Sunday, April 27, 2014

April Daring Bakers' Challenge - Easter Breads

The April Daring Baker’s Challenge was hosted by Wolf of Wolf’s Den . She challenged us to Spring into our kitchens and make Easter breads reflecting cultures around the world.

This month was full of Easter themed breads for us between Sourdough Surprise's hot cross buns and the Daring Bakers' Challenge. Pretty funny considering that not only have I never made any sort of Easter bread before, I'd never even eaten one!

But after how delicious the hot cross buns were, I was extra excited to try my hand at another.

I briefly considered making another batch or variation of hot cross buns, but decided to try something different. Wolf provided a few sample recipes, but said that we could choose any Easter bread we wanted, from any world culture.  After a bit of reading, though, I decided to go with the first recipe that Wolf demonstrated for us - for Osterbrot, a German Easter bread.

But I did change it a little.  The Osterbrot is an enriched bread (with butter and egg in the dough) that is filled with nuts and dried fruits.  Of course I skip the nuts so that little man can enjoy the bread, and the hot cross buns had contained dried cranberries... so, to be a little different here, I got a little creative.

I started following the recipe as given, first making a sponge...

(my sponge turned out a little looser and stickier than I'd expected, but I just went with it...) and letting it rise for a few hours.

The sponge is then mixed with most of the rest of the ingredients to create a dough.

I omitted the orange zest that was called for in the recips, to go with the flavor choice I'd made, and replaced it with a teaspoon of ground cinnamon.

And instead of the dried fruits?

I chose chocolate chips!

The dough came together pretty easily, but I was grateful for my KitchenAid mixer to handle the kneading. Oh, and as a side note - I made this bread dairy free, replacing the milk in the sponge with coconut milk, and the butter in the dough with coconut oil.

The finished dough is left to rest for a while, then is shaped into a ball and allowed to rest again.

Just before baking, I brushed the dough with a bit of coconut oil...

...sprinkled it with a bit of cinnamon sugar...

...and slashed the top with a sharp knife.

And then it bakes. And smells amazing. And comes out looking delectable.

This made the perfect after-school snack, too. It has a nice, crisp crust and a lovely crumb and tastes so decadently delicious that everyone wanted seconds. And thirds.

I have to say... I think I might be addicted to Easter breads. I'm definitely going to be trying lots of different varieties, and going to be enjoying them year round!

Wolf, thank you so much for this awesome challenge!

To see the full challenge as presented by Wolf, check it out here.

To check out the amazing, impressive, varied and delicious Easter breads baked up this month, check them out here.

Cinnamon Chocoalte Chip Osterbrot
(adapted from

For the Sponge:
1 2/5 cup all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
2/3 cup cold milk (I used coconut milk)

For the Dough:
All of the sponge
1 2/5 cup all purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon active dry yeast
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 1/2 tablespoon butter (I used coconut oil, melted)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup chocolate chips

To prepare the sponge:
In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the ingredients for the sponge together and mix until it forms a ball. Knead for several minutes, being careful not to let the sponge temperature rise above about 72°F (22°C or room temperature). Let the sponge rest for 1 - 2 hours at room temperature.

To prepare the dough:
Add to the sponge, already in the bowl of your mixer, the flour, sugar, cinnamon, egg, yeast and salt and mix until combined. Knead for several minutes. Add the butter (melted coconut oil) and knead for several more minutes.
Add the chocolate chips and knead them in. You want to kneat the dough until it is smooth and satiny. You may need to adjust the liquid or flour to achieve this.
Form the dough into a loose mound and let rest on a lightly floured work surface (covered loosely with plastic wrap) for 30 minutes.
Form the dough into a boule (round loaf), pulling the surface down over the dough towards the bottom and pinching closed (this creates surface tension). Cover again with loose plastic wrap and let the loaf rise for another 45 minutes at room temperature on a parchment covered baking sheet.
When you have about 15 minutes left of this final rise, preheat oven to 390 degrees.
Just before baking, brush the bread with milk (coconyt milk) (or you can use beaten egg yolk) and sprinkle it with cinnamon sugar. Then take a sharp knife and slash an "X" (or a cross) into the top of the bread.
Bake for 30 to 45 minutes, or until internal temperature reaches 185°F. If the loaf is too dark on top, tent with foil for the last part and reduce the temperature to 350°F.
Allow bread to cool, then enjoy!


  1. Honestly I was a bit skeptical of the osterbrot when I first read the recipe - it looked too much like a regular boule for me to get excited about it - but your version sounds delicious! And after this month, I think I might be addicted to Easter breads too... ;)

  2. Mark loved my version of the Osterbrot, but I bet he'd go nuts over your version as well!

    Well done!


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