Gubana is a traditional Italian Easter bread.
Sweet, enriched dough filled with a delicious mix of citrus, nuts, dried fruit, candied peel, and cocoa. It has a complex flavour and a great texture. While it may look daunting, it is quite easy to make. If you have ever made cinnamon buns, then you will be familiar with the method.
This bread was recommended to me by one of my viewers on youtube. It turns out that it is quite like a Russian Christmas bread called Krendl which I baked for my Christmas special in 2020. The flavour is different, but the method and the look are very similar. I love both, of course.
Make sure you leave this to proof well before baking. The times given in a recipe are to be taken with a grain of salt as the conditions in every kitchen are different. Yours might be cooler. If the dough has not risen well before baking, then it will be dense in the middle and it will take a long time to bake.
Watch the video down below for detailed instructions.
For the dough –
300g (10.6oz) strong white bread flour
50g (1.75oz) soft butter
6g (0.2oz) salt
4g (0.15oz) dry yeast or 3x the amount of fresh yeast
30g (1oz) sugar
4g (0.15oz) vanilla paste
1 orange worth of zest
2 egg yolks (around 30g (1oz) in total), cold from the fridge
145g (5.1oz) cold milk. The weight of the milk and egg yolks should be a total of 175g (6.2oz). First weigh the yolks, then add enough milk to make up the difference.
To learn more about dough temperature control click here.
For the filling –
40g (1.5oz) toasted, crushed walnuts
40g (1.5oz) toasted, crushed hazelnuts
40g (1.5oz) toasted, crushed pine nuts
40g (1.5oz) raisins or currants
40g (1.5oz) candied mixed peel
40g (1.5oz) sugar
5g (0.17oz) cocoa powder
3g (0.1oz) cinnamon
1 lemon worth of zest
70g (2.5oz) madeira, but any sweet red wine will do. A non-alcoholic alternative could be grape juice.
For glazing –
1 egg yolk mixed with 1 teaspoon of milk
- Make the filling. In a small pan combine the wine, lemon zest, cinnamon, cocoa powder & sugar. Bring that up to a simmer. Add the rest of the ingredients and continue cooking on low heat for another 2 minutes. Place into a bowl and leave on the side to cool down completely.
- In a bowl combine the milk, egg yolks, yeast, salt, sugar, vanilla paste & orange zest. Mix to dissolve any large salt & sugar crystals and hydrate the yeast. Add the flour and mix to a dough.
- Knead for 3 minutes. Tear in the butter. Keep kneading for another 4 minutes. Desired dough temperature around 25-26C (77-79F). If your dough is warmer, then it will ferment more rapidly. If it is cooler, then it will take longer. Adjust proofing time accordingly.
- Cover & ferment for 1.5 hours.
- Ferment for 1.5 more hours.
- Roll the dough out. Spread the filling all over. If the filling feels a bit stiff, then add 10g (0.3oz) water. Roll the loaf up & seal it. Twist it into shape.
- Place on a parchment paper lined tray & ferment for 1.5 – 2 hours. During the final hour of fermentation preheat your oven to 160C (320F) FAN ON.
- Brush the loaf with the egg & milk glaze.
- Bake for 50 minutes or until the inner temperature reads above 94C (200F).
Watch the video here