Hefezopf: German Easter Bread Recipe
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Hefezopf is a sweet yeast bread made with dried fruit (raisins) and sliced almonds for garnish. It can be formed into a wreath shape to hold chocolate Easter eggs in the centre when finished or plaited in a variety of ways.
Due to quarantine restrictions, I did not have raisins or almonds to hand, so substituted chocolate chips and a sugary egg wash. I chose to form the bread into a 3-stranded plait, but there is flexibility in the method if you wish to do more or bake as a single loaf. Due to the substitution of chocolate chips, my end result was more of a chocolate chip brioche, which is still delicious. Below is the traditional recipe, with my changes; the same method applies to the traditional version or other substitutions that may be made. For instance, you may choose to use alternative dried fruits or nuts.
240 ml Milk
500 g All Purpose Flour (I prefer King Arthur's brand)
50 g Sugar
7 g or one packet Rapid Rise Yeast
1 tsp Salt
85 g butter (room temp.)
Raisins approx 3/4 cup (or substitute other dried fruit or chocolate chips - I just estimated the quantity)
1 Egg Yolk
1-2 tbsp Milk
Sprinkle with sliced almonds
I mixed the egg and milk mixture with about 2 tsp of sugar
1. Combine the flour, sugar, yeast, salt. Be sure to add the yeast and salt on separate sides of the bowl, as mixing them directly together can impede the yeast
2. Heat the milk to lukewarm
3. Add the lukewarm milk to the egg and mix quickly. Then add the milk-egg to the flour mixture. Mix well until combined. The dough will be a bit sticky
4. Knead the dough for about 10 minutes on a floured surface - until the stickiness is gone and the dough feels elastic
5. Put the dough into a lightly greased bowl (with butter), cover, and let it rise in a warm space for an hour
6. After the dough has risen, mix in your dried fruit of choice or chocolate chips.
7. To plait the dough, weigh the dough into 3 equal parts
8. Roll each dough ball into a strand and press the ends of the strands together to begin plaiting
9. Plait the dough as you would hair; if you would like a tutorial on plaiting for bread, this is a good link: 3-Stranded Plait by King Arthur Flour
10. Place the plaited dough on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper. Cover and allow to rise for another 15-20 minutes
12. Preheat the oven to 175 C / 350 F
13. Combine the egg yolk and milk (with sugar if desired) and brush the dough thoroughly with the mixture. Add the almonds at this point
14. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Keep an eye on the bread around the 15 to 20 minute mark - if it is turning too brown, cover the top with foil
The bread is best served warm with jam and butter within a few days of baking.
85271 - 2023-06-11 07:06:50