Hefekranz (Yeast Wreath)

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Total Time
4hrs 15mins
3 hrs 30 mins
45 mins

This recipe is from the King Arthur Flour website, one of my all time favorites. I've changed it a bit to make it more authentically German. It is a traditional Christmas bread.

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  1. Break the eggs into a 2 cup measuring cup. Add cooled milk to equal 2 cups liquid. Beat in the sugar, yeast and 3 cups of the flour. Let rest for 20 minutes.
  2. Stir in the salt, butter, lemon zest, raisins and 2 cups flour. Stir until the dough begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl. Turn out of the bowl and knead,using the last cup of flour if needed, to make a smooth , elastic dough. (You can do the whole process in a stand mixer, too!) . Halfway through, let the dough rest while you lightly oil a bowl. Bread dough loves a short rest! Return, knead again until you have a smooth elastic dough. Place in the bowl let rise until doubled, punch down, let rise again. Dough is ready when you poke your finger in and indent remains.
  3. Turn it out onto a table divide into 3 equal pieces (I use a scale). Roll into ropes an inch in diameter, letting the dough relax if you need to, to relax the gluten. Braid and form a wreath, tucking the ends into each other as best you can. Place on a greased baking sheet cover with a damp cloth or lightly greased cling film let rise for 45 minutes. Glaze with the egg wash and sprinkle the almonds over top a generous amount. Put in a cold oven turn oven to 400 degrees for 15 minutes, turn oven down to 350 and bake for an additional 25-30 minutes. Remove, cool and serve or store until you are ready for this wonderful bread.