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Saffron Easter Bread

(Safran Osterbrot)

Saffron Osterbrot,

Saffron Easter bread is served in some areas of Germany. Saffron has been a symbol of gold and wealth for centuries and gives a wonderful intense flavor as well as color. Easter is a time of celebration and historically also a time of hope for a good bountiful year on the farm. Karen Kinnane's family would save and shell out money for the expensive saffron once a year, so this bread became very special. I think you will love the flavor and aroma as well as the bright color of this simple bread, that is not overly sweet or filled with goodies but wonderful with good quality butter and coffee or tea.


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The One Time a Year
Saffron Easter Bread Story

Every year my German American Grandmother Emily and Grandfather Pete (Dutch ancestry) used to make the most wonderful Easter bread.  It was a ritual which we all loved!  First they went in Grandpa's old silver blue 1954 ford to Pompton Lakes to the drug store at the corner of Colfax Avenue and Wanaque Ave. 

Once inside the drug store they consulted with the pharmacist  in order to buy some safron which was even so long ago  extremely expensive.  The druggist packed up the tiny dark red shreds in a pill bottle with on old paper label on which he typed "saffron".  Home they went to the cottage in Oakland , ready to make the Easter bread.
Safron crocus is a tiny flower and you can raise your own saffron if you have a sunny patch in the garden, buy some of the bulbs and plant them in the fall.  To harvest you get down on  your hands and knees and with a tweezers you remove the tiny shreds of saffron from the flower.  It takes a lot to make a couple of loaves of bread because the stamens / anthers are miniscule. 

From Saffron Fun Facts, Bioweb

Prep time: | Cook time: | Total time: | Yield: 2 loaves-32 slices , Serving size: 2 slices | Calories per serving: 151 | Fat per serving: 4 gr | carbs per serving: 25 gr | protein per serving: 5 gr

You will need a large mixing bowl and sheet pan

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

Hand Held Immersion Blenders


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.

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.

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.

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

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. If you are adding raisins add them when about half of the flour is added.

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.

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

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.

This bread has a beautiful golden texture. It is great served in the morning with butter or afternoon with coffee.






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Last updated April 2, 2015