The tradition of baking nazuki has existed in Georgia for centuries, and it is most often encountered in the cuisine of Shida Kartli and southern Georgia. This is the most widespread form of sweet bread, with a special shape. The word “nazuki” itself comes from Persian and, according to Sulkhan-Saba Orbeliani’s dictionary, it means “exquisite” in Georgian. Tedo Sakhokia, the Georgian ethnographer, explains that the word means prosperity, softness, and delicacy. The oldest culinary dictionaries refer to nazuki as a sweet, leavened, Georgian festival bread.

The Armenians have a baked good of the same name which they consider part of their own national cuisine, which they make for Easter, but it is very different from Georgian nazuki, being made with filo. 

Georgian nazuki is a part of cuisine of Kartli, Kakheti, and Meskheti regions, serving the function of a ritual bread and being made instead of paskha for Easter in Kartli.

The most delicious nazuki is baked in a tone oven, but, when made at home, it is baked in a regular oven. It is made in large portions, since it does not go off easily and can be kept for a long time when wrapped in a cloth.

At the end of the 20th century, when the country was on the verge of economic ruin, people set up small tone ovens one after another at the crossroads of western and eastern Georgia, in Surami, and started baking and selling nazuki. It saved the lives of many families at that time, and the one-kilometer stretch of road where those nazuki-sellers stood offering their handmade goods for 24 hours a day was given the title “Nazukebi.” 

How to Make Nazuki

If you intend to make real, traditional nazuki, then you will need the following ingredients:

4 kg bread flour; 

1 kg raisins;

½ liter oil;

2 tbsp yeast;

3 kg sugar (if you so choose, you can instead use 500-800 grams of honey);

3 l milk;

2 tsp cloves;

2 tsp cinnamon;

1sp nutmeg (if desired);

40 g vanilla;

½ liter matsoni;

5 eggs; and

1 tsp salt.


Dissolve the yeast into warm milk and leave it to rise. Then, dissolve the sugar completely into warm milk. Make a depression in the middle of the flour, and pour the yeast, sugary milk, matsoni, and half of the oil into it. Then, crack the eggs into it, and mix in the spices (you can decide on the amount of spices according to your taste). Knead the dough for a long time, until it starts to thicken. It should be stretchy and flexible, but should not stick to your hands.

If you intend to bake the nazuki in a tone oven, then you should knead the dough much more thoroughly, so that it sticks to the walls of the tone oven. If you are baking it in a conventional oven, then you can make softer dough. Once you have kneaded it, mix in the raisins, which you have already washed, dried, and fried for a few minutes in oil, so that the seeds puff up and they become more flavorful. 

Wrap the dough up well and leave it in a warm place. Once it starts to rise, knead it well once more with oily hands and leave it to rise again. Then, form it into a ball, giving it the shape of a nazuki, stick it onto a heated tone oven or put it into a pre-heated conventional oven, smear beaten eggs onto it, and let it bake. When the nazuki is baking in the tone oven, powdered sugar can be strewn over the hot embers to give it a uniform color and appearance, and the tone oven is covered tightly with boards and a thick cloth. By doing so, the nazuki, smoked by the burned sugar, will turn brown and bake uniformly. 

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