Striezel is an Austrian braided yeast bread that is traditionally eaten on holidays and special occasions, like Easter and All Saints’ Day (November 1st). Baking a homemade Striezel is a bit labor-intensive but it is such a treat for you and the whole family.
I have no self-control whatsoever around a freshly-baked, homemade Striezel. The scent of Striezel baking is what makes Easter for me so by the time it comes out of the oven there’s no stopping this carb lover from cutting into the warm bread, so fluffy and soft, spreading it with butter, and gobbling away.
If you’ve never worked with yeast doughs before, have no fear! The dough hook of your stand mixer does most of the work. There is, however, something that can go wrong with this recipe: that your dough doesn’t rise. There are two things you can do to prevent that.
- Make sure your yeast is fresh. Either buy fresh yeast (in cake form) or use dry yeast and check the expiration date. You want to be able to activate that yeast. Besides, the fresher the yeast, the better the dough rises.
- Avoid killing the yeast. Don’t let your yeast get exposed to too much heat before baking. Lukewarm liquids are what you want. Yeast also doesn’t like salt so we’ll hide the salt in the flour.
Let’s get started! Most of the kneading is done by the mixer.The dough is ready to be kneaded by hand – it’s part of the fun!Add the rum-soaked raisins.Divide the dough into four pieces.Roll the pieces into long strands.Lay the strands to form a cross on a baking tray lined with parchment paper, pressing the ends down firmly.For the braiding, there are only two steps to remember. 1. With your right hand, bring the upper strand down while the left hand brings the lower strand up.2. Bring the two crossway strands down and lay them so that the right one is over the left.Now you just repeat the two steps until all of the strands are braided in.Tuck the ends of the strands into the bread.Brush with beaten egg & milk.Sprinkle with sliced almonds and coarse sugar.Striezel!
Striezel - Braided Austrian Sweet Bread Tutorial
- 1/3 of a 2 oz. cake of fresh yeast (30 g) or 1 packet of dry yeast
- 1 cup (250 ml) lukewarm milk
- 1/3 cup (75 g) melted butter
- 2 eggs room temperature
- 3 ½ cups (500 g) all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup (25 g) granulated sugar
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup (75 g) raisins
- 2 tablespoons rum
For the Top
- 1 egg, beaten with 2 tablespoons milk
- Sliced almonds
- Coarse sugar
Dissolve yeast in a small bowl with one third of the milk and a pinch of sugar. The yeast mixture should be foamy after 10 minutes. (If there are no bubbles, the yeast is no good and should be discarded. Start from the beginning with fresher yeast.)
Combine the remaining milk with the melted butter, add the eggs and whisk together. In a medium-sized bowl, combine flour, sugar and salt.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook on low speed, combine the milk mixture with the yeast mixture and half of the flour mixture. Once the flour is incorporated, add the rest of the flour mixture one tablespoon at a time, continually kneading on low speed, until all of the flour is incorporated. Turn dough onto work surface and knead by hand for another 10 minutes. If the dough sticks to hands and work surface too much, knead in 1-2 handfuls of flour.
Place dough into a large greased bowl, cover with a clean dish towel and let rise in a warm place for 30-60 minutes or until doubled in size. Punch the dough down, knead it and let it rise again.
In the meantime, soak raisins in rum. After the second rise, knead the raisins into the dough. Divide the dough into four equal pieces. Roll pieces into four equally long strands (16-17 inches, 40-45 cm long). Braid the bread following the tutorial directions above, brush with egg-milk mixture and sprinkle with sliced almonds and coarse sugar. Preheat oven to 350°F (170°C) and allow the bread to rise on the counter while the oven is heating. Bake for 30 minutes.