Osterbrot – German Easter Bread

This recipe is inspired by this post from ABC Food. It creates a delicious sweet braided bread traditionally baked at Easter in Germany.

To create this bread you need a sourdough starter. If you don’t have a starter you can create one using this page. In this recipe we call the sourdough starter a ‘mother starter’ as the starter remains in the dough and is not retrieved before the final leavening takes place. So make sure that you don’t use all of your starter but increase it to the amount required in the recipe. How to increase?

This recipe creates 3 loaves.

Unit size 1162g (41oz)
Number of loaves 3
Total flour 1246g (43.95oz)


Our recipes assume a consistent dough temperature of 20°C (68°F), for the home baker this is a challenge but remember that you can use warm water to increase the dough temperature if the weather is colder or add ice to the water to cool it.

Dough – Ingredients

Ingredients Measurements
Bakers flour 1243g (43.845oz)
Mother Starter 202g (7.125oz)
Milk – full cream 630g (22.223oz)
Caster sugar 155g (5.467oz)
Butter – salted and at room temperature 249g (8.783oz)
Eggs 309g (10.9oz) (works out to be about 2 per loaf)
Sea salt 16g (0.564oz)
*2804g (98.908oz)
Fermentation Time 15 hours
Required Dough Temperature 22°C (72°F)

Place all of the ingredients in a bowl and knead until a rough dough is formed. Tip on to the bench and do some kneading. You do not need to knead until you can form a translucent window but 5-10 mins of kneading will make a nice smooth dough.

Place the dough in the bowl and cover with a plastic wrap. At this point preform the Fruit Preparation stage.

Fruit Preparation

Ingredients Measurements
Sultanas 466g (16.438oz)
Nutmeg 3g (0.106oz)
Cinnamon 19g (0.67oz)

Place sultanas in a bowl and cover with boiling water, leave to stand for 30 mins. Drain and then add the spices.

When the fruit is ready to be incorporated in the dough, tip the dough on to the bench and stretch out the dough and add in the fruit. Wrap up the dough and place in bowl. Mix to roughly incorporate the fruit in the bowl.

Leave in the bowl for about 4 hours and tip onto bench and stretch and fold every hour. This will help develop the dough and also help fully incorporate the fruit into the dough.

Place the bowl covered with plastic wrap in the fridge overnight.

In the morning divide the dough into 3 and then each part into 3 and roll into a sausage.

Braid the 3 sausages and prepare the nuts.

Nut Preparation

Ingredients Measurements
Pistachio Kernels or Flaked Almonds 100g (3.527oz)
Milk 50g (1.764oz)

Chop the nuts up roughly if using pistachios. Braid the loaves and then paint with milk and press the nuts on to the top and side of the dough.

Place the braided loaves onto a baking tray lined with baking paper.

Bake for 45 mins at 220°C (428°F).

When you pull the loaves out of the oven then perform the Final Glazing stage.

Final Glazing

Ingredients Measurements
Brown Sugar 80g (2.822oz)
Boiled water 80g (2.822oz)

Mix together water and sugar and when the loaves are removed from the oven then quickly paint with glaze.

Dough to Oven Time 14 hours 30 mins
Bulk Fermentation Time 4 hours
Retardation Time 10 hours
Final Proof Time 30 mins
Baking Time Preheat oven and bake at 220°C (428°F) for 45 mins.

If you have our app then the alarms are worked out for you, here is an example of the schedule.

Time Action
Saturday 9am Mix dough
Saturday 10am Prepare fruit and spices
Saturday 10.40am Incorporate fruit and spices into dough
Saturday 11.40am Turn dough
Saturday 12.40pm Turn dough
Saturday 1.40pm Turn dough
Saturday 2.40pm Turn dough and cover bowl with plastic wrap and place in fridge.
Sunday 9am Preheat oven and prepare nuts.
Sunday 9.30am Take dough out of the fridge and split into 3. Makes plaits and paint with milk and sprinkle chopped nuts on top.
Sunday 10am Place on baking tray lined with baking paper.
Saturday 10am Bake loaves for 45 mins at 220°C (428°F).
Saturday 10.45am Glaze bread as soon as removed from the oven.

Check out our Bread Boss app on iTunes and the Google Play Store for more recipes and the ability to create your own alarms and recipes:

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