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Braided sweet bread


500g fine bakers flour
100g caster sugar
120g butter room temperature
3 egg yolks room temperature
24g of fresh yeast
250ml of milk
1/2 tsp of salt
1/2 tsp of vanilla essence
lemon zest from 1 lemon
handfull of raisins
handfull of almonds, peeled, cut into slices (1/2 for batter, 1/2 for topping)
1 egg for wash


First, activate yeast by mixing 100ml of milk (warm) with 2 tsp of sugar and yeast, cover and let the yeast rise for 10 mins. Meanwhile, cream sugar with butter, then add yolks one at the time. Next, add flour mixed with salt, activated yeast, lemon zest, vanilla and rest of the milk and knead until everything is well incorporated. For the end knead in the raisins and almonds. The batter should be smooth and non-sticky. Let it grow in the bowl for 1 hour or until it doubles in size. Then, divide the batter into halves and then divide one half into two parts, one smaller (1/3), and one bigger (2/3). Divide one half into 4 parts and braid it, then put on the tray with parchment paper, this will be the first layer. Now, take the bigger piece (2/3) and divide it into 3 parts and braid it and put on top of the first layer. Lastly, divide the smaller (1/3) part into 2 pieces and just twist it and lay it on the top of the two layers. Let it grow for ¾ hour or until it doubles in size. Preheat oven to 200C and when the bread doubles its size smear with egg wash and sprinkle with the rest of the almonds. Bake the first 10 mins on 200C, then lower the temperature to 170C and bake for another 30 mins. Check often and if the top of the bread browns fast, cover with aluminium foil to prevent burning from the top.