Easter Weekend

We spent some time at the Luisenpark located in Mannheim Good Friday afternoon. We saw spring flowers, farm animals and many people enjoying their day off. While wandering around I left some prepared dough at home for a loaf of the traditional Hefezopf. It's a sweet bread commonly baked at Easter, but the basis recipe I'll show you below is suitable for raising buns etc. too!

Hefezopf one loaf

500g flour
250mL milk
50g sugar
1/2 cube fresh yeast
75g butter at room temperature
1 egg at room temperature
1egg for coating
1 tbsp salt
almond slivers

Heat the milk until lukewarm, pour in a bowl and add the sugar and the yeast and mix with a spoon until combined, let it rest for about 10 minutes. Then add the egg and whisk it together. Sift the flour in a large bowl and pour in the milk egg mixture, add the soft butter and salt and knead the dough until smooth and glossy. This should take about 10 minutes. At this step you can add raisins and other dried fruit, whatever suits you best. Now grab a clean and moistened towel, cover the bowl and put it on a warm and not drafty place. After 2 hours the dough should have doubled in size. Transfer the dough to a floured surface and knead for another 1-2 minutes. Divide the dough in three equal portions and shape each into long strands and form a nice braid. Transfer on a baking rack lined with parchment paper and let it rise for another 30 minutes with the moisted towel atop. Preheat oven to 200°C (390°F). After 30 minutes coat the top with a mixture of egg and a pinch of salt and sugar each. Sprinkle with almond slivers and put it into the oven for about 45 minutes, after 25 minutes reducing the temperature to 180°C (350°F).
An idea for variation is to flavor the milk used in this recipe. I added a good amount of orange zest, but you can substitute the orange zest for lemon zest. Another variation is to substitute the milk for coconut milk.

I discovered that the hefezopf tasted even better one day old. But a warm slice of it topped with clotted cream and some strawberry jam - oh yum!

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