Easter Bread “Hefezopf”

Happy Easter!

I am in Berlin for the Easter weekend and will therefore only do a very short post, as I am on a mini laptop that’s not the easiest to type on…

And as it’s almost Easter Sunday I have to quickly get upload this post, on time for the occasion.

I wanted to give a recipe for something “easter’y” and a typical Easter brunch in Germany includes a traditional “Hefezopf”, which literally translated means “yeast-plait” (not a very appetizing name in English, I know). It’s a lightly sweet yeast based bread, also called a “chola” in English. It tastes a bit like a heavier brioche and can be made with nuts and marzipan as a fancier version. Some people also add hard boiled coloured eggs, that get bedded into the plait before baking. I stuck to the most basic version of them all, as given to me by my mom. 

You need:

  • 500g flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 20g fresh yeast
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 70g butter
  • 250ml milk
  • 1 egg 

Start by warming up the milk (keeping a little aside for later) and mixing the fresh yeast in to the warmed milk. Mix the flour with the salt and sugar in a big bowl and pour the fluid in and knead together with the help of the kneading paddles of the electric whisk.

Then cover the bowl with cling film and set aside in a warm place, such as near a heater or under a blanket and allow to rise for 1 hour.

When the dough has doubled in size add the butter, by melting it and then kneading it into the dough. Again, set aside in a warm spot and leave to rise again, for about 40 mins.

Take out the risen dough and knead it again, this time by hand and on a floured surface. Divide it in to three pieces with which you form three rolls of the same length. Place the rolls parallel to each other and plait, as you would plait hair. 

Again, set the plaited dough aside for another 30 mins to allow it to rise some more, during which time you should preheat your oven on to 200 degrees. 

Mix the egg with the left over milk and brush the plait with this mix before baking it for 35-40 minutes.

The bread is best eaten on the day of baking – topped with butter and jam!

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