pinca sirnica - croatian easter nread served on a plate

Pinca (Sirnica) – Sweet Croatian Easter Bread

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Pinca (sirnica) is a soft and sweet Croatian Easter bread baked and loved by many families in Croatia during Easter. It is prepared from sweet yeast dough and is often served as part of the Easter breakfast.

What is Pinca (Sirnica)

Every holiday season, we traditionally always return to certain recipes, right? For Christmas, we love to make a certain type of cookies and cakes, for Mardi Gras the whole country enjoys some doughnuts (krafne or krofne as we like to call them in Croatia), and for Easter, we bake and eat pinca bread.

Pinca (also called sirnica or kvasnica) is an aromatic sweet bread, characteristic of the Istria, Dalmatia, and the Croatian Littoral region. It’s so good that even we who live in other parts of Croatia have started to bake this bread regularly for every Easter!

homemade pinca sirnica croatian easter bread

Pinca Easter bread is made from enriched yeast dough, similar to brioche. Its amazing yellow color comes from free-range eggs and egg yolk, and its incredible aroma is due to the orange and lemon zest and additions of different types of alcohol, like rum or rose liqueur.

Easter pinca bread has a reputation as bread that’s not that easy to make, but with a little patience, a lot of love, and effort, the result will be perfect. I suggest you read through this post and recipe for pinca carefully and follow all the steps, and I guarantee that you’ll make a wonderful Easter bread that your family will enjoy.

I published this recipe for the first time on my blog back in 2018, and it was inspired by the recipe of our famous pastry chef Petra Jelenić. Your many photos and comments every year in the run-up to Easter have encouraged me to bring this recipe closer to you, clarify it, and make it easier to prepare.

Ingredients for Croatian Easter Pinca Bread

all ingredients prepared for making Croatian Easter bread pinca
  • Flour – you need all-purpose flour, sifted.
  • Yeast – I use active dry yeast that is specifically made to be used in enriched dough like this, but if you can’t find this type of yeast in your country, you can use regular active dry yeast instead. Just increase the amount to 10 g. The third option is to use 25 g of fresh yeast. You need to dissolve it in warm milk beforehand.
  • Fats – pinca bread is traditionally rich in various fats. I like to combine butter and lard, but you can opt for high-quality olive oil, too. Just stick to the total amount of fat needed for this dough.
  • Sugar – some people like very sweet pinca bread, some people don’t. I’m in the second group, so I don’t use too much sugar in my Easter pinca bread. If you want, you can also add a bit of honey to the dough for a more complex flavor.
  • Eggs and egg yolks – bind all the ingredients, make the dough fluffier and lighter, and give an amazing yellow color.
  • Rum – gives a wonderful aroma. This is a part where you can experiment the most: use orange liqueur, limoncello, rose liqueur, maraschino, or even Slivovitz. Use the type of alcohol whose aroma you enjoy the most or simply the one that is available to you.
  • Milk – for binding all the ingredients and for dissolving the yeast, if you’ll be using fresh yeast. If the dough seems dry during the kneading stage, you can add a splash of milk or two.
  • Salt – for flavor.
  • Citrus zest – I always combine freshly grated orange and lemon zest when making pinca. They need to be organic. Instead, you can use high-quality extracts of lemon and orange.

How To Make A Croatian Easter Bread Pinca

Be sure to check out the recipe card at the end of this post. It has the exact amounts of ingredients and detailed recipe instructions!

1. STEP: Making the dough

In a bowl of a standing mixer add sifted flour, yeast, both types of sugar, salt, butter, and lard, and start kneading with the dough hook attachment on the lowest speed.

the beginning of the process of kneading the dough for making Croatian Easter bread pinca

2. STEP: Making the dough

Beat the eggs, yolks, and milk with a whisk and start adding them to the bowl of a standing mixer. Add rum and citrus zest. Knead the dough for about 10 minutes or so.

the process of kneading the dough for making Croatian Easter bread pinca (sirnica) and shaping into a ball

3. STEP: Proofing the dough

Transfer the dough to a bowl to rise, cover, and let it double in size.

first proofing of dough for making pinca easter bread

4. STEP: Shaping pinca Easter bread and second proofing

After the first rise, knead the dough again and then divide it into 3 balls (or more, if you want smaller pinca breads). Transfer to a baking sheet, cover again, and let them rest at least for another 1h.

5. STEP: Make cuts

When pinca bread has risen, make cuts in the shape of the cross. I usually do this step with kitchen scissors. Then brush with beaten egg yolk.

making cuts in the shape of cross on pinca (sirnica) easter bread with scissors

6. STEP: Final touch

Sprinkle with almond flakes or pearl sugar.

pinca (sirnica) easter bread before baking, sprinkled with almond flakes

7. STEP: Baking

Bake at 160°C for 25-35 minutes, depending on the site of the pinca bread and your oven. If you see that the pincas suddenly start to get too dark in color, cover them with aluminum foil.

8. STEP: Serving

When the pinca is baked, take it out of the oven and transfer it to a cooling rack to cool completely. Then it’s ready for cutting and serving. Dobar tek!

Best Pinca Easter Bread – Tips And Tricks

  • All ingredients should be at room temperature and prepared upfront. You can heat the milk a bit (but it shouldn’t be too hot, otherwise it will kill the yeast).
  • Since pinca belongs to the enriched type of dough, I like to use a special type of active dry yeast that is specifically made to be used for this type of dough. It allows this sweet Easter bread to rise faster. If not available to you, use regular active dry yeast or fresh yeast (that needs to be dissolved in the milk).
  • If you cannot find organic lemons and oranges, instead you can use high-quality extracts. Never ever use the zest of citrus fruit that was treated with imazalil.
  • If you haven’t had the opportunity to experience the therapeutic effect of kneading the dough, you’ll experience that feeling while making pinca. The dough should be well kneaded so that gluten can be developed. That will give pinca that beautiful velvety texture and smoothness.
  • Avoid adding extra flour during the kneading process.
  • You can enrich this sweet Easter bread with dried fruit, like raisins, figs, apricots, etc. You can also experiment with the alcohol; instead of rum, you can add some good liqueur or even limoncello.
  • Pinca can easily burn in the oven during baking. Don’t bake it for too long or at a too high temperature, otherwise, it can become dry inside. If the crust starts getting too dark, cover it with aluminum foil so it doesn’t burn. Pinca is baked when you insert a toothpick in the middle of the bread, and it comes out completely clean.
Croatian Easter bread pinca (sirnica), served on a table

Pinca can be also made in mini versions, like brioche burger buns. In the photo below, you can see how they looked when I made them in 2019. They were adorable!

mini pinca (sirnica) easter buns

Frequently Asked Questions

Can pinca be made with a sourdough starter?

Of course, it can, just like any other bread made with baker’s yeast.

Help! The dough for pinca did not rise. What went wrong?

The main culprit was probably old yeast with an expired date or the milk was way too hot.

What is pearl sugar?

Pearl sugar is a decorative type of thermostable sugar, which means it won’t melt in the oven. Baked goods like cinnamon rolls, pinca Easter bread, or Easter Dove are often sprinkled with pearl sugar before baking. Instead of pearl sugar, I like to use almond flakes when making pincas.

How long will Easter pinca bread stay fresh after baking and how to store it properly?

Pinca will remain soft and delicious even on the third day after baking, but it is important to store it right. If you are not going to eat it immediately after baking, I suggest that while it is still warm, you wrap it in transparent plastic film and then put it in a reusable zip bag and store it at room temperature.

Note: This post was originally published for the first time in 2018. In the meantime, the article has been updated twice with new information, tips, and photos in 2019 and 2024. All these years, I baked pinca countless times according to this recipe, and it was always a big success.

If you try this recipe, tag @foodandmoodblog on Instagram or leave your comment and rating of this recipe here on the blog. I would love to hear from you!

pinca sirnica - croatian easter nread served on a plate

Pinca – Soft and Sweet Croatian Easter Bread

Mateja Zvirotic Andrijanic
Pinca (sirnica) is a soft and sweet Croatian Easter bread baked and loved by many families in Croatia during Easter. It is prepared from sweet yeast dough and is often served as part of the Easter breakfast.
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Resting time 3 hours
Total Time 4 hours 5 minutes
Course Bread, Dessert
Cuisine Croatian
Servings 30 slices (yields 3 medium-sized loaves)
Calories 110 kcal

Ingredients
 
 

DOUGH

  • 500 g all-purpose flour sifted
  • 8 g active or instant dry yeast please, read through post for more info
  • 60 g white granulated sugar
  • 10 g bourbon vanilla sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 50 g butter unsalted
  • 50 g lard
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 dcl milk
  • 1,5 tablespoon rum
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest freshly grated
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest freshly grated

BRUSHING

  • 1 egg yolk for brushing pinca before baking
  • almond flakes or pearl sugar

Video

Instructions
 

  • In a bowl of a standing mixer combine sifted flour, yeast, regular and vanilla sugar, salt, lard, and butter. Start the kneading process at the lowest speed.
  • While kneading, slowly start to pour previously whisked eggs, egg yolks, and milk. Then add rum and grated orange and lemon zest. Keep kneading the dough for about 10 minutes, hen transfer it to a lightly floured surface and form the dough into a ball.
  • Transfer the dough to a floured bowl, cover it with a damp kitchen towel or cling foil, and let it rise in a warm place until doubles in size. That should take from 1,5 to 2 hours.
  • After it has doubled in size, take the dough out of the bowl and knead again on a working surface, for 10 minutes more. Divide and shape into 3 balls (or more, if you want smaller pincas) and transfer to a baking tray covered with parchment paper. Cover again with a damp kitchen towel or cling foil and leave for second proofing. This should take about 1 hour.
  • Preheat your oven to 160°C (320°F). When pinca breads have risen, using sharp kitchen scissors or a knife make a cut in the shape of a cross. Brush with beaten egg yolk, which will give them a beautiful color. Don't brush the cut you made, but only the outer part of the dough.
  • Sprinkle with some almond flakes or pearl sugar.
  • Bake them for 25 to 35 minutes, depending on the size of your pincas and your type of oven. If you see that they suddenly start to get really dark on the outside but still aren't baked through, cover them with aluminum foil. I suggest turning the tray halfway through baking so that they get even color on all sides.
  • When they are baked, remove them from the oven and place them on a cooling rack to cool completely. After that, they are ready to be cut and served.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Nutrition

Serving: 1sliceCalories: 110kcalCarbohydrates: 15gProtein: 3gFat: 4gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.3gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0.1gCholesterol: 44mgSodium: 67mgPotassium: 33mgFiber: 1gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 140IUVitamin C: 0.2mgCalcium: 13mgIron: 1mg

Nutritional information provided is an estimate based on ingredients data and should be used for informational purposes only. Actual nutritional content may vary based on factors such as portion size, preparation methods and ingredients used.

Easter, pinca, sirnica, sweet yeast dough

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Comments

8 responses to “Pinca (Sirnica) – Sweet Croatian Easter Bread”

  1. Kristina Avatar
    Kristina

    5 stars
    I’m an absolute beginner in making pastries, especially sirnica, so I loved the detailed instructions in the recipe + video!

    Sirnica turned out great! Soft and tasty 🙌

    1. Mateja Zvirotic Andrijanic Avatar
      Mateja Zvirotic Andrijanic

      I’m so happy to hear that! Thank you for the feedback.

  2. Krista Avatar
    Krista

    5 stars
    I’ve used this recipe for several years at Easter, and it turns out perfectly each time! Thank you so much for the clear instructions!

    1. Mateja Zvirotic Andrijanic Avatar
      Mateja Zvirotic Andrijanic

      I’m happy that you keep coming to this recipe all these years!

  3. Valentina B. Avatar
    Valentina B.

    5 stars
    Najbolji recept za pincu! Radila već nekoliko puta i svaki put su divno ispale!

    1. Mateja Avatar
      Mateja

      Hvala ti puno, drago mi je da se iznova vraćaš ovom receptu 🙂

  4. Martina Avatar
    Martina

    Danas sam radile pince po prvi puta. Radila sam ih po po vašem receptu i ispale su fenomenalno. Hvala puno!

    1. Mateja Avatar
      Mateja

      Drago mi je da ste zadovoljni receptom, hvala vama na povjerenju! 🙂

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