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Bucolaj, Istrian Easter vegan delight

Posted By Marija Cossi| Comments

Traditional Istrian Easter veganized recipe, inspired by the traditional recipe of pastry chef Tea Mamut.

Pinca, our croatian Easter bread is the number one among the Easter recipes here, but there is another one, a real traditional recipe very similar to the "Pinca" -  our istrian "Bucolaj"

The difference is in the preparation...the dough is a bit stiffer than the one of the Pinca and after baking you dip in the rolls into warm milk on both sides and then roll the top into sugar.

The flavours and ingredients are very similar, if not the same, but the ratio is a bit different.

Mine ended up being pretta huge  (8-9 pieces) because I divided bigger dough balls for making the circles, so feel free to make smaller balls at the beginning to end up with prettier rolls after baking. They will rise, don't be scared. I would definitely make somewhere between 10-12 rolls.

If you want something a bit different this Easter and play a little bit with the dough, definitely give BUCOLAJ a try!


How come I decided to make a vegan version of bucolaj?

I stopped having cow milk for a while now, so it was pretty simple to me to replace it with oat milk, which I always have at home now, while I substituded the egg yolks with my homemade applesauce enriched with cinnamon, rum and lemon zest, which only contributed to a richer taste and smell.

I know there are many more people nowadays in search for vegan options, which I find to be very understanding and praiseworthy, so here is one for you!









Dough ingredients

  • 500 g spelt flour* + approximately 50g more if needed (mix of wholegrain and white flour)
  • 10 g action dried yeast
  • 80 g fine Muscovado sugar
  • 1/2 tsp Himalayan salt
  • 250 ml warm oat milk
  • 75 g odorless coconut oil
  • 100 g applesauce
  • 15 ml rum
  • lemon zest
  • 10 g bourbon vanilla sugar 

*I used 300 g spelt flour + 100 g wholegrain spelt flour. I suggest that you use a higher white flour ratio than the wholegrain, if you decide to even use it. Use a bit more flour if needed while kneading the dough.


  • warm milk for dipping the baked rolls
  • Demerara sugar/ Xylitol or regular white sugar for the topping

Warm the milk and pour it over the yeast and bourbon vanilla sugar. Leave it like that for 5-10 minutes.

Meanwhile stir the flours, sugar and salt.

Add the applesauce, rum, lemon zest.

Gently melt the coconut oil ust for a short while, over low heat, then add it to the flour.

Pour in the mixture with the yeast over the flour mixture and knead the dough.

You can transfer the dough on a floured surface to make the job easier. If you think you need a bit more flour, feel free to add it, but don't go overboard with it.

The dough must be easy to knead, not too soft or too hard.

Form the dough into a round shape,  transfer it back into your bowl and cover with a dishtowel. Leave it to rest and rise in a warm place for about an hour.

Knead the dough again shortly and divide it into 10-12 balls.

Roll each ball with your hands into a long stick shape and then close it. One end will go a little bit inside the circle and the other will remain on the outside.

Do not make large and wide "sticks" because they will increase in volume while baking.

Leave the circles on a baking tray lined with parchement paper for an additional half an hour, so the dough can rest some more. They will not rise a lot during this period.


Bake on 150oC for 10 minutes and on 180C for another 10 minutes.

Once baked, dip the rolls into warm milk on both sides and then roll the top into the sugar.

Serve immediately or wait until cold.

The buns are so soft and flavourful, you will fall in love with them immediately!

You can even freeze the rolls if you can't eat them all, so you'll have soft, sort of aromatic, buns anytime you feel like it, in a sec!