German Easter challah bread with cranberries and marzipan

Osterzopf-1My favorite excuse to ignore my university duties is „if I edit the pictures and write the blogpost today, I´ll have more time to completely focus on my essay tomorrow”. Yeaaaah…like that´s going to work. Anyone who knows me knows that tomorrow I´ll find another excuse to procrastinate. Like cleaning the bathroom, watering my herbs, cleaning out my closet or taking out the trash. All very important things that definitely need to be done, because then I can concentrate better. So this blogpost is brought to you by my politics essay which as of now is still unfinished. I´ll get to it tomorrow, I´ll promise.

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This recipe is a very traditional one. German baking knows tons of recipes that are made with yeast and this yeast braid is traditionally served for Easter. Don´t ask me why, I don´t make up the rules. I like it though.

I got this recipe out of one of those ancient cookbooks that probably everybody has in their home. The heading reads: “Braids need to be done neatly, even though they are out of fashion and one might be out of practice”. Well, little do the authors of that book know that Pinterest is full of braided hair tutorials from which I´ve tried a ton already and hilariously failed most of them. So you can´t say that I am out of practice, although I don’t understand how those girls do it without having three extra hands.

Nevertheless, I did manage to braid my hair the only way I know how (Dutch braid) and got baking. The advantage of preparing a yeast dough is that all you have to do is make the batter and then it can be left alone for a while which makes for some pretty relaxed baking. The disadvantage is that yeast can be a little bitch sometimes. However, if everything goes as planned, this recipe is a pretty easy one. Dough is rolled out, cut in strips and topped with filling. Then it only needs to be braided and tadaa, you got yourself a traditional German Easter braid.Osterzopf-2

For the yeast dough:

500 g all-purpose flour

42 g fresh or 7 g dry yeast

50 g sugar

A pinch of salt

2 eggs + 1 egg yolk

150 ml milk

50 g butter

For the filling:

200 g marzipan

50 g chopped almonds

50 g cranberries

3 tbsp. jam (strawberry or any other flavor)

1) In a bowl, mix flour, sugar and salt. Heat milk until warm and add fresh yeast or, if using dry yeast, add yeast to the flour mixture. Add warm milk, melted butter and 2 eggs and knead until you have a firm dough. Let the dough rise for at least 2 hours.

2) Roll out the dough on a floured surface. Cut into three stripes. Add the filling on each of the stripes, then carefully fold over so the filling is completely covered with dough. Braid the three pieces and let rise for another 90 minutes. Mix egg yolk with a tbsp. milk and brush the braid with it.

3). Bake the braid in the preheated oven at 180°C for about 35 minutes. Cover with tin foil after about 20 minutes if it starts getting too dark.Take the challah bread out of the oven and let cool. Decorate with coarse sugar, almonds, pistachios, etc.Osterzopf-3

 

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