Saturday, November 1, 2014

All Saints` Braid - Allerheiligenstriezel


Today, on November 1st, Catholics and some Protestants in Germany honor the lives of every saint on All Saints' Day („Allerheiligen“). On this public holiday, they also remember deceased relatives and visit their graves. It is also traditional to bake a Braided Yeast Bread („Allerheiligenstriezel“) on this day.   Its name means "All Saints` Braid" in English and it basically consists of flour, eggs, yeast, shortening or butter, some milk, salt, pearl sugar or almonds. Some regional variations also include raisins, rum or lemon juice.
Am heutigen 1. November ist Allerheiligen, ein christliches Fest, zu dem aller Heiligen gedacht wird, auch solcher, die nicht heiliggesprochen wurden − sowie der vielen Heiligen, um deren Heiligkeit niemand weiß als Gott. Allerheiligen ist hier ein gesetzlicher Feiertag an dem es auch Brauch ist einem „Allerheiligenstriezel“, ein in Zopfform geflochtenes Hefegebäck, zu backen. Wie andere Striezel und Zöpfe auch besteht er aus Mehl, Eiern, Backhefe, Fett und etwas Milch und Salz sowie Hagelzucker oder Mandeln zum Bestreuen und wird je nach örtlichem Brauch auch mit Rosinen, Rum oder Zitronensaft gebacken.




In Austria and Bavaria it is given to godchildren by their godmothers and godfathers on All Saint's Day. This tradition has its origin in the ancient funeral cults when women cut their hair (which often was braided) as a sign of mourning.  In the 19th century, it was also common to give this bread to the less fortunte. And especially for children that lived in poor rural areas, a gift like this was like a rather welcome reprieve from all the starving throughout the year. Nowadays, giving an All Saints` Braid to your godchildren has lost some of its „special“ appeal but there is no reason not to bake such a lovely, traditional bread like this today and share it with your godchildren, and/or family and friends.
Von Österreich bis Bayern schenken ihn die Tauf- bzw. Firmpaten zu Allerheiligen ihren Patenkindern. Der Brauch hat seine Wurzeln in antiken Trauerkulten, als man sich die geflochtenen Haare abschnitt, um seine Trauer auszudrücken. Im 19. Jahrhundert wurden auch oft die Armen mit dem Allerheiligenstriezel beschenkt. Für die Paten- und Firmkinder, die in unbegüterten Verhältnissen auf dem Land aufwuchsen, bedeutete das Geschenk einen „Ausgleich zu den üblichen Tagen des Darbens und Sparens“. Heutzutage hat zwar der Brauch ein wenig an Bedeutung verloren, aber es gibt eigentlich keinen Grund warum man solch ein leckeres, traditionelles Backwerk wie diesen Striezel nicht mal backen sollte um ihn nicht nur mit den Patenkindern aber auch mit der ganzen Familie oder den Freunden zu teilen.




Also common (especially in Linz) was the superstition that the luck of the forthcoming year depended on how well the pastry turned out. If the yeast rose well and the bread was moist, plump and delicious, the year ahead would be a good one, if not, well, it was said that there was trouble ahead to say the least. Seems I am in luck for this year.
Insbesondere in Linz war das Gelingen des Backwerks mit jeder Menge Aberglauben verbunden. So bedeute es Glück und Erfolg für das bevorstehende Jahr wenn der Hefeteig gut aufging und das Backwerk saftig und lecker wurde. Ging der Teig allerdings nicht auf, so befürchtete man großes Unglück, um es milde auszudrücken. Da habe ich wohl ein gutes Jahr vor mir.




All Saints`Braid

Ingredients for the Braid
  • 500 grams strong flour
  • 250 ml lukewarm milk
  • 25 grams fresh yeast
  • 2 egg yolks (L), organic or free range
  • a pinch of fine sea salt
  • 100 grams unsalted butter
  • 75 grams superfine sugar
  • 2 tsps. pure vanilla sugar
  • grated zest of ½ an organic orange
  • grated zest of ½ an organic lemon

Decoration
  • 1 egg (L), organic or free range
  • a bit of milk
  • some pearl sugar
Allerheiligenstriezel

Zutaten für den Striezel
  • 500 Gramm Mehl (Type 405)
  • 250 ml Milch (lauwarm)
  • 25 Gramm frische Hefe
  • 2 Eigelb (L), Bio- oder Freilandhaltung
  • eine Prise feines Meersalz
  • 100 Gramm ungesalzene Butter (weich)
  • 75 Gramm feinster Zucker
  • 2 TL Bourbon-Vanillezucker
  • Abrieb von ½ Bio-Zitrone
  • Abrieb von ½ Bio-Orange

Dekoration
  • 1Ei (L), Bio- oder Freilandhaltung
  • etwas Milch
  • etwas Hagelzucker



Preparation
  1. For the yeast dough, disslove the fresh yeast in some of the warm milk together with a tbsp of the sugar. Add the flour to a large bowl, using your fingers, make a well in the middle of the flour, pour the yeast-milk mixture into the well, cover with a bit of the flour, cover.
  2. Let the mixture rest in a warm place, coverer, fo about 15 minutes.
  3. Then add the remaining ingredients to the flour and knead until the dough comes together.
  4. Cover the bowl again and let rise again for about 30 minutes.
  5. Knead the dough, divide into equal parts and roll them into equally long strips. Braid the strips and place them on a parchment lined baking sheet.
  6. Cover and let rise again for 20 minutes.
  7. Preheat your oven to 200  degrees Celsius (180 convection).
  8. Using a pastry brush, brush the risen braid with the egg wash. Sprinkle with pearl sugar. Bake in the pre-heated oven until golden brown.
Zubereitung
  1. Für den Allerheiligenstriezel die Hefe in etwas lauwarmer Milch auflösen und mit dem Mehl und einem EL Zucker ansetzen. Dafür das Mehl in eine Schüssel geben, in der Mitte eine Mulde machen, die Hefemilch hineingießen, etwas Mehl verrühren und dann mit ein wenig Mehl zudecken.
  2. An einem warmen Ort 15 Minuten gehen lassen, bis die Oberfläche rissig wird.
  3. Danach mit den restlichen Zutaten zu einem geschmeidigen Teig kneten.
  4. An einem warmen Ort zugedeckt noch einmal 30 Minuten gehen lassen.
  5. Erneut durchkneten, in Stränge teilen, zu kleineren oder größeren Striezeln formen und auf ein mit Backpapier ausgekleidetes Backblech legen und mit Frischhaltefolie abdecken.
  6. Nochmals 20 Minuten gehen lassen.
  7. Den Ofen auf 200 Grad  (180 Grad Umluft) vorheizen.
  8. Dann mit Milch bestreichen, mit Hagelzucker bestreuen und im vorgeheizten Backofen goldbraun backen.



This fine bread is sometimes spiked with plump raisins as well – on All Saints´ Day it is traditional to braid the yeast dough and bake this so-called All Saints` Braid, on the occasion of other Christian holidays, yeast breads are baked in different shapes such as a wreath (Christmas), or a basket (Easter), or as a fancy „knot“.
Dieses feine, häufig auch mit Rosinen verfeinerte süße Brot aus Hefeteig wird nur zu Allerheiligen in Form eines Allerheiligenstriezels gebacken, während des übrigen Jahres, zumeist an kirchlichen Festtagen, wird es in den unterschiedlichsten Formen zubereitet. So zum Beispiel als Kranz an Weihnachten oder als Korb an Ostern.


31 comments:

  1. What a beautiful bread! Happy All Saints Day!

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    1. Gaye, thank you very much - it is always fun to try out a recipe with lots of tradition!

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  2. When I saw the first picture I already knew that I would love this bread, then when I read your description it sealed the deal. It sounds just wonderful Andrea. What a lovely way to celebrate.

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    1. Chris, you might have noticed from my blog that I have a real soft spot for traditional breads and cakes - it is always such a lovely way to celebrate a special day (and learn a bit at the same time). Thank you for stopping by - have a lovely Sunday!

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  3. A beautiful job. Your bread looks wonderful. Thank you for the history of All Saints Day.

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    1. Geraldine, glad that you enjoy my little "history lesson" on this traditional sweet yeast bread!

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  4. Just beautiful! Braided breads are some of my favorite things to make and share during the holiday season.

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    1. Monet, braided breads are wonderful - there is nothing like working with sweet yeasted dough on a very early Saturday morning.

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  5. Lovely bread, I can see how moist and soft it is..with that wonderful jam spread, I am sure it is very delicious!

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    1. Jeannie, thank you kindly - nothing seems to beat a good sweet yeast bread on a Saturday morning - whith delicious apple butter and some fresh butter. Thank you for the kind comment!

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  6. So true about loss of specialness of sweets. My mother didn't care for baking (other than her wonderful bread that she made whenever it snowed), so we grew up having deserts only on Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, Independence Day, and birthdays. Just a few a year made sweets very special. Now when we have a choice of many sweets at every petrol station, and people stock them in their desk drawers at the office, and corn syrup has overtaken the planet, too few sweets feel special anymore. A cultural loss... but a wonderful Allerheiligenstriezel. Thanks for sharing it.

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    1. Dear Mark, what a lovely comment - thank you! There is definitely way too much sweet things out there. It is always a nice feeling to be baking for special occasions be it birthdays, Christmas, Saint Nicholas Day etc. and I always do but what is even nicer (for me) is to prepare recipes with a long tradition and a good story or two that revolve around them.Same with this Braid - we talked about All Saints´ Day a while back and I was asked about this recipe - I promised to make it and post the recipe and that´s how this post came about. It was simple and delicious and the kids loved it too. Thank you so much for stopping by - always so very nice ot hear from you!
      Have a wonderful Sunday evening,
      Andrea

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  7. While Mark (of Markipedia fame) thinks we have too many desserts, I have to agree that there are too many processed ones everywhere. I had a new rule - I will eat only homemade desserts - if it was purchased in a grocery, I will pass it by. (If it came from a high-quality bakery, I might partake!) Your Allerheiligenstriezel is beautiful and, although I missed All Saints Day, I might just have to make it anyway! Have a wonderful Sunday evening! Liebe Grüße, David

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    1. Dear David, you two make me smile... and I have to agree with you entirely - I do not eat desserts from those bakeries at grocery stores ever, I just do not like them. And high-end bakeries are very hard to find and if I do find one, I am most likely to chose something savory or very simple. But give me a good homebaked dessert and I will be the first in line. It is a good rule...and I really enjoyed my Amish Buttermilk Pie that I baked today with farm fresh, thick buttermilk and eggs and just the right hint of nutmeg! That was good! Would have loved to share a piece or two.
      Lieben Dank für deinen wunderbaren Kommentar und euch noch einen schönen Sonntag,
      Andrea

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  8. Andrea, I always look forward to your posts and learning about the stories behind them. I especially liked the lore about the deliciousness of the pastry being a sign of the fortune of the year to come! I think it's so interesting how cultures tie fortune, luck and other things on food. In our culture, they say you know a girl is ready for marriage when her rice is salted properly.

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    1. Ahu, very kind of you, dear friend! Always trying to dig up some interesting food facts an dtraditions - personally, for me, that makes cooking and baking even more fun, And it makes me happy to read that peolple actually ebjoy this as well - I have read about that salted rice tradition, sounds like fun indeed.

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  9. Hi Andrea, what a interesting story behind this bread, such an informative post. I bet this is delicious, especially with the jam.

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    1. Cheri, glad you enjoyed a bit of history on this traditional baked good - we love to eat slices of sweet yeast breads like this late in the afternoon with some butter and jam and a steaming cup of tea. Thank you for the kind comment!

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  10. Love reading the story behind the bread. Your posts are also so educational as well as beautiful to look at.

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    1. Thank you, Trishie - I am rather passionate about the traditions behind the cooking and baking process - and I am always grateful for an audience and faithful readership.

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  11. Love the way traditions, especially food ones, are carried on and the history behind them. The bread sounds perfect for an afternoon break with a cup of tea.

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    1. Karen, thank you kindly! I am so glad that you enjoy the traditions behind the foods I prepare as well - it is fun doing a bit of research and passing on the traditions to the next generation.

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  12. I so wish I lived in Bonn and we were neighbours. Our kids could play together while you & I had coffee and pastries.
    LOL
    This looks divine, Andrea. And that double-handled little dish looks very familiar. I think my mom has one very much like it.
    She probably got it in Europe a zillion years ago.
    Hope your week is going wel, my friend. xo

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    1. Colette, now that would be more than fun, my dear - cookies and cakes in the afternoon with tea and coffee while the kids are playing together - I would not say no, that´s for sure. I found that pewter dish with the two handles (with little angles) at an antique store the other day - I am sure it is meant for something else than as a prop for my post but I love the looks of it alongside the bread.
      Thank you for the kind comment,
      Andrea

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  13. Thanks for this interesting post and food history lesson. I love finding out histories and traditions of different foods. This bread look really delicious and pretty.

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    1. Amy, glad that you enjoy this post about the traditional yeasted bread that we sometimes bake around here for this holiday.

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  14. You always make wonderful bread and baked goods. I need to work hard to bake more so that I can make this gorgeous braided bread! It's one of my dreams to make this at home!

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