Striezel (Plaited Bun) - Austria


Striezel (plaited bun) is a typical and popular Austrian breakfast bread. It is very similar to the Jewish Challah, but includes milk.
Austria has always been the European melting pot, due to its position in central Europe. Until World War I Austria used to be a large empire and the impacts from Hungary, Italy, Bohemia and Turkey but also strong Jewish influences are the things that make Austria unique.
Breakfast is an important meal for us Austrians. Breads (Striezel, rolls or dark bread) are eaten either with butter and jam or with ham and cheese and very often a soft boiled egg.
Coffee is extremely popular and especially Vienna is famous for its coffeehouses, where friends meet, people read their newspaper or business meetings are held. 

Ingredients:
  • 21 oz. (600g) flour
  • 1 oz. (30g) yeast or 1 pkg. dry yeast
  • 2,5 oz. (70g) sugar
  • 1/2 c lukewarm milk
  • 3,5 oz. (100g) soft butter
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 egg
  • lemon zest of 1 lemon
  • a hand full raisins
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 1 egg white, beaten
  • sliced almonds or coarse sugar
Put the flour into a bowl and make a hole in the middle. Mix the milk together with the yeast and pour into that hole. Sprinkle with some flour and let it rest for about 10 minutes until the mixture starts to show bubbles.
Mix everything together with the remaining ingredients (but the last two) and knead thoroughly until the dough is smooth and comes off the side of the bowl. Let the dough rest at a warm spot for about 1 ½ hours or until double (an ideal spot for me is always the oven at the lowest temperature possible).
Divide the dough into three equal parts and roll them to equally long ropes. Form a braid. As you can see in the picture, I am not very good at that part, but I must say I care more for the taste than the look.
Brush the surface with the beaten egg white and sprinkle with either almonds or coarse sugar. (You could also use poppy or sesame seeds)
Put the bread on a greased baking sheet and let it rise once more.
Preheat the oven to 390°F (180°C)
Bake for about an hour until golden brown.
Best served with fresh butter and apricot jam or honey!

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