This braided sweet yeast bread with raisins is by far on of my favorite breakfasts (except for this super-easy sunflower bread). It’s super moist, it’s fluffy and it has a subtle sweet taste (note that it only contains 3 ½ tablespoons sugar). Told you: The perfect breakfast! I also love it as a snack in the afternoon, together with a cup of coffee.
I usually eat it plain when it is freshly baked – and after a couple of days, when every baked good tends to get dry, it tastes still great, spread with butter and good fruit jam.
In Austria, you can get this kind of sweet bread or Challah in every supermarket and my family is kind of obsessed with it. There is not a single day, I would say, that this Rosinenzopf (Rosinen = raisins, Zopf = braid) can’t be found in my parents pantry, ready to be served for last minute guests or serving as accompaniment for the next afternoon coffee.
This braided sweet bread is also a traditional treat, people would eat during the Easter holidays – no Easter Sunday breakfast without Rosinenzopf.
The dough is easy to make and below you’ll find a video tuturial showing how to braid with 4 strands. But if you prefer, you can simply braid with 3 strands.
I made the video for the Easter crescent recipe, to show how to braid with 4 strnads. So simple omit the crescent shaping part at the end.
Update 03/24/2016 – Brioche-Striezel: I’ve made a similar sweet yeasted bread (pic above), using a loaf pan. The recipe makes either three small loafs or 1 big (9×5-inch). You can find the recipe for this Brioche-Striezel here.
Easy to make traditional Austrian braided raisin bread (Rosinenzopf). It’s super moist, it’s fluffy and it has a subtle sweet taste (note that it only contains 3 ½ tablespoons sugar).
Recipe: Ursula | lilvienna.com
- 450 g/16 oz (or about 3 ½ cups) white bread flour
- 7 tablespoons (105 ml) water
- ½ cup (120 ml) milk
- 2 ¼ teaspoons (7 g) active dry yeast
- 5 ½ tablespoons (75 g) unsalted butter, softened
- 3 ½ tablespoons (50 g) sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 large egg + 1 egg yolk, at room temperature
- 2 ¾ tablespoons (40 g) plain yogurt or greek yogurt
- 1 ¼ teaspoons fine salt
- 1 cup (150 g) raisins, soaked in water for 10 minutes, if on the dry side
- 1 egg yolk
- 2 teaspoons milk
- First, make the tangzhong. In a small saucepan, whisk together 4 tablespoons of water and 2 tablespoons of the bread flour until no lumps remain. Gradually add the remaining 3 tablespoons of water while whisking.
- Heat the mixture over low heat, whisking constantly. The mixture should be hot, but not boiling. After just a few minutes, it should thicken to a gel-like consistency. As soon as it comes to a pudding-like consistency, remove it from the heat and cover it. Set aside and let cool to room temperature.
- Sprinkle the yeast over the milk and set it aside for 10 minutes for the yeast to activate and dissolve.
- Cream butter and sugar together with a mixer, until light in color, about 3 minutes.
- Add vanilla extract, egg and egg yolk, mix until combined.
- Add yeast-milk, yogurt, salt and cooled tangzhong and mix until combined. Add a good cup of flour, mix until well combined.
- Drain the soaked raisins and squeeze out excess water with your hands. Add them to the mixing bowl and mix until they are spread evenly. Time to change your tools: Get rid of the mixer an use a sturdy (wooden) cooking spoon to gradually stir in the rest of the flour (or use a dough hook instead of beaters).
- When all ingredients come together knead the dough by hand, for about 5 minutes. Keep your dough in the mixing bowl for this step. The dough will be sticky, but refrain from adding more flour. It helps, if you oil your clean hands before you knead a sticky dough. If the dough is still too tacky to knead, cover the bowl and set it aside for 5-10 minutes. After resting, the dough is way better to knead by hand.
- Let the dough rise, covered at warm room temperature until doubled in volume (about 1-1.5 hours) or put it in the fridge to rise overnight (see note).
- Transfer the dough onto a lightly floured surface and divide it into 3 or 4 equal parts – depending on how you want your braided bread to look like (I did 4 strands).
- Form the dough into 4 balls. With your hands, roll each ball into a strand about 13 inches long. Place the 4 in a row, parallel to one another. Pinch the tops of the strands together and braid them (see video tutorial).
- Tuck the ends of the loaf underneath and place the loaf on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Let the braided loaf rise another hour at room temperature until puffy.
- Mix the egg yolk with 2 teaspoons milk. Brush the loaf with eggwash, if possible two times.
- Bake in the center rack of the 350 °F preheated oven for about 30 minutes, or until golden-brown. Remove from the oven and let cool.
Tangzhong is an Asian technique in which a portion of the flour in the recipe is heated with water to make a roux (gel-like paste), before being cooled and added to the rest of the ingredients. Through the heating process, the flour absorbs the water in a better way, resulting in a softer, moister and fluffier dough.
Long, cold rise: Instead of letting the dough rise at warm room temperature for about an hour, you can put it in the fridge overnight (tightly covered). Before you braid the dough, let it get back to room temperature (about ¾-1 hour).
Did you follow this recipe? You could share your result here. All you need to do is take a picture with your smartphone and send it to [email protected] conaing1: "Thank you very much! very light and very Good :)" Judy tried the recipe: "I'm too uncoordinated to do four braids, so just went with three. I did the overnight rise in the refrigerator. I also put a bit of cardamom in the dough, as it's a favorite. Since everyone's ovens are different, I'd recommend that you provide a temperature to bake it to. I baked it to 190 on an instant read thermometer. I've made this twice and it's lovely." Ayesha made the raisin bread: "Hello Ursula, First time I’ve made a plaited loaf and your recipe was perfect so many thanks."
Hi, your recipe seems really good, easy to master . But i heard of an another methode about the order to put in the differient ingredients such as put the yeast the night before the cooking. I had never try it, how do you think it?
what I sometimes do is to let the dough rise overnight in the fridge. The cool temperature slows down the rising-process and sometimes it’s just easier to divide the cooking into 2 days. You could also expose the yeast to a salt solution before baking (see article ) but so far I have never tried it. I guess that will be my next project ;-)
Salut Ursula, I am a Viennese working in Manila and Boston, and a friend pointed me to your website as I was constantly complaining about the missing Kaffeehauskultur in Boston (I set up my office in Media Lab in the spirit of the Jelinek :-). Contact me, if you feel like it and we’ll cook some mean Kaiserschmarren or muerbe Apfeltorte.
Hahaha ;-) Will do!
1/2 a cup is only 64 grams. 150 grams is about 1.25 cups. Which do you mean? Thanks!
Thanks so much for pointing this out! I’ve actually noticed this mistake when I updated this recipe for my cooking class and changed it on the handout for my students, but totally forgot to change it here too. It’s 150g (=1 cup). I’ll update the recipe. Thank you so much for letting me know, I really appreciate it.
Is it possible to put all ingredients in a bread machine?
Hm, good question. Honestly, I don’t know. I don’t owe a bread machine, so I really don’t have a clue… Sorry that I can’t help you with your question.
Yum. We eat this every Saturday in Switzerland. But we don’t get raisins or almonds. We call that Christmas Zopf (Zopf means “braid” literally; you know but I guess some of your readers don’t.)
This recipe is very good thanks. Most Zopf recipes are confusing so I’ve never made it because the bakery makes it so well. I’ll try it!
Tip: Zopf is very good toasted in the Toaster if you know how to slice it thin enough.
Thanks so much for leaving a comment. I love this kind of bread. This recipe is my go-to because it always works out really, really well. I’ve never heard of calling it Christmas Zopf though. In Austria, people usually buy it in bakeries too, around All-Saint day (November 1) and Easter, people make it themselves around here too. Hope you’ll try the recipe some time, Ursula
Hello My Mother who was German made a similar loaf that had a lemon icing on top. Sadly mum is no longer with us and I’m searching for a recipe for it German yeast bread with icing on top….any pointers greatly received. Regards Sara West Sussex
Hmmm. Maybe it was something like a “Nussstrudel mit Zuckerglasur” which is similar to a Babka filled with walnuts and lemon icing? https://www.google.com/search?q=nussstrudel+mit+zuckerglasur&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwiGx-yU09TsAhX5DWMBHSHmANwQ_AUoAXoECAsQAw&biw=1800&bih=946 Other than this, I can’t think of a yeast dough topped with lemon icing. They are also sometimes filled with ground poppy seeds (“Mohnstrudel mit Zuckerglasur”). Or was it not filled but rather plain or with raisins? I hope that you’ll find the recipe you are looking for. Ursula
This was fantastic!
I appreciate how you included a short video on how to do the braid as well – it was definitely helpful.
The whole family and my neighbour loved it :)
Thank you Ursula for this recipe!
Can’t wait to make it again.
So happy to hear that the braided yeast bread was a hit with your family and neighbour :) And great that the video was of help for you! Thanks so much for leaving a comment, Nasya! Best, Ursula
Hi, I made this bread today and followed the recipe as printed but have a couple questions.
Was I correct to add the yeast to cool/room temp. milk? I’ve always added yeast to warm liquid.
How sticky is too sticky? I oiled my hands per the recommendation but the kneading was a sticky mess (even after waiting 15 min and coming back). The dough didn’t really rise or double in size (maybe due to the cold milk) after the hour and a half but maybe that is the nature of “sticky dough”. It was still fairly sticky coming out of my mixing bowl (after “rising”) but smoothed out a bit when I rolled the snakes on my floured board and did the braiding. I didn’t really notice any rising during the hour wait after braiding but put it in the oven with fingers crossed.
I guess it came out OK but was curious if I did something wrong regarding the yeast-milk mixture. This was my first attempt at yeast dough other than basic white and rye bread which both use warm water to activate the yeast.
Thanks so much for your comment.
Regarding the milk: I have made yeasted bread and buns several times using cold milk right out of the fridge and so far it has worked every time. The dough did double in size (after about 1.5 hours) and also puffed up noticeably during the second rise at room temperature. But usually, I do use lukewarm milk since the dough rises faster. So you are absolutely right to raise that question! Thanks for letting me know, I even wrote down warm milk in my notebook :) I’ll alter the recipe accordingly.
About the sticky dough: This is really hard to say without seeing the dough, but I’m going to try. So usually, I stir all ingredients in a mixing bowl until they form a shaggy dough. Then I knead it right in the bowl for about 5-10 mins. If it is so sticky that I can barely handle it, I’ll give it a 10 min rest and try again. Usually, after a few minutes it doesn’t stick to my hands and the bowl any more. The dough even ‘cleans’ the bowl :) Sometimes I just knead it in the bowl, sometimes I continue kneading the dough on a lightly floured counter. But if the dough is so sticky that it is barely to handle, you should definitely add more flour since it will be hard to braid later as well. The dough should feel slightly moist and not dry or firm. Rather soft, but a nice and smooth ball. If you make the dough in a stand mixer, and it doesn’t pull away from the sides (it usually sticks to the bottom tough), simply add a little flour until it pulls away from the sides.
Thanks so much for trying the recipe and sending me the picture! Your bread looks super nice!! Ursula