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Hefezopf Recipe- An Easy and Delicious Braided German Sweet Bread

Hefezopf Recipe- An Easy and Delicious Braided German Sweet Bread

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My mother loves any Sweet Bread made with yeast dough. Especially at Easter. This year (after watching far too many episodes of the British Baking Challenge) I decided that I would try something fancy. A Hefezopf.  This Hefezopf Recipe is an adaptation of Luisa Weiss’s “Rosinenzopf ” recipe from her fantastic cookbook Classic German Baking. Don’t be intimidated by the Yeast, or kneading. The dough comes together beautifully in the mixer… and as for the kneading? I usually have around 10 minutes of aggression in me to take out on some dough.

hefezopf recipe

When I pulled out the ingredients,  I was a bit irked to discover that we are out of raisins. I don’t mind, I’m not a big fan of the things, but Tech Guy loves them (he must have snacked them all away). Rather than leave the fruit out, I chopped up some dried cranberries. Maybe they aren’t “traditional” but they are quite yummy. In the back of my pantry I found the box of Hagel Zucker that I brought home from my last trip to Germany. (See…. filling up my suitcase at the grocery store in Germany does have its advantages… you never know when you will NEED it, but it’s nice to have when you do. ) This means I was able to sprinkle the crust with crunchy bits of sugar to add just an extra touch of sweetness. YUM. Don’t have Hagel Zucker (Pearl Sugar)? you can order them here–> Hagel Zucker, or use sliced almonds.

At Easter, you can use this same basic recipe and braid into a wreath shape to fill with colored Eggs… or even bake Hard Cooked Colored Eggs into the braids. (That will be something for me to try next.)



But any day you make the Hefezopf recipe, you can serve it up with some good German butter and delicious jam for a wonderful breakfast treat or mid-day snack. Or just eat it plain. (I find that even though I stored the bread in a plastic zipper bag, it did dry out a bit overnight… so the extra butter schmeared on it helps… especially for palates who are used to softer, sweeter baked goods).

hefezopf recipe

Hefezopf Recipe

Looking for More German Baking Recipes?

Classic German Baking: The Very Best Recipes for Traditional Favorites, from Pfeffernüsse to StreuselkuchenClassic German Baking: The Very Best Recipes for Traditional Favorites, from Pfeffernüsse to StreuselkuchenGerman Baking TodayGerman Baking Today




 

Use a SCALE to Measure Ingredients

One Kitchen tool I’ve come to depend on, especially when baking German Recipes, is my kitchen scale. Honestly, they aren’t expensive, and the results really are better. For example, this recipe uses 4 cups of flour… by weight this should be 500 grams. 500 grams NEVER changes, 4 cups is different every time you measure it out… depending on how the flour settles, and how moist the air is.
Get a scale.

Maier Premium Heavy Duty Quad Transducer Digital Weight Touch Sensitive Kitchen/Lab Scale With Multi-Function Back-Lit LCD Display, Stainless Steel, 11 Pound Capacity (Batteries Included)Maier Premium Heavy Duty Quad Transducer Digital Weight Touch Sensitive Kitchen/Lab Scale With Multi-Function Back-Lit LCD Display, Stainless Steel, 11 Pound Capacity (Batteries Included)Etekcity Digital Food Scale and Multifunction Kitchen Weight Scale with Removable Bowl, 11 lb 5kgEtekcity Digital Food Scale and Multifunction Kitchen Weight Scale with Removable Bowl, 11 lb 5kg

Step By Step- Hefezopf Recipe

Hefezopf Recipe

Mix the ingredients until the dough comes together… knead for 10 – 15 minutes

hefezopf recipe

Place the kneaded dough in a mixing bowl, cover and let rise in a draft-free spot for an hour

hefezopf recipe

Carefully knead in the Raisins/Cranberries

hefezopf recipe

Divide dough into 3 equal portions … roll those pieces into 16 inch strands … then braid

hefezopf recipe

Place the Braided Loaf on a parchment covered sheet-pan. Cover and let rise for 20 minutes

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
hefezopf recipe

Brush the risen braid with a egg yolk/milk wash… then sprinkle with Hagel Zucker/Pearl Zucker or Sliced Almonds

hefezopf recipe

Bake 25 minutes, then check if it’s getting too dark. Cover with foil if it is. Bake another 5 minutes (30 total)

hefezopf recipe

Let the loaf finish cooling on a rack

hefezopf recipe

Slice and serve

hefezopf recipe

hefezopf recipe



Comment(9)

  1. Hey

    I do not believe you should mix the yeast with the flour. The yeast should pre.rise with the milk and a little bit of sugar. Otherwise the dough does not grow and become fluffy.

  2. To the comment above: that is true for fresh yeast… but recipe uses dry yeast. I use the following trick to get milk butter and egg to the right temperature: melt the butter carefully, then take it of the flame and mix it with milk and egg directly from the fridge… perfect temperature…

  3. This is the best bread I’ve made this summer, out of 10+ so far. Luscious crumb, lightly sweet…maybe it’s the Lesaffre yeast and I used milk powder with dry portion instead. Exactly like store bought, I’m in heaven!

  4. I had to laugh when you mentioned you substituted cranberries for raisins. I did the same for the same reason. Unfortunately i forgot to turn off the AC and had to put the Zopf in the preheated oven to rise. However although it did rise nicely it fell after i turned the heat up to 200. My recipe said 200 for 10 minutes then down to 185celsius.
    I live in Florida and constantly have problems because of the AC.
    Next time I’ll use your recipe and i also didn’t chop the cranberries and by the time i realized that this was necessary it was too late.

    1. Raisins are the worst.

      I do wonder how the recipes work across the US… today it’s snowing in some states, some live at high elevation, we are in the low 80s at my house (no AC)
      I guess we all adjust

  5. Well I have tried this recipe with my kitchen aid and the dough hook. Bread came out dense and did not rise well. So I decided to experiment and try my bread maker and use the dough setting. Placed the wet ingredients first than the dry and butter. The knead came out perfectly and the rise was great. Utilized higher fat milk and butter. The bread once baked came out amazing. I have been trying for years to get close to my mother and fathers hefezopf. This recipe just about does it.

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