The Daring Bakers’ April 2014 Challenge: Easter Breads

Osterbrot (Easter Bread) |

Blog Checking Lines: 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.

I usually make Hot Cross Buns for Easter.  However, I already made them this month for the Sourdough Surprises challenge so I decided to try one of the provided recipes this month for Osterbrot, or German Easter Bread.  This is a simple loaf shaped into a boule and scored with a cross.  It can be enhanced with a glaze or by sprinkling pearl sugar over the top.  The loaf is made from cake flour and filled with currants and almonds and flavored with orange zest.  It’s a tasty and satisfying loaf and not very sweet either. It kind of reminds me of a large hot cross bun that is shaped like a soda bread.

The Daring Bakers' April 2014 Challenge: Easter Breads
Recipe type: Holiday
Cuisine: German
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12
A simple loaf filled with almonds and currants and flavored with orange zes
  • Additives:
  • 1 cup (240 ml) (6 oz) (170 gm) Zante currants
  • 1⁄4 cup (60 ml) (11⁄2 oz) (40 gm) chopped almonds
  • Milk- about ⅓ cup (80 ml)
  • Sponge:
  • 1-2/5 cup (335 ml) (6 oz) (170 gm) low-protein flour- aka cake flour
  • ¼ teaspoon instant yeast
  • ⅔ cup (160 ml) cold milk
  • Dough:
  • 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
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon (3 gm) salt
  • 3 1⁄2 tablespoons (55 ml) (2 oz) (50 gm) sweet (unsalted) butter-
  • 1 teaspoon (5 ml) (3 gm) lemon or orange zest
  • Glaze/Toppings(optional):
  • beaten egg or milk
  • apricot jam
  • almond slivers or pearl sugar
  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. Drain and set aside.
  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.
  3. In the same bowl as the sponge, add your flour, sugar, yeast, salt and egg. Mix until well combined, kneading for several minutes.
  4. Add the butter and zest(s) and mix/knead for several more minutes.
  5. Add the drained currants and almonds 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.
  6. Form the dough into a loosely shaped mound and let rest again in a warm place for roughly 30 minutes, covered.
  7. Form the dough into a boule (round loaf), pulling the surface down over the dough towards the bottom and pinching closed. Cover with loose plastic wrap and let the loaf rise 45 minutes at room temperature, or in a warm place if your house is chilly, on a floured board or the parchment papered baking sheet.
  8. Towards the end of the rise, 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.
  9. A few minutes before baking you can glaze and score your loaf. Brush milk or beaten egg yolk over the surface and sprinkle with sugar or almonds if you wish, then score a cross in the loaf with a razor blade.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. Cool completely, slice and serve!
  13. Store in an airtight container for up to a week- if it lasts that long.
If you don't have instant yeast, you can use active dry yeast but it needs to be proofed for about 10 minutes before using in a little warm water. Subtract this amount of liquid from the milk in the recipe.


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The Daring Bakers’ April 2014 Challenge: Easter Breads — 2 Comments

  1. Mmm, a large hot cross bun shaped like a soda bread – two things I like very much. I might have to have to make this next Easter! I love how the pearl sugar looks on top.

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