Prep 3 hrs 30 mins
Cook 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.
- 2 eggs
- 2 cups milk, scalded, then cooled (should amount to a total of two cups when cooled)
- 1⁄4 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
- 5 -6 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1⁄2 cup butter, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 lemon, zest of
- 1⁄2-1 cup golden raisin
- 1 egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon water
- sliced almonds
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
This is a winner! I suspect it is one of those special recipes which would be hard to fail with. I mixed and kneaded my dough in my bread maker since I always do that since I need to limit the mess caused by cooking in my livingroom plus because kneading bread is difficult with arthritic hands. My dough was a little too soft (my fault for not adding more flour as instructed), so I couldn't braid my dough. Instead I simply put the dough into a well greased bundt pan and followed the baking instructions as per the recipe. After the loaf cooled I drizzled a thin glaze on the top and then added the almonds to the glaze. This is an easy way to make the pretty wreath. I took this bread to an Easter Brunch at my church. It was delicious. Great bread! Made for PAC Spring 2012.