This year I somehow had the idea in my mind of Easter brunch with friends, dyed eggs and brioche. I don’t remember Easter ever being such a big deal at home, compared to christmas for example. But maybe that’s what I like about it. Low-key, low pressure. Just the company and the food I enjoy. We ended up going out for brunch, but I still wanted to have an element of Easter tradition, so we made brioche in the afternoon. It’s really quite simple, though as with any yeast dough you need to plan in some time.
Brioche is somewhat typical for an Austrian Easter celebration, but it’s the kind of thing you can make any time of year, serve it the afternoon tea or coffee or as a treat for Sunday breakfast.
The recipe is very much based on the this Austrian one here.
2 bags dry yeast
1 cup (almond) milk
1,5 sticks soft butter
1/4 cup sugar
2-3 tsp. vanilla sugar
zest of 1 lemon
2 1/2 – 3 cups flour (traditionally fine pastry flour, if you use a coarser one, it will give the brioche a slightly more bread-y texture)
1 egg for eggwash
coarse sugar to sprinkle
Stir the yeast and sugars into the lukewarm milk. Cream together eggs and butter. Add the lemon zest. Add the milk. Start incorporating the flour until the dough comes together nicely. It should be only a little sticky. Sprinkle some flour in a bowl, cover it up and put it in a warm place until it has doubled in size (~1 hour). Cut off little pieces and form braids, buns, flowers, easter bunnies, whatever you like. Brush with egg wash and sprinkle with coarse sugar. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) and let the pieces of brioche rest for another 10-20 min. Bake for 10-15 minutes. (If you make one big braid, bake for 30 minutes.)
The brioche is best enjoyed fresh, with some butter and jam. I usually put the rest in the freezer, they defrost very well.