The challenge for the Daring Bakers this month was Easter Bread, which was perfect. Easter was on the 20th this month, so of course you’d make your Easter bread and serve it at your Easter meal and then post about it a week later. Unless of course you’re like me and procrastinate most of the challenges until just a few days before the posting date! So while I did make an Easter bread for Good Friday, this bread is just for The Daring Bakers and was made well after Easter.
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.
I chose to make a Dutch Easter bread called Paasbrood. I noticed many similarities in Easter breads as I searched for one to make. Many had dried fruits, like raisins, and many were braided either in long loaves or circles. This Dutch bread has raisins, and candied fruit peel (which I did not use) and is twisted into a long loaf. Oh, and it’s stuffed with almond paste! I couldn’t imagine anything better.
I found a recipe that looked reliable here, and I changed just a few things. I used pre-made almond paste instead of making my own. I also used a mixture of all-purpose flour and almond meal in the bread dough. I could not find candied fruit peel, and to be honest I didn’t try all that hard. I also added in some cinnamon with the cardamom. As a result this bread was very similar to the Hot Cross Buns I made last week, with the exception of the almond filling. The dough was pretty easy to deal with and had good texture and flavor after baking. The almond paste, which I was totally excited about, wound up being a little much for me. Maybe I should have used less of it. I divided a 7 ounce tube in half, rolled the halves into long ropes and put them inside each piece of dough.
When I ate a piece of the bread just after glazing I found myself breaking up the paste a little and kind of spreading it out onto the bread instead of taking a bite of mostly almond paste. And while the flavor of the bread was terrific, I wasn’t all that impressed with the almond paste filling. Maybe it just needed to be less concentrated. Or maybe I should have made my own so that the texture would’ve been different. But overall the bread was nice and toasting a slice and spreading a little butter on it is a really nice way to enjoy it.
Paasbrood (Dutch Easter Bread)
Adapted from Taste.com
Makes 1 loaf
- 1/2 cup whole milk, warmed to about 100°F
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2 teaspoons yeast
- 1 1/4 cup all purpose flour, plus extra flour for dough and counter
- 1/2 cup almond meal
- 1/2 teaspoon caradmom
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- zest of 1 lemon
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 2 tablespoons of butter, melted
- 1 cup raisins
- 1 tube (7 ounces) almond paste
- powdered sugar
- water or milk
- red food coloring (optional)
- Combine milk, yeast and sugar in a small bowl or measuring cup and allow to sit for 5 minutes, until foamy.
- Whisk flour, spices, salt and lemon zest in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Add in milk mixture, egg and butter and turn mixer on low to start mixing, then on medium for 4-5 minutes. Add in a few tablespoons of flour if dough is very sticky. Once dough reaches a consistency where it is becoming more elastic than sticky, cover bowl with a towel and allow to rise in a warm place for an hour.
- Divide almond paste into two equal sized pieces and roll each into a log about 12 inches long.
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- Flour a clean work surface and turn dough out. Knead in the raisins, then divide dough in half. Roll each half into a long rectangle a little longer than the almond paste log and a couple inches wide.
- Place the almond log in the center of the dough piece and enclose it by pinching the dough around it. Repeat with the other dough and almond paste.
- Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Place the dough pieces side by side on the sheet and pinch two end together, then twist the dough about 4 times, then pinch bottom ends together.
- Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce the heat to 350°F and bake for an additional 15-20 minutes, until bread is nicely browned. Cool completely on a wire rack before drizzling with the glaze.
- Make the glaze: Mix about 1 cup of powdered sugar with either water or milk (you could also use lemon juice, like I did, but I would not do it again) a teaspoon at a time until it reaches a good drizzling consistency. You can color with food coloring if you’d like at this point. Drizzle over the bread and allow to set before cutting and serving.