Hefezopf – A Yeasty Weekend Treat
When I was cycling to town a few weeks ago, and was passing a range of houses, I was hit by a lovely smell of a freshly baked something. Somewhere in one of these houses, someone had just opened their oven, thus releasing a wonderful, slightly sweet scent that went straight up my sensitive nose and triggered a sudden craving for a German treat named ‘Hefezopf’. You can compare it to Easter hot cross buns, but bigger and in the shape of a plait. Just like hot cross buns, Hefezopf is often baked especially around Easter, but also as a cakey treat for a lazy weekend breakfast or Sunday afternoon (3pm: cake and coffee time!).
You can eat it plain or dip it in your coffee. In my family, we have it with butter. Or honey. Or jam. And sometimes even with Nutella. Considering the ingredients and its sweetness, there would of course not be a need for any of these toppings. But then you could also argue that there is no need for icing on a lemon drizzle cake, right!?
So, whatever you decide to have it with, you should definitely give it a go. To make the baking experience more German: plan ahead! Mix the dough Friday or Saturday evening, so it can rise during the night and be freshly baked the next morning. And again, it is no problem to freeze part of the Hefezopf in order to prevent overeating or binning it when it gets dry after a few days. Simply put it in a freezer bag and defrost it whenever you crave for more J
- 500g flour
- 1 sachet dry yeast
- 90g unsalted butter
- 90g sugar
- 125ml milk
- pinch of salt
- 2 eggs
- (raisins + rum)
1. Warm up half of the milk in the microwave and stir in the yeast.
2. If you like raisins, I’d suggest soaking them in rum some hours in advance. The longer they soak the more they taste of rum!
3. Mix the soft butter, flour, eggs, sugar and salt in another bowl. If you decided on adding rum raisins, drain them and dry them with a paper towel. Mix with the other ingredients.
4. Gradually add the yeast-milk mixture and start kneading. Then add rest of milk and knead until a smooth dough is formed.
5. Flour the bowl, put the dough back in and cover it with a wet tea towel. Store in a warm place and let it rise for at least 2 hours (or overnight).
6. After the dough has doubled in size, form buns or make a plait. Let it rest for another 10 minutes before brushing your Hefezopf with egg yolk.
7. Bake in a preheated oven at 180°C for 20-30 min until it’s golden brown. Let it cool down before enjoying your first bite (although it is nice when it is still a bit warm and the toppings soak into it…).