Braided Easter Bread

By Lea Schelling (Studio Beurre)
Braided Easter Bread

We asked our dear friend Lea of Studio Beurre to contribute an Easter recipe given her fantastic taste and skills in the kitchen. She came out with the following festive recipe for us. 

This is my go to Hefezopf recipe, it's moist (Tangzhong is the key), fluffy and has lots of depth in flavor because of the overnight fermentation. If you don't have a stand mixer you can work the dough with your hands. 

- 80g whole milk
- 40g wheat flour type 550
- 60g milk
- 3 eggs
- 70g sugar
- 325g wheat flour type 550
- 18g fresh yeast
- 9g salt
- 85g cold butter, cut in pieces
Top with:
- 5 (or however many) eggs, cleaned with a cloth
- 1 egg yolk
1. To make the Tangzhong, whisk together milk and flour in a small pot. Whisk constantly on medium heat until you have a consistency of potato puree. Transfer to the mixing bowl of your standmixer.
2. Add milk, eggs and sugar to the Tangzhong and whisk together in the mixer until combined.
3. Exchange the whisk attachment with the dough hook. Add flour and yeast, mix 2-4 minutes, then cover the bowl with a towel and set aside for 30 minutes.
4. Add salt, mix for 1 minute, then add butter. Mix until everything is incorporated for 12-15 minutes. Your dough should now look smooth and silky. If still lumpy in parts keep mixing for a few minutes.
5. Transfer the dough to a greased bowl, cover and let it sit at warm room temperature for 45 minutes.
6. Stretch and fold the dough (pull the dough on one side and fold it on top of the rest. Rotate bowl 45 degrees and repeat.) Cover and rest for 45 minutes.
7. Stretch and fold again and let it rest for 60 minutes. The dough should now have increased its volume visibly.
8. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and place in your fridge over night (12-18 hours).
9. Take out the dough, transfer onto lightly floured surface and divide it in 3 equal parts.
10. Gently roll all three parts into long logs of ca. 60cm. (They will rise a lot when baking, so don't worry if the log looks very thin.)
11. Stick the 3 logs together at one end and start braiding. Bring together both ends of the braid forming a circle. Transfer to a tray lined with baking paper.
12. Preheat the oven to 165 degrees with ventilation.
13. Mix the egg yolk with a splash of milk or water and gently brush your braid from all sides.
14. Snuggle in 5 eggs. Brush again with egg wash, sparing the eggs.
15. Let it rise for about 45 minutes until the bread increased in volume and looks pillowy.
16. Bake for 30-40 minutes - you can check with an instant thermometer if the center has reached 95-100 degrees. Rotate if necessary to ensure equal browning.
Let cool slightly before eating. 
Recipe and images by Lea Schelling of Studio Beurre.