It’s less than four weeks until the long Easter weekend. The second in a row I am spending at home.
In normal times (aka when there is no global pandemic), I would take advantage of the long weekend to spend somewhere nice and warm. Possibly a couple of days in southern Europe or maybe a week in the Middle East.
Instead, I am busy decorating my home with colourful Easter gadgets and planning my Easter menu at home.
On the upside, I finally have time to prepare some of the dishes I’ve planned to make for a long time already, but typically would not find enough time to do so.
A traditional food you will find everywhere in Germany during the Easter period are sweet yeast braids, which in German are also known as Osterzopf, Osterkranz or Osterbrot.
This slightly sweet, soft and tender yeast bread is something not to be missed on the traditional German Easter brunch. Usually adorned with a coloured egg or eggs, depending on the shape of the braid, it is also a colourful highlight on any Easter brunch buffet.
The recipe below is for eight small braids, but you can also form this into one large braid.
Yields 8 small braids
500 g all-purpose flour
40 g fresh yeast
100 g powdered sugar
3 egg yolks
pinch of salt
60 g butter, melted
250 ml milk
½ lemon zest, grated
2 Pk vanilla sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
8 hard-boiled eggs, coloured
In a small saucepan heat the milk over medium heat.
In a large bowl, add flour, powdered sugar, egg yolks, a pinch of salt, butter, lemon zest, and vanilla sugar. Add the fresh yeast than pour over the heated milk. Using a standing mixer or hand mixer, knead together until obtaining an elastic dough.
Put the yeast in a large bowl, cover with a kitchen towel and allow to rise in a warm place for 40 minutes until doubled in volume.
Preheat the oven to 170°C.
Transfer dough to a lightly floured working surface. Knead again and let rise again for another 10 minutes.
Form a roll and separate into 24 pieces. Roll each of the pieces into approximately 15 cm long ropes.
Taking three pieces, form a braid. Pinch the ends together, than form a cycle. Make sure the ends are securely joined together. Transfer onto a baking pan lined with baking paper. Brush with the lightly beaten egg and sprinkle with granulated sugar.
Bake for 15 minutes until golden-brown.
Take out and let cool a couple of minutes. Then put a coloured egg in the middle of each braid. The braid should be still warm to make sure they fit properly.
Keep in mind, the colouration of the egg might rub off putting it into the yeast. Therefore, use eggs with organic colouring – or colour the eggs with natural ingredients.
If you want to learn how to make coloured Easter eggs with natural ingredients, you can find instruction here: Your guide to natural coloured Easter eggs.
Planning to make Easter braid? Share a picture of your final creation.