Der Osterzopf: A Traditional German Braided Sweet Bread…

Every year my mom loves to make a traditional Osterzopf. The sweet braided bread also known as Hefezopf or yeast braid is made with a yeast dough and includes creamy marzipan and toasted almonds with a sweet jam glaze. It is one of my favorite Easter treats (besides the big chocolate Osterhase or Easter bunny).

This Osterzopf recipe you can serve up with some butter or delicious jam for a wonderful breakfast or snack. We like to eat it plain since it already has a jam glaze on top.

Osterzopf Recipe with marzipan filling

We cut the braided dough into three pieces so we can share it with our neighbors. But you don’t have to. You can also braid it into a wreath shape and fill it with colored eggs… or even bake the hard boiled colored eggs into the braid.

Yields: 1 loaf Cooking Time: 2 hours

Ingredients:

  • A packet of active dry yeast (3/4 ounces or 21 grams)
  • 1 cup or 250 ml lukewarm milk
  • 2/3 cup or 75 grams of sugar
  • 1 egg and 2 egg yolks (size medium)
  • 2 cups or 500 grams flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon or 1 1/2 Teelöffel sea salt
  • 2/3 cup or 75 grams soft butter cut into chunks
  • 2 egg whites (size medium)
  • 2 tablespoons or 2 Esslöffel lemon juice
  • 1/2 or 100 grams toasted sliced almonds
  • 3/4 cup or 150 grams of apricot jam (we used currant jam
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 6 drops of almond extract
  • 14 ounces or 400 grams of almond paste
  • Instructions:
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Place yeast into a bowl and add a little bit of milk and the sugar beating it until smooth.
  • Add egg, egg yolks, the rest of the milk, sea salt and flour and beat in a kitchen mixer on low speed for about 3 minutes. Beat on high speed for an additional 5 minutes.
  • Add butter chunks one at a time while continuing to beat the mixture on high speed. Continue to beat the mixture on high speed for an additional 5 minutes until the dough is of soft, smooth consistency. Cover with a cloth and place in a warm place (we turned the oven on for a few minutes and turned it off before placing the dough inside).
  • Let rise for 1 hour.
  • While the dough is rising, place sliced almonds into a pan and toast them without oil until golden brown. Let them cool.
  • Grate almond paste and place into a bowl with egg whites and lemon juice and almond extract drops. Using the mixer beat into a smooth creamy texture.
  • After dough has doubled in size, roll it out on a lightly floured surface. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough out into a 17 x 17 inch square.
  • Using a spatula, spread the marzipan mixture over the rolled out dough. Sprinkle the toasted almonds on top.
  • After rolling up the dough, using a sharp knife, cut the dough in half and twist both dough pieces with one another.
  • Transfer the dough braid onto a parchment covered cookie sheet.
  • Fold the ends under before placing it in the middle slot of the oven.
  • Bake for 35 minutes.
  • Heat up jam in a small bowl with 3 tablespoons water until liquid. Using a brush, spread mixture over the still hot dough braid. Let dry for 10 minutes.
  • In another bowl mix 2 to 3 tablespoons of water with the powdered sugar until smooth. Spread it over the dry jam-covered dough braid with a brush. Let the Osterzopf dry and cool down.
  • Enjoy!
  • These make great gifts for neighbors!

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