Saffron Easter Bread
Safran Osterbrot

1/4 cup warm water
2 1/4 teaspoons (1 package) yeast
1/4 teaspoon saffron threads
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup (1 3/4 ounces) sugar
3 tablespoons (1-1/2 ounces) butter
1-1/4 teaspoons salt
2 large eggs + 1 egg yolk
3 cups (12-3/4 ounces) All Purpose Flour
You may need an extra 1/2 to 1 cup flour
(optional)1 cup Raisins or currants , soaked in water or brandy till plump and soft and drain.

1 egg white
1 tablespoon water

1. Place the saffron threads in a mortar or a heavy glass bowl. Crush the saffron with a pestal or a similar object. A metal ladel works well. Soak the saffron in warm water.

2. Gather your ingredients. I like to weigh out the flour. Not shown is the 3rd egg. I separate that and put the yolk in with the mix and the white I reserve for the glaze.

3. Warm the milk slightly to room temperature. Do NOT get too hot or it will kill the yeast. Let this sit while you are gathering the rest of your ingredients to start to work. You will know your yeast is good also. I don't let yeast hang around very long. I would rather buy less and often.

4. Pour the yeast mix and the saffron into a large mixing bowl. Add the sugar, salt butter and egg and whisk together.

5. Add the flour a little at a time whisking in and then change to a heavy spoon or hands. You can also use a Mixer if you have a paddle attachment.

6. If the dough is sticky add some extra flour a bit at a time till you have a smooth round. Cover with a towel and keep in a warm environment. an oven that has been warmed slightly and a pan of hot water on the bottom works well if you have a drafty kitchen.

7. Wait 30 minutes to an hour for it to double in size.

8. Punch down and divide into 2 loaves. Put the loaves on a sheet pan leaving lots of space for it to double in size

. Pre-Heat Oven to 350 degrees F

9. I docked one loaf with a very sharp knife. This is a tradition that means different things from a religious cross to an escape valve for evil spirits to fly out. Brush the loaves well with the egg white glaze.
Bake on the middle rack for 15 minutes and check to see if the loaf got well glazed. If there is a dull area that didn't get glazed brush it again then return to the oven and bake another 15 min.
The bottom of the loaf should be nicely browned and leave a hollow sound when tapped.