In English it is called nut bread, in Romania cozonac and in Germany zopf. It can't be missing on the Christmas table and when it's made with sweet sourdough it's even more delicious! The nut bread made with sourdough, as well as the bread made with it, stays soft for a week! And that's something I can bet on!
We need sweetened sourdough.
Three days before, we take 20 g of sourdough and mix it with
20 g of sugar
40 g of water and
40 g of flour
We feed it after 12 hours by taking 20 grams of the existing composition, adding 20 grams of sugar, 40 grams of flour and 40 grams of water.
Repeat the process every 12 hours, until the day before you prepare the dough for the nut bread when instead of 40 g of flour and 40 g of water you do:
20 g sweet sourdough
20 g sugar
60 g flour
50 g water
Warm the milk slightly (it should be neutral to the touch). A kitchen thermometer will be very helpful here. The temperature of the milk should be 37°C.
Using a fork, mix the warm milk with 120 g sweet sourdough.
Add the yolks, melted butter, cream, soft butter and flour and knead into a dough that doesn't stick on the bowl. You can use Thermomix or Kitchen Aid for kneading - 5-7 minutes.
Cover the bowl with a foil/shower cap and leave the dough proof for two hours.
Stir sugar, salt and flavorings into dough. Knead for another 5-7 minutes, until dough is very elastic and smooth.
Transfer the dough to a casserole dish greased with a bit of oil, cover and set aside for 45 minutes.
Room temperature should be about 23°C. A low temperature inhibits the rising process.
After 45 minutes, do the first set of folds (Stretch and Fold). Cover and set aside for 45 minutes.
Do another set of folds directly in the casserole. Cover and set aside for 45 minutes.
Carefully make one last set of folds.
At this point, the dough has already visibly increased in volume. Let the dough rise further in the casserole until it almost triples in volume. (for 4-5 hours)
The dough has risen sufficiently, is bubbly and extremely fluffy and light, a sign that you can proceed with assembling the cake.
Whip the egg whites, add the sugar and when stiff, add the grounded walnuts and stir with a spatula until well incorporated.
Divide the dough into two equal parts from which you form one ball each.
Roll out each ball of dough into a rectangular sheet about 30×35 cm and 1 cm thick. Spread the eggwhite-groundedwalnuts mixture.
Roll the sheet lengthways.
Repeat for the second part of the dough.
You can make 2 nut breads or you can cut one roll and make snails like below:
Let the dough rest inside the tins for 2 hours.
Preheat the oven ventilation, 180 degree.
To make sure it doesn't become too dark, cover the nut bread from the start with a piece of crumpled baking paper which you run under cold running water.
Bake for 60 minutes.