Yeast braid, also known as Hefezopf or Easter bread, is a light, sweet yeast bread that is common throughout Germany and Austria. Gesunde Ernährung It is made with sugar, flour, butter and eggs and is a great treat for breakfast or a snack.
The recipe is easy to make and can be prepared in advance, allowing it to be baked at a later date for a special meal. You can also freeze the unbaked loaf to enjoy at a later time.
Start with a milk mixture that is warm to the touch (not too hot, which kills yeast, and not too cool, which delays yeast reaction). Add the yeast to the milk and stir until dissolved. Place the dough in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise until puffy and almost doubled, about 60 minutes.
Once the dough has risen, divide it into two equal parts. Set one piece aside and roll the other portion into a ball. Repeat with the other half of the dough, and transfer both pieces to a lightly greased baking sheet.
Gently form the ball into a smooth, elastic, shaggy dough, and knead it several times. If the dough is too sticky to handle, add a small amount of flour until it comes together.
When the dough is smooth and elastic, transfer it to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, or a clean kitchen towel, and allow it to rise until puffy and nearly doubled, about 60 minutes.
While the dough is rising, prepare the filling for the Hefezopf by mixing all of the ingredients except the lemon curd in a small bowl. You can also use a food processor to mix the filling, but it will take more time and may not result in the same texture. Once the filling is ready, spread it onto each of the strands to make the Hefezopf look pretty and to add some flavor.
Now it’s time to braid the Hefezopf! You can either do this by hand or with a nifty kneading machine. It’s not difficult to do, but you must give the dough enough time to rise before you braid it.
To braid the Hefezopf, begin with 3 strands of dough that are placed next to each other, horizontally, but perpendicular. Then, take the top strand and move it to the right side of the bottom strand. Then, take the left strand and place it on the surface above the right strand. Continue this pattern, alternating the strands over and under, until you’ve reached the end of the strands.
Brush the top of the Hefezopf with egg wash–1 egg whisked with 1 tablespoon of water–to give it a glossy appearance and to protect it from drying out too much during baking. You can sprinkle a little turbinado sugar on the top, too.
Bake the Hefezopf at 375deg for about 30 minutes until it is golden brown and the internal temperature registers 195deg to 200deg. Once cooled, slice and serve with butter or other toppings.