Video: How to make Osterkranz (Easter wreath)

Flavours of home is a series of recipes from around the world cooked in Otago. This week, Elisabeth Helm from Switzerland shows us how to make Osterkranz (Easter wreath) with decorated eggs.

Elisabeth Helm came to New Zealand 29 years ago with her New Zealand husband. But she still keeps some of her childhood traditions, and sometimes wears her national costume.

Growing up near Zurich in a Swiss-German district, she and her family used to decorate eggs for Easter and her father would hide them, along with chocolate eggs and Easter bunnies, in the garden for an Easter egg hunt.

The extended family would gather for brunch, and this Easter wreath, a rich, plaited bread adorned with decorated eggs, was always part of the meal along with ham and cheese.

Every district and every family decorated their eggs and celebrated in different ways. This recipe was traditional in her family, she said.

Thanks to Afife Harris and Robertson's free-range eggs.


Osterkranz (Easter wreath)

500g flour
3 tsp yeast (she uses Surebake)
pinch salt
3 Tbsp sugar
a few drops of rum essence
grated zest of an orange
about 150ml lukewarm milk
2 eggs
50g butter or margarine

1 egg yolk
1 Tbsp milk
4 Tbsp sesame seeds

To make the dough: Put flour, yeast, salt and sugar in a bowl and mix. Add a few drops of rum essence, the orange zest and lukewarm milk - heat in a microwave for 20-30 seconds until it feels just warm to your little finger. Add the eggs and butter cut into cubes. Mix with a dough hook or by hand.

When the dough comes together, turn it on to a floured bench and knead by pushing and rolling and slapping the dough on the bench. It should become smooth and slightly stretchy with little bubbles.

When kneaded, form into a ball and put back in the bowl, covered with a damp cloth. Leave in a warm place such as the hot water cupboard, a sunny window, or near, but not on, a heater for about 45 minutes to an hour, until risen.

Shaping the dough:  When the dough has been left to rise for 45 minutes to a hour or so in a warm place, tip out of the bowl on to a floured bench. Knead briefly and cut into three equal pieces. Shape each into a long sausage. The three should be more or less equal in length and thickness.

Join the three lengths at one end, then take an outside piece and lay it across the centre one. Take the other outside piece and lay it across the new centre one to form a plait. Continue, making sure the plait is tight, without gaps, until you reach the end. Bring the two ends together to form a circle or wreath, and join with a little water to stick the dough together.

Place on baking paper on an oven tray. Cover with a damp cloth and leave to rise for another 25 minutes or so. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 190degC.

To glaze and bake: When the wreath has rested, mix the egg yolk with milk with a fork. Brush over the wreath, taking care not to leave gaps. Any parts left unglazed will remain pale.

Sprinkle over sesame seeds and put in the oven for about 25 minutes until golden brown and cooked.

Serve with the decorated eggs surrounding or on top of the wreath.



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