Hefezopf Recipe- An Easy and Delicious Braided German Sweet Bread
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.
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).
Looking for More German Baking Recipes?
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)Etekcity Digital Food Scale and Multifunction Kitchen Weight Scale with Removable Bowl, 11 lb 5kg
Step By Step- Hefezopf Recipe
Mix the ingredients until the dough comes together… knead for 10 – 15 minutes
Place the kneaded dough in a mixing bowl, cover and let rise in a draft-free spot for an hour
Carefully knead in the Raisins/Cranberries
Divide dough into 3 equal portions … roll those pieces into 16 inch strands … then braid
Place the Braided Loaf on a parchment covered sheet-pan. Cover and let rise for 20 minutes
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Brush the risen braid with a egg yolk/milk wash… then sprinkle with Hagel Zucker/Pearl Zucker or Sliced Almonds
Bake 25 minutes, then check if it’s getting too dark. Cover with foil if it is. Bake another 5 minutes (30 total)
Let the loaf finish cooling on a rack
Slice and serve