Montag, 1. April 2013

Braided sweet yeast bread

This is a recipe for a traditional German "Hefezopf", a braided sweet yeast bread, similar to a challah. It is traditionally made for Easter but tastes wonderfully all year round. What I love about it is how versatile it is: you can it eat plain or spread with some jam, you can use it as a base for french toast or bread-and-butter-pudding! Lovely!

For a medium-sized loaf you will need:
  • 600g (21 oz) flour
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 100g (3.5 oz) sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 75ml (2.5 fl oz) sunflower oil
  • 275ml (9 fl oz) tepid water
  • 1 package active-dry yeast
  • 1 tbsp each of grated lemon and orange zest
  • 1 egg yolk mixed with 1 tbsp of milk
  • some nut brittle, sliced almonds, sesame etc. to sprinkle

1. Sift the flour into a big bowl, add salt and sugar and mix. In a second bowl, whisk the eggs with the oil and the warm water. Add the dry yeast and zest to the liquid ingredients and give it a whisk. Pour the liquid ingredients into the bowl of flour and knead with your hands until a smooth dough has formed. Make sure you do not add any extra flour! The dough should be slightly sticky so it will turn out fluffy and moist! Cover the bowl with damp clean cloth and let rise for about 45 minutes until doubled in size.

2. Punch down the dough, divide into three equally sized balls. On a flourd board, roll out the balls into three long snakes of about 1 inch in diameter. Pinch the ends of the three snakes together firmly and braid. Form nice endings by slightly pushing them beneath the loaf. Again cover with damp cloth and let rise for another 45 minutes.

3. Preheat your oven to 160°C/320 F. Line a baking tray with baking parchment and place the loaf on top. Brush with the egg yolk-milk-mix and sprinkle with topping of your liking. Bake for about 30 minutes.

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