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Daring Bakers Challenge- Easter Breads

The April Daring Baker’s Challenge was hosted by Wolf of Wolf’s Den . She challenged us to Spring into our kitchens and make Easter breads reflecting cultures around the world.

Yes, that would be me. Fun, eh? }:P

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Osterbrot – German Easter Bread

The first recipe is German Easter Bread, aka Osterbrot. My husband’s paternal line is almost pure German- in fact his dad is second generation American. So in honor of his family, I decided to do a German version. The recipe I found is via the Internet, because none of the German cookbooks I own actually had an Easter bread recipe in them. I followed the recipe nearly exactly, with one small variation, which has been included below.

Original recipe-

Prep time- 4 hours
Cook time- 45 minutes, give or take, ovens will vary
Rise time- THREE rises total- 3 hours, 15 minutes
Total time- roughly 8 hours
Yields 12 servings

1 cup (240 ml) (6 oz) (170 gm) Zante currants*-
¼ cup (60 ml) (1½ oz) (40 gm) chopped almonds
Milk- about 1/3 cup (80 ml), though the recipe does not specify

1-2/5 cup (335 ml) (6 oz) (170 gm) low-protein flour- aka cake flour**
1/4 teaspoon instant yeast
2/3 cup (160 ml) cold milk

1-2/5 cups (335 ml) (6 oz) (170 gm) low-protein flour/cake flour**
2 to 3 tablespoons (1 oz or so) (35 grams or so) sugar
1 small (roughly 33 gm) egg
1 teaspoon (5 ml) (3 gm) instant yeast
½ teaspoon (3 gm) salt
3 ½ tablespoons (55 ml) (2 oz) (50 gm) sweet (unsalted) butter- ***
1 teaspoon (5 ml) (3 gm) lemon or orange zest****


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1) Sort through the Zante currants, small raisins or dried currants, picking out bad ones. Soak in warm water for 15-20 minutes. Soak the chopped almonds in milk for the same amount of time. Set aside for now.

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2) In a bowl, add together the ingredients for the sponge. With a mixer or by hand, mix until thoroughly combined and a smooth ball of dough forms. Be careful not to let the sponge get warmer than 72°F (22°C or ambient room temp). Set aside, covered, and let rise for 1-2 hours.

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3) In the same bowl as the sponge, add your flour, sugar, yeast, salt and egg. Mix until well combined, kneading for several minutes.

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4) Add the butter and zest(s) and mix/knead for several more minutes.

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5) Drain the currants and almonds thoroughly. Add to the dough and mix well. Add enough flour so the dough isn’t completely sticky and forms a ball. Turn out on to lightly floured surface and knead until satiny smooth and barely sticky.

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6) Form the dough into a loosely shaped mound and let rest again for roughly 30 minutes, covered. Preheat oven to moderately hot 390°F/200°C/gas mark 6 with a baking stone, if you have one. If you do not have one, line a cookie/baking sheet with parchment paper and use that instead. Place a pan of hot water on the rack below where you will be baking. When the dough is rested, slash with a sharp knife the top with an ‘X’. Transfer to baking surface.

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7) Brush the top of the dough with either milk, or a beaten egg if you choose. Sprinkle with either sugar, white nonpareils, or chopped almonds as you choose. Alternatively, leave unglazed and when baked, brush with apricot jam, then sprinkle with almond slivers.

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8) Bake in a preheated moderately hot oven 390°F/200°C/gas mark 6 with steam 30-45 minutes, depending upon your oven, or until internal temperature reach 185°F/85°C. If the ‘points’ on the top start to get too dark, tent with tinfoil and continue to bake, reducing the oven to moderate 350°F/180°C/gas mark 4.

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9) Cool completely, slice and serve!

Store in an airtight container for up to a week- if it lasts that long. In my house, it didn’t.

• *I could not find Zante currants locally, for whatever reason. Instead I used dried Michigan currants. Zante currants are essentially small raisins, so if you choose, you may substitute raisins instead.
• **If you can’t get cake flour, which is what I used, in a 1 cup measure, add 2 tablespoons of cornstarch, then top with all-purpose (plain) flour. Sift together and repeat for as much flour as you need. If you can’t get cornstarch OR cake flour, use regular all-purpose (plain) flour.
• *** I used unsalted sweet cream butter, chopped into chunks.
• **** I used a combination of both dried lemon peel and dried orange peel instead. Use fresh if you choose, or dried as I did.

* * * * * * *

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Mama Pia’s Easter Bread (Anello dDi Pasqua Maria Pia) :

From- The Tucci Cookbook, by Stanley Tucci, page 93 ( )

My husband got this cookbook for me last year for my birthday. It makes for an excellent read for the stories included with the recipes. This one in particular, was supposed to have a more pastry-like texture, but with the weather the way it was, my version came out more cake-like. So yours may vary in texture, perhaps, closer to the pastry-like that is described in the book.

This recipe involves whole raw eggs. These eggs can be dyed before baking if you choose, or you can leave them as is, like I did.

Serves 10.

9 large eggs, room temp
½ cup (120 ml) (3½ oz) (100 gm) sugar
1 teaspoon (5 ml) vanilla extract
4 cups (1 litre) (17½ oz) (500 gm) all-purpose (plain) flour
½ teaspoon (3 gm) salt
4 teaspoons (20 ml) (2/3 oz) (20 gm) baking powder
12 tablespoons (1½ sticks) (¾ cup) (180 ml) (6 oz) (170 gm) butter, softened

1½ cups (360 ml) (6-2/3 oz) (190 gm) powdered/confectioners'/icing sugar
2 tablespoons (30 ml) milk
½ teaspoon lemon extract

1) Preheat oven to moderate 350°F/180°C/gas mark 4.

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2) In a bowl, whisk together 6 eggs, sugar and vanilla extract, until frothy and slightly pale yellow. Set aside.

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3) In a mixing bowl, combine 3 cups of flour, salt, and baking powder. Chop the butter into cubes/chunks and add gradually, mixing until a coarse sand-like texture forms.

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4) Slowly add the whisked egg mixture to the flour/butter mixture and mix, adding about ½ cup of reserved flour until a sticky dough forms.

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5) Turn out onto lightly floured surface. The outside of the dough should be smooth, but the inside should be sticky. Form the dough into a roughly 15-inches (38 cm) log that is approximately 2-inches (5 cm) in diameter. Cut 1 to 1½ inches (2½ to 4 cm) off one end and set aside. Place the log on a baking stone or baking sheet lined with parchment paper and form it into a circle, pinching the ends together enough to stay.

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6) At the join, place one of the remaining 3 raw eggs. Place the other two at equal distances, as pictured. Don’t worry, the eggs will slowly cook as the bread bakes, becoming, essentially, hard boiled eggs that can be eaten after wards.

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7) Take the reserved dough and cut it into 6 more or less equal pieces. Roll each piece into a thin rope and place in an ‘X’ pattern over each of the eggs. You may have to wet the ends to get them to stay in place.

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8) Bake at moderate 350°F/180°C/gas mark 4 for 30 minutes or until top of bread is light golden brown and skewer inserted comes out clean. Cool completely on a wire rack. When cooled, in a bowl, whisk together the confectioners'/powdered/icing sugar, milk and lemon extract until smooth. Use the whisk to drizzle over the entire bread. Allow the glazing to set, about 5 minutes, slice and serve.

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Be sure to All the AMAZING breads made by my fellow Daring Bakers! They really made this Challenge their own and went all out on it.

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Apr. 27th, 2014 05:52 pm (UTC)
Thanks for a great challenge Wolf! I should have read the two recipes you provided more closely - the Italian one, with it's pastry-like texture, sounds right up my alley :)
Apr. 27th, 2014 11:00 pm (UTC)


Great challenge! I love anything to do with bread. Both of your recipes look so fantastic
Apr. 29th, 2014 07:25 pm (UTC)
I loved this challenge Wolf! Thanks for hosting :)

Agos @ Sabor Pastel
Apr. 29th, 2014 07:31 pm (UTC)
Thank you for the super fun challenge!
May. 4th, 2014 11:02 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the beautiful open-end challenge. I really enjoyed collecting and drooling over the recipes you and other DB members baked. Living in Germany, I only really make crumpets and Flammkuchen on a regular basis, so am grateful for the kick to my inneren Schweinehund (inside lazy pig).
Thanks, Candide (Flammkuchenfiend)
May. 10th, 2014 01:30 pm (UTC)

Easter Breads Daring Bakers

Hi Wolf, just wanted to let you know again how much I loved the Challenge of the Easter Breads in April. I have just started to make another bread this weekend and had to think of you ;-) It was an absolutely great challenge, thank you very much!!! How to see many more recipes from you :-) Love from Spain!! Lara