Uskršnja Pogača which is similar to the Božićna Česnica /Serbian Christmas Bread. Usually made using a brioche type of dough, enriched with eggs, butter or oil. The bread is then shaped in several ways, from plain round loaves to braids and buns.
One of the main differences with Easter Bread compared to Christmas Bread is that there is no coin hidden inside. Instead, the decorative eggs are of a greater importance during the Easter period. The Easter bread is made morning of, and when serving, it is usually paired with the traditional coloured eggs and other breakfast foods. You can also eat the bread throughout the entire day. Shared at a family table, the chances of the bread being devoured early on is high. Easter is also celebrated according to the Julian calendar. Just like our Christmas, Easter falls on a different date compared to the Christian calendar.
Shaping the bread
You can use this recipe and shape it in any way that you wish. Alternatively, you can use the method I have used here. The result is a soft and delicious bread.
Once your dough has proofed, roll it out onto a floured bench. Cut out a portion of the dough from the edge (about 200g), cover it with a cloth and set aside for making the braid.
Divide the remaining dough into 3 equal pieces. Take one dough and roll it out in a circle, according to the size of your spring pan. Place it into the already lined baking pan. Spread an even layer of melted butter over the entire surface of the first dough. Next, roll out the second dough, also into a round shape according to the size of your pan. Place the second dough directly on top of the first and spread another even layer of butter across the entire surface. Lastly, roll out the third piece of dough and place it on top of the other two but do not butter this last layer. At this point you should have three round pieces of dough stacked on top of each other.
Next, cut the layered dough into 8 equal wedges. Start by cutting a cross and then two further cuts to create the wedges. Cut only from the middle towards the near edge of the dough, not to the very edge. Take the narrow end of each wedge, fold it back and tuck into the side of the spring pan.
Next, take the remaining piece of dough, cut into 3 pieces, and braid the dough loosely together to form one loaf. Place this braid in the center of the pan.
Allow the loaf to rest once more before brushing with egg yolks and baking.
Looking for more?
If you are looking for more ideas, try one of the recipes below:
I hope that you enjoy this traditional Serbian recipe for Easter Bread / Uskršnja Pogača. You can use this recipe for the dough and shape your loaf in any way you like. Or you can shape it into these lovely layers that make the bread so soft, pillowy, and delicious. Leave a comment below and let me know your thoughts. If you have a moment, please leave this recipe a rating. I would love to hear what you think, and if you make this recipe or have any questions, you can find me over on Instagram. You can also find a video for this recipe over on TikTok.
|300g all purpose flour|
|+ 300g extra, all purpose flour|
|150ml lukewarm water|
|2 whole eggs|
|150ml warm milk|
|10 g instant dry yeast (1 sachet)|
|40g melted butter|
|2 egg yolks (for glazing)|