Mucenici Moldovenesti

I feel like this post needs to be bilingual (Romanian below, btw), mostly:

  1. because translating the name of it would be wrong (Moldavian martyrs – who wants to bake martyrs, right)
  2. because naming it in Romanian and presenting the recipe in English is wrong too.

This recipe is a once-per-year type of recipe and we do it for the 9th of March. On 9th of March we celebrate 40 Christian martyrs who got persecuted for refusing to pray to idols during Licinius’ time (308-324).

The date, 9th of March, also marks the start of the agricultural year, so in order to have a fruitful year, women must bake this sweet bread and spread it around neighbours, relatives and poor. With this occasion, you commemorate the death too.

There are two variations for this recipe. First one would be the boiled version, where the Mucenici resembles pasta and it is boiled in milk, with cinnamon and lemon zest and served with walnuts and the second one, the one coming from my region, which is baked.

You’ll need:

  • 4 eggs yolks
  • 1 egg for the egg wash
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 cups milk
  • 125 grams of butter
  • 4 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 kg of flour
  • 2 packages of dried yeast or 40 grams of fresh yeast
  • pinch of salt
  • vanilla essence
  • lemon zest from a lemon
  • honey
  • walnuts


  1. add one cup of milk with the sugar, lemon zest and the vanilla essence in a sauce pan and cook it on low until the sugar melts – very important here not to boil it but to keep it on a very low temperature until the mixture reaches the temperature of your finger;
  2. in a bowl, mix the yeast with 1 tsp of sugar, 1 tbsp of flour and 2-3 tbsp of warm milk, set aside and allow to react;
  3. on another bowl add 2-3 tbsp of flour;
  4. on another pan, add the other cup of milk and allow it to boil;
  5. once boiled, gradually add it to the flour you just set in the other bowl and with the help of a whisk, mix everything together and let it cool, room temperature;
  6. in the meanwhile, in a big bowl, add the flour and a pinch of salt and set aside;
  7. by the time your flour-milk mixture cooled down, you’ll notice the yeast mixture has tripled in size;
  8. add the yeast mixture to the milk-flour one, adding the egg yolks too;
  9. incorporate everything and add it to the dry ingredients;
  10. mix everything until you get a bread-like dough;
  11. once you reached the bred-like consistency, add the butter, little by little, by squishing it into your palms, incorporating it into the dough;
  12. once you added all the butter, transfer the dough onto a clean surface and smash it and fold it on the surface, 10 times;
  13. put it back to the bowl, add the oil, incorporate it and smash-fold it again for 10 more times – by doing this, your dough will go from shaggy and clumpy to smooth and stretchy;
  14. let it rest, covered and draft free, for an hour;
  15. once an hour has past, transfer the dough to a clean surface and divide it into 16 equal size balls;
  16. roll the dough until you reach a 40-50 cm long stick/tube;
  17. intertwine two of these dough sticks/tubes, secure them at the end and shape and 8 out of it;
  18. place in a baking tray and allow it to rest for 1 more hour, covered;
  19. once it’s double proved, top it with the egg wash and pop in the oven at 150° C for 30-40 minutes or up until golden brown and toothpick approved;
  20. coat it in honey and sprinkle with walnuts.


Acum, stiu ca anul asta 9 Martie cade in post, insa avand in vedere ca ii faci o data pe an, merita sa adaugi si ceva unt si lapte si oua in ei.

Anul acest am folosit asa:

  • 1 kilogram de faina
  • 4 galbenusuri de ou
  • 1 ou pentru uns
  • 250 de grame de zahar
  • jumatate de pachet de unt
  • esenta de vanilie
  • 500 ml lapte
  • 4 linguri de ulei
  • 40 de grame drojdie proaspata, sau 2 pliculete de drojdie uscata
  • sare
  • coaja de la o lamaie
  • esenta de vanilie
  • miere
  • nuca


  1. Intr-un castron mare se adauga faina si sarea si se pune deoparte;
  2. intr-o cratita, se adauga o cana de lapte si zaharul impreuna cu esenta de vanilie si se da la foc mic pana se topeste zaharul iar compozitia ajunge la temperatura degetului;
  3. intr-un catron se face maiaua din drojdie, o lingurita de zahar, 1 lingura de faina si 2 linguri de lapte caldut – se acopera si se lasa la dospit;
  4. intr-un alt castron se adauga 2-3 linguri de faina;
  5. intr-o alta cratita se da in clocot cealalta cana de lapte;
  6. cand a fiert, se aduaga treptat in castornul unde am pregatit faina si se amesteca cu ajutorul unui tel;
  7. o data ce am incorporat tot laptele, se da castronul deoparte si se lasa sa se raceasca la temperatura degetului;
  8. o data racita compozitia, se adauga maiaua si cele 4 galbenusuri si se amesteca pana devine o compozitie omogena;
  9. se aduaga toata compozitia in bolul mare cu faina si se framanata pana se ajunge la un aluat ca de paine, doar putin mai moale – se mai adauga lapte daca este nevoie;
  10. cand aluatul incepe sa fie omogen, se iau bucati de unt si se amesteca, treptat, in aluat;
  11. cand tot untul a fost incorporat in aluat, se izbeste aluatul de 10 ori – cel mai bine si mai sigur, pe o masa/blat curat/a;
  12. se adauga uleiul, se incorporeaza si se mai izbeste de inca 10 ori aluatul – prin aceasta metoda, structurile de gluten din faina se intind si se aliniaza, formand un aluat fin si usor de manevrat, elastic; plus ca va scuteste de o munca laborioasa data de framantatul clasic;
  13. odata ce am terminat de izbit aluatul, se pune inapoi in bol si se lasa la crescut pentru o ora, acoperit si intr-un mediu fara curent;
  14. se imaprte aluatul in 16 bile si se ruleaza;
  15. se unesc doua cate doua, se impletesc, se prind la capete si se formeaza forma de 8;
  16. se pun in tava de copt, se acopera cu un prosop si se mai lasa la crescut inca o ora – prin acest past va asigurati ca vor creste frumos;
  17. se ung cu ou si se dau la cuptor la foc mediu, sau la 150° C pentru 30-40 de minute sau pana devin aurii si trec de testul scobitorii;
  18. fierbinti se ung cu miere si se presara cu nuca macinata;


BUT the best part of this celebration is that you get to drink 40 glasses too. Of alcohol.