One of the blogs I follow is called “Diary of a Mad Hausfrau.” Written by another German lady living in the United States, as I would assume, this blog shows how to make a German traditional Easter treat: Sweet bread Easter wreaths.
The recipe for these pastries comes straight from website of the German Missions in the United States. I remember a wreath like this being on our table every single Easter until I moved to the States. Of course they didn’t have them here. So when I just saw the post about how to make this, I got so excited! I know what will be on OUR Easter table this year!
The original blog post by the mad Hausfrau is right here: Diary of a Mad Hausfrau: An Osterkranz (Easter Bread) for 12 Loaves.
And here is the recipe:
4 cups flour
2 packets of active dry yeast
1/2 cup of butter
1/2 cup of sugar plus 1 tsp.
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup buttermilk
2 egg yolks
2 beaten egg whites
additional dyed eggs for decoration, if desired
sanding sugar or sliced almonds for decoration, if desired
In a large bowl, mix 1 cup of the flour with the sugar, and sprinkle the salt along the edge of the bowl. Make an indention in the middle and add the yeast, a teaspoon of sugar and ¼ cup of lukewarm buttermilk; mix well and let sit until yeast is active.
Combine the remaining ¾ cup of buttermilk and butter in a small saucepan and heat gently until the milk is lukewarm and the butter is softened but not melted.
Mix the yeast mixture into the flour. Gradually add the milk and butter mixture to the flour mixture, stirring constantly. Add the egg yolks and ½ cup of the flour and beat well. Continue adding the flour ½ cup at a time, mixing well after each addition. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, approximately 8 minutes. (These steps may also be done with a mixer fitted with a dough hook.) If the dough seems too thin to braid, knead a bit more flour into it. Cover the dough with a kitchen towel and let it rise in a warm place until doubled in volume.
Punch the dough to deflate it and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead once again. Divide the dough into 3 parts and roll into long ropes (about 20 inches long). Lay the dough ropes on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and braid the ropes together. The braid may be left as is or formed into a wreath shape. Press the ends to help them stick together. For an extra special wreath, a smaller wreath may be made and placed on top of the larger wreath. Alternatively, smaller wreaths, called bird’s nests, can also be formed.
Cover loosely with a damp towel and let the dough rise until doubled in volume. Brush the braid or wreath with the egg whites and sprinkle with sanding sugar or sliced almonds for decoration, if desired.
Bake in a preheated 350° oven until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack and wrap well in aluminum foil until ready to be eaten. Dyed eggs may be placed in the middle of the wreath.
Happy baking, everyone! Let me know how they turn out!