Hefezopf - plaited sweet yeast bread
Added by maddimouse | Sun 31 Jan 2010 @ 14:10
We love to eat this sweet bread for breakfast! It tastes lovely with just butter on it, but we also love it with butter and honey or butter and homemade jam.
Itīs an old family recipy but the method is a different one than is used in my family, Iīve read about it on a cooking forum (funnily the recipy is almost the same) and was curious. It turned out to be the easiest way Iīve ever made this bread so Iīm gonna stick to this.
500 g white flour
250 ml milk
60 g caster sugar
20 g fresh yeast
80 g soft butter
1 tsp salt
1 heaped tsp lemon zest, optionally some drops of bitteralmond oil
1 egg, to coat
1 pinch of sugar
1 pinch of salt
about 100 g white flour
Pour the flour in a big bowl, add the salt.
Gently heat up the milk until itīs slightly more than handwarm, add the yeast and sugar and mix it with a spoon until itīs all melted. Add the lemon zest (bitteralmond oil) and egg and whisk it under.
Pour the liquid into the bowl with flour, add the butter and immediately knead a rough dough in the bowl, then work it through on the worktop. It takes about 10 minutes by hand, less when you use a kitchen machine. It should be smooth and elastic. Depending on the humidity in the air you might have to add some flour (thatīs what the extra 100 g are for), the dough shouldnīt stick to your hands or the working surface too much.
Put the dough in a bowl and place a damp kitchen towel over the bowl so the dough wonīt dry out. Let it rise until itīs doubled itīs size (I do let it rest for one hour).
Pour some flour on your workplate and quickly knead the dough through. If necessary, you can add some more flour, if it seems to be too dry just wet your hands and knead the dough, repeat wetting your hands until itīs got the right texture.
Now part the dough into two strings (thinner towards one end) and twist them.
Take the twisted string and slightly fold it in the middle, then tightly twist the two ends once more, folding the thinner ends slightly underneath the loaf.
Heat up your oven to 200°C. Do not use hot air if possible, it will dry out the loaf, top and low heating is perfect for this.
Gently place the loaf on a baking tray laid out with baking paper.
Whisk the egg with sugar and salt and coat the whole loaf. Sprinkle the loaf with as much coarse sugar and planed almonds if you like, leave it near the oven to rise a bit for 30 minutes.
Bake it for 20 minutes, reduce the heat to 180°C and bake it for another 20 minutes. Itīs done when you take it up, turn it and knock on the bottom and it sounds hollow. Depending on your oven you might have to add some additional baking time.
Set aside to cool off, best on a grate so the air can circulate all around the loaf.
marinade some raisins in rum for 30 minutes, sieve them and add them to the dough when kneading it the first time. A little trick: place the raisins into a sieve and sprinkle with flour until the single pieces are coated, then add them to the dough. This way they wonīt stick together.
Add some chopped and/or ground hazelnuts or almonds to the dough.
Add some canded orange and lemon peel to the dough, combined with chopped almonds and bitteralmond oil itīs a very popular alternative during advent-time. Use the same trick with flour as described above.
Please keep in mind that using any of the alternatives might change the amount of flour that you need for the dough!