How to Make Traditional Romanian Mucenici (Soft Honey Bread)

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Mucenici is a traditional holiday in Romania and Moldova on the 9th of March; it celebrates spring and the new spring brings. The legend says that the Martyrs (The Mucenici) were soldiers drowned by the roman emperor Licinius and that the 8 shape symbolises the human body.

Mucenici is a type of bread that is soft and perfumed, glazed with honey and sprinkled with crushed walnuts.

To prepare mucenici, you will need:

  • half a kilo of flour
  • a cup of milk (you can use water or soy milk if you’re vegan)
  • 25g fresh yeast
  • the peel of a small orange
  • half a cup of olive oil
  • 5 spoons of sugar
  • a pinch of salt

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First of all prepare the fresh yeast: warm the milk and mix it with a spoon of sugar, then incorporate the fresh yeast in it. Let it sit for a couple of minutes, while you grate the orange.

Put all your flour into a large bowl and make a crater in the middle. Pout the milk and yeast, the rest of sugar, the salt, the grated orange peel and the oil altogether.

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Then mix well, for around 5 minutes, until the dough stops sticking to your fingers.

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At this point, the dough should be soft and elastic. Let it sit in warm place for an hour, so the dough can rise.
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Then pre-heat your oven at 180 degrees celsius (350 F) and shape into small eight-shapes pieces.

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When you arrange them in the baking tray, make sure you leave a bit of space between them, as they will rise a bit more in the oven.

Bake for around 30 minutes or until golden on top.

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While they cool down a bit, warm up some honey and brush the mucenici with plenty of it. The more layers you put, the more syrupy they’ll be. Sprinkle crumbled walnuts of over and pour yourself a nice cup of coffee to go with it.

Pofta Buna!

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