I know, I know, I know… This recipe is a bit too late for an Easter recipe, my bad! But I guess you all know how “busy” holidays can be: when you are finally at home with your family, you have other things to do than writing down recipes (most importantly, of course, eating the fruits of your cooking/baking 😉 ). Yet, this braided yeast bread is such a traditional Easter dish in Germany, that I had to share the recipe with you anyway.
I found the recipe on another German baking blog, and I must say it tastes divine! It is such a rich dough which gets gorgeously fluffy with a bit of a crust after baking, and that’s only the texture. Tastewise, you have a delicious combination of the yeast dough with some lemon zest and sweet raisins. You don’t even need butter or any other spread to enjoy eating this, the pure bread is awesome in itself!
Ingredients (yields one loaf):
80 g raisins
250 g (fine) wheat flour
40 g sugar
1 pinch of salt
40 g butter
20 g yeast
7 tbsp milk (cold)
1 egg yolk
1 tbsp lemon zest (which is approx. the zest of 1 lemon)
1 egg white for brushing
Transfer the raisins to a small bowl and soak them in hot water. In the meantime you can start preparing the dough. Mix flour sugar and a pinch of salt in a bowl. Slowly melt the butter on the stove, then add the cold milk. The mixture should now be at max. lukewarm. Dissolve the yeast in the butter-milk-mixture and add it bit by bit to the flour, kneading in between. Add the egg yolk as well, knead a bit until combined and transfer everything to the countertop. Keep on kneading until the dough is well combined and doesn’t stick to the countertop or your hands any longer. Don’t worry, this will take a while because the dough is so rich, so just keep on kneading!
Use a sieve to pour off the soaking water from the raisins and rinse them out under water. Add the raisins and the lemon zest to the dough and knead again until you have a combined and kind of dry ball of dough. Let prove at a warm place for at least an hour until the dough has doubled in size. Divide the dough into as many bits of equal size as you like and roll (and pull) the bits into strands for braiding. I found this video, where a very sweet lady explains in a very understandable manner how to braid with increasing numbers of strands. In the picture, I used a 7-strand braid. Transfer the braided bread to a baking sheet spread with baking parchment and cover with a kitchen towel. Let prove for another 30 minutes, preheat the oven to 190°C. Brush the bread with the remaining egg white and bake for about 20 minutes until golden brown. Serve fresh or keep in a sealed bag for a day.