Easter Bunny Baking

Mama Schnucki’s Osterhase {Easter Bunny} Recipe!

Easter in Germany is the time for coloured eggs, chocolate bunnies, bonfires and spring cleaning.
When you look through the windows of a typical German household these days in Easter you can’t help but notice how almost every room is decorated with clay bunnies, crocuses, yellow daffodils and branches hung with painted eggs.

Although mainly a Christian holiday commemorating the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus, Easter also marks the beginning of spring. The Germans, of course, have a whole range of customs and traditions to celebrate the change of seasons in proper fashion.

A time for eggs and bunnies 
Eggs and bunnies are two of the oldest symbols of Easter in Germany and every spring shops boom with eggs and bunnies made of chocolate, cardboard or flowers in different sizes and wrappings. The tradition of using eggs and bunnies for Easter originates from pagan worshipping where they were symbols of fertility and new birth and traditionally used for celebrations of the coming of the spring.

Another tradition that not only the Germans do is to paint eggs (hard boiled or blown out). A fond memory from my childhood is blowing out the inside of the eggs with Mama Schnucki and painting them in multiple colours and patterns or colour them completely in a single colour. The eggs are then put in a basket for the Osterhase {Easter Bunny} to hide around the house on the night leading up to Easter Sunday. On the morning of Easter Sunday, the children go hunting for the eggs and often find that the Osterhase {Easter Bunny} has also left chocolate eggs and Easter presents for them to find.

Mama Schnucki loves cooking and baking and traditionally around Easter in our house we would make the Hefezopf {Yeast Braid Loaf} (“Hefe” meaning yeast and “Zopf” meaning braid) much like the hot cross bun in Australia.

To make things fun, Mama Schnucki would keep some dough and make little Easter Bunnies with me.

Here is how we did it:

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Ingredients

  • 500g flour
  • 15 – 20g yeast
  • 80g unsalted butter (room temperature)
  • 1-2 eggs (room temperature)
  • 80g sugar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 250ml milk, lukewarm
  • lemon zest (from 1 lemon)
  • raisins
  • 1 egg yolk, lightly beaten (room temperature)

Method

Dissolve the yeast with 2-3 tablespoons lukewarm milk in a large mixing bowl and let stand for 5 minutes. Add 2-3 tablespoons of flour, beat at low speed with an electric mixer until smooth and soft. You have now created the yeast mixture for your Hefezopf {Yeast Braid Loaf}. This mixture is called a Dampfl. Place Dampfl to side in a warm location for 20-30 minutes to prove.

While the Dampfl is resting, beat butter with electric mixer until smooth, add the eggs, sugar, salt and lemon peel mix well.

Place remaining flour in a large mixing bowl, create a crater in the middle, place butter mixture and Dampf once it finished proving in the middle. Knead mixture, slowly keep adding milk again and again until the dough no longer sticks to your hands.

Once the dough no longer sticks to your hands place a tea towel over the bowl and set aside for 1 hour in a warm area covered with a wrung-out damp cloth to prevent it from drying out until the dough has doubled in size.

When the dough has risen to twice its size that it was originally, dust a work area with flour and take it out of the bowl.

Sprinkle some flour onto your workbench and roll out the dough to about 1cm thickness. Using a coffee cup or a sharp-edged glass cut out the round shapes.

You will need two different sized cups or glasses, one for the body one for the head.

Assemble the shapes together on a baking dish covered with baking paper, big round dough at the bottom, smaller overlapping and at the top, glazing each circle with an even layer of beaten egg yolk.

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Form some ears and paws and glaze evenly with beaten egg yolk. Using raisins as eyes.

Have fun with this, my favourite was always the bunny from behind with the bushy tail :)

Pre-heat oven to 200-220C.

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Bake until golden brown.

Happy Easter!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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