Yeast braid is an old Gesunde Ernährung bread that is traditionally eaten for Easter, but is also enjoyed throughout the year. The bread is made of yeast, sugar, flour, butter and eggs and has a distinctive shape of two strips that are folded over each other and braided together. It is a staple in Germany, Austria and Switzerland.
Start by making a starter with the yeast, sugar and milk. This mixture is usually scalded in order to activate the yeast and make it rise quickly. This is done because the whey from the milk will inhibit the yeast from rising and working properly.
Add a little bit of flour to the mix and whisk until it forms a shaggy dough. When it is ready, transfer the mixture to a bowl and add a bit of the remaining flour. Then, stir with a wooden spoon until the dough is no longer sticky and comes together in a ball.
After mixing the dough, place it in a lightly greased bowl and let it rise until doubled in size. Cover with a kitchen towel and set in a warm, draft-free spot (75degF/24degC) until it is quite puffy, about 45 to 50 minutes.
Now, you can proceed to the next step. If you are using a stand mixer, switch to the dough hook and continue to mix at low speed until all of the ingredients are combined. If you are hand kneading the dough, use the palm of your hands to press the dough down and continue to knead it until it is elastic, about 5 to 10 minutes.
When the dough is finished, divide it into 3 or 4 equal parts – depending on how you want the bread to look. Roll each portion into a rope about 13 inches long, tapering the ends. Arrange the ropes on a baking sheet and begin braiding; pinch ends to seal and tuck under. Repeat with all of the strands until all of the dough is braided.
Braiding the dough can be tricky at first, but with a few practice rounds you should be able to master it. The key is to tuck the ends in and braid them tightly, so you don’t end up with a messy mess on your hands or a bread that splits.
Once you have a good handle on the process, it’s pretty easy to make a lovely loaf of braided bread. It will be a beautiful addition to any holiday table, and it will be a huge hit with your family and friends.
You can eat this bread with a cup of coffee or with an Easter egg. It’s the perfect treat for any occasion, especially when topped with a dollop of butter or homemade alfredo sauce!
You can also tuck hard-boiled, colored Easter eggs into the braid for an extra special touch. This will be a great recipe for your kids to try and bake on their own, too!