This is like one of the most delicious nom noms ever. The great panda, that is my girlfriend, specialises in german baked goods and so I have stolen the recipe from her.
1 cube of fresh yeast (or 3g of dried yeast)
1 tablespoon of sugar
5 tablespoons of milk, warmed
a little salt and flour
500g plain flour
80g butter, ideally unsalted
a handful of sultanas
the rind of half a lemon
an egg yolk
First, mix what is called a ‘Vorteig’ in German (pre-dough) by mixing the 5 tablespoons of warm milk (but not too hot so as not to kill the yeast bacteria), the broken up cube of fresh yeast, 1 tablespoon of sugar and a little bit of flour in a jug. Let that rest for approximately 10 minutes. Sieve the rest of the flour into a large bowl and mix in the sugar, butter, milk, eg and lemon rind plus the Vorteig – it’s time to roll up your sleeves and get dirty!
Knead the mix thoroughly till it’s one big smooth lump of dough and doesn’t stick to the bowl anymore. Cover with a towel and place at a warm but not too hot spot and let it rise for about 40 minutes or till it has doubled its mass.
Then, mix in the sultanas with the dough so that they are evenly distributed.
Divide the dough into three equally sized pieces and form them into strings and start braiding (‘Zopf’ in German means braid)! Spread the egg yolk over the Hefezopf and sprinkle some brown sugar on top – the egg yolk will make it all shiny while the brown sugar adds some extra nom to it.
Put in the oven at 180 degrees for about 25 minutes!
Best served hot with some butter and jam for breakfast! Ta da, delicious German Hefezopf nom!