Coffee and tea taste really good with a slice of fresh Striezel (Austrian name)/ Hefezopf (German name).
110 g strong white flour
200 g milk, lukewarm
10 g dried yeast
100 g caster sugar
8 g vanilla sugar
80 g butter at room temperature, cut into 1cm cubes
20 g oil
100 g milk, lukewarm
7 g salt
490 g strong white flour
1 tablespoon chopped almonds
zest of ½ lemon and ½ orange
Optional: 50 g raisins soaked in 20 g rum overnight
A little milk and 1 egg to brush
3 tablespoons flaked almonds
Start by combining the sponge ingredients in a bowl, cover with cling film and leave to rest in a warm place for 30 minutes.
Combine the sugar, vanilla sugar, butter and oil and use a hand mixer to combine until creamy. Add in all other dough ingredients including the sponge and combine with your hands until you have formed a rough dough. Knead for 5 minutes. Cover and leave to rest for approx. 1 hour.
Alternatively, leave to slowly rise overnight in the fridge which will improve the flavour. Deflate the dough and turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface.
Divide the dough into two equal parts and set one part aside while you braid your first Striezel. Divide this part of the dough into four equal parts and roll out into rope shapes (start in the centre and move your hands out in a rocking motion to lengthen the pieces of dough).
Place the four strands vertically in front of you and pinch the ends together at one end. Starting on your left hand side number the positions of the dough strands as 1, 2, 3, 4.
Please note that as you go through the braiding process, it is not important which strand was originally number 1, etc. The dough strands will not keep their number so as far as braiding goes, number 1 is always the left-most strand of dough. Cross strand 1 over strand 3. Cross strand 2 over strand 3. Cross strand 4 over strand 2. Repeat until you get to the end of the strands, then pinch all loose ends together.
Try to keep the braiding as regular as possible to avoid ending up with a pear-shaped loaf that is fat on one end and narrow on the other. Repeat the braiding process with the second part of the dough.
Place the braided loaves on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Cover and rest in a warm place for approx. 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 160°C (gas mark 3). Mix some milk with the egg. Brush the dough with the mixture and sprinkle the flaked almonds on top.
Bake for approximately 25 – 30 minutes. Cool on a wire rack
Credit: The Bread She Bakes