Cesnica Recipe - Traditional Serbian Bread with Flour, Yeast, Olive Oil, and Salt


Cesnica Recipe - Traditional Serbian Bread with Flour, Yeast, Olive Oil, and Salt
Region / culture: Serbia | Preparation time: 30 minutes | Cooking time: 1 hour | Servings: 10



Cesnica is a traditional Serbian Christmas bread that is typically made during the holiday season. This bread is not only delicious, but it also holds a special significance in Serbian culture as it is often used in a ceremonial ritual during Christmas.


Cesnica has been a part of Serbian Christmas traditions for centuries. It is believed that the bread symbolizes prosperity and good fortune for the coming year. During Christmas Eve dinner, a coin is traditionally placed inside the bread before it is baked. The person who finds the coin in their slice of bread is said to have good luck in the upcoming year.


How to prepare

  1. Sift 1 kg of flour into a dish. Add 20 g of yeast, one cup of oil, a pinch of salt, and knead it with warm water until the dough starts to separate from your hands. The dough should have a medium consistency, not too soft or too hard.
  2. Spread oil on a baking pan and place the dough on it. Let it rest for 10 minutes in a warm place.
  3. Perforate the dough with a fork to prevent air pockets from forming under the crust.
  4. Christmas bread is traditionally decorated with dough shaped like birds or braids.
  5. Place the baking pan in a preheated oven.
  6. Once the crust is baked, cover it with a sheet of parchment paper to allow the bread to bake evenly.
  7. Serve the bread warm.


  • Add raisins or nuts to the dough for added texture and flavor.
  • Brush the bread with egg wash before baking for a shiny crust.

Cooking Tips & Tricks

Make sure to knead the dough until it reaches the right consistency. The dough should be smooth and elastic.

- Let the dough rest before baking to allow it to rise properly.

- Decorate the bread with traditional designs such as birds or braids for a festive touch.

Serving Suggestions

Cesnica can be served warm with honey or jam for a sweet treat. It also pairs well with cheese and cured meats.

Cooking Techniques

Knead the dough until it is smooth and elastic.

- Let the dough rest before baking to allow it to rise.

Ingredient Substitutions

You can use vegetable oil instead of olive oil.

- You can use instant yeast instead of active dry yeast.

Make Ahead Tips

You can prepare the dough ahead of time and refrigerate it overnight. Let it come to room temperature before baking.

Presentation Ideas

Serve Cesnica on a decorative platter with a sprig of rosemary for a festive touch.

Pairing Recommendations

Cesnica pairs well with mulled wine or hot chocolate.

Storage and Reheating Instructions

Store leftover Cesnica in an airtight container at room temperature. To reheat, place it in a preheated oven for a few minutes until warm.

Nutrition Information

Calories per serving

Each serving of Cesnica contains approximately 250 calories.


Each serving of Cesnica contains approximately 30g of carbohydrates.


Each serving of Cesnica contains approximately 10g of fats.


Each serving of Cesnica contains approximately 5g of proteins.

Vitamins and minerals

Cesnica is a good source of iron and magnesium.


Cesnica contains gluten.


Cesnica is a delicious bread that is rich in carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. It is also a good source of iron and magnesium.


Cesnica is a traditional Serbian Christmas bread that is not only delicious but also holds a special significance in Serbian culture. With its rich flavors and festive decorations, Cesnica is sure to be a hit at your holiday table.

How did I get this recipe?

The memory of discovering this recipe is still vivid in my mind. It was a crisp autumn day, the kind of day that makes you want to spend hours in the kitchen, creating something warm and comforting. I had just returned from a visit to my dear friend Milena’s house, where she had served me a delicious bread called Cesnica. The aroma of the bread had filled her cozy kitchen, and I knew I had to learn how to make it myself.

Milena had learned to make Cesnica from her own grandmother, who had passed down the recipe through the generations. As she shared the recipe with me, I could see the pride in her eyes as she spoke of her family’s tradition of making this special bread for Christmas Eve.

I listened intently as Milena walked me through the steps of making Cesnica. The ingredients were simple – flour, yeast, salt, sugar, and water – but the process was intricate and required patience and skill. The dough had to be kneaded until it was smooth and elastic, then left to rise until it doubled in size. Milena explained that the bread was traditionally made in the shape of a circle, with a coin hidden inside for good luck.

As I followed the recipe and kneaded the dough, I thought about the history and tradition behind this bread. I imagined Milena’s grandmother lovingly shaping the dough, passing on her knowledge and wisdom to her daughter and granddaughter. I felt honored to be learning this recipe, to be a part of this ancient tradition.

After the dough had risen and I had formed it into a circle, I carefully placed a coin inside before baking it in the oven. The scent of the baking bread filled my kitchen, just as it had in Milena’s. When the bread was golden brown and ready, I removed it from the oven and let it cool before slicing into it.

The taste of the Cesnica was like nothing I had ever experienced before. The bread was dense and chewy, with a hint of sweetness from the sugar. I could taste the love and history baked into every bite. I knew that this recipe would become a cherished part of my own family’s traditions.

In the years that followed, I made Cesnica for every Christmas Eve, just as Milena had done. Each time I made the bread, I felt connected to the generations of women who had come before me, who had passed down this recipe with love and care. I shared the bread with my family and friends, telling them the story of how I had learned to make it, and encouraging them to create their own traditions.

As I grew older, my love for cooking only deepened. I continued to seek out new recipes and techniques, always eager to learn and improve my skills in the kitchen. But no matter how many recipes I tried, Cesnica remained my favorite. It was more than just bread – it was a symbol of family, tradition, and love.

Now, as I pass on this recipe to you, my dear grandchild, I hope that you will embrace it with the same passion and reverence that I have. I hope that you will feel the connection to our family’s past and the generations that have come before us. And most of all, I hope that you will continue to cook and create with love in your heart, just as I have done for so many years.


| Bread Appetizer Recipes | Christmas Breads | Serbian Appetizers | Serbian Recipes | Serbian Snacks | Slavic Recipes | Yeast Recipes |

Recipes with the same ingredients