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Authentic Austrian Easter Bread : time to get excited over quick bread

Librarian's picture

Authentic Austrian Easter Bread : time to get excited over quick bread

Austrian Easter bread, farmer's recipe


It is that time of the year again, where I can't wait for the taste of sweet bread with smoked meats, hardboiled eggs and

freshly grated horseraddish. It is very traditional to eat this kind of bread for the Easter holidays, some even put raisins

in it and there is a much softer almost no crumb version out there. Oddly everyone seems to fancy the contrast of

meat/radish/horseradish on a very sweet bread, but only for the holidays. It is a tradition,what can I say. My mom

scored this recipe from a farmer and she called me very excited to try this. I thoght it was about time to not only soak in

so many wonderful reciped but share a somewhat special and different one. So this is the 2nd year I have a go at it,

I have gotten a bit tired of the neverending sourdough fermentation times and my inability to keep track of time.  

This although is very different , it is a straightforward bread, you do not need a lot of time for it, and since it is so

enriched it does not benefit from long fermentation periods. I forgot how much fun it is to work with live yeast and

the sensational rise you get out of it, i doubt there can be a good sourdough version of this bread it is jsut perfect the way it is:

If former easterbread disappointed you because it was too soft, too little crust for you then you really

should try this it will reward you with a mouthwatering smell in your kitchen and a great aftertaste for your tastebuds

besides it is a LOT of fun to work with such a potent dough without all the wait usually included :)



1000 g of bread flour

500ml of milk ( regular version, no skim milk )

130g of softened butter

1 lemon ( organic )

40g of live yeast

6 tablespoons of sugar

1 tablespoon of salt

lard ( from the pork )



I got very lucky these days finding the right kind of flour, more so because it is also very cheap it seems to have

an extreme tendency for perfect gluten development. Here bread flours are marked W700 this one is marked the

same way but milled a bit rougher than all the rest and binds very well. I recommend flour just like that.



To get started warm up the milk just a tad over handwarm, take a small bowl and dissolve first the sugar then

the live yeast in it. It is important to work with warm milk be careful to not get it too hot to kill off the yeast.

I followed a little discussion some time ago on sugar/yeast yes no.... All you need to do 

is take 2 bowls add yeast into it once with sugar, once without and observe. I always add the sugar it helps

your bacteria much faster along the way :) Let me prove that point, i started halfway with the bowl,

5 min later....

If you do not have live yeast I believe the correct formula is 2/3 dry yeast and 1/3 instant yeast instead

of the ammount of live yeast:


Pour the yeast and rest of the milk into the center of the bowl add the softened butter and one skin of a zested big lemon

be generous when you grate your lemon , add the salt and knead by hand, it is a fun dough to do so, once the dough is

firm and it should be firm, add one scooped table spoon of pork lard it will make the dough very silky and tasty.

I do not recommend omitting the lard and lemon since these 2 ingredients are what make this bread so special....

In the meantime put your oven on 180 degree Fahrenheit. As I mentioned before this dough does not benefit from

long fermentation and that is exactly the fun part for a change. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rise at

least to double( better triple ) in size within an hour at room temperature, the dough should be warm from the warm

milk still and smell sweet/lemon like, an awesome smell :). Here is my dough not even after 40 min, it tripled:


Knead the dough down to original size, a technique I almost never see in American recipes but very common here, is to do

exactly that, a double rise. Since time is no issue we can help the process along with our oven at 180F( 80celsius). Once the

dough is kneaded down divide in 3 parts and generously slash an X on top. Since this dough is highly active, try getting some

surface tension onto it as described in Peter Reinhards BBA. I kind of failed here a bit as you can see later. I didnt have a

baking stone nor did I find the right rack as I baked at my friends house. I would definitly use a stone if i I had one there...

There is no need to prepare the oven for hearth baking whatsoever even for phase 2:



I had to wait maybe 10 minutes till this happened at only 180 . Guess I did not build up enough surface tension.

Once doubled in the oven slide out the rack and cover the breads with a 50% egg yolk 50% milk mixture, crank up

the oven to 370 degrees Fahrenheit /  180 degrees Celsius

and slide the bread right back in, no need to wait till it reaches that temperature. Wait until the bread is golden

brown and makes a hollow sound when tapped.  I use hot air surround fan setting, if you do not have one

add 10 degrees.


Here is a shot of the final result, last year I had the height a bit better under control, you can also make the surface

more even when shaping, I did not bother it gives the bread a rustic look, and it is a farmer's recipe after all.


Here is a comparison shot the next day between an enriched sourdough I created ( curd cheese as enrichment/

pumkin seeds) You can see there definitly is a crumb and crust on this bread, much different than the storebought

ones that feel and taste like sweet Mc Donalds buns. This is one of the few breads that once taken out does not

benefit much from being toasted it will stay fresh quite a while and goes great with jam but also with the ingredients

I mentioned within the introduction. A special tip would be butter/hardboiled egg and some grounded horseraddish on top.

If you decide to make this bread I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I did. Submitted to the YeastSpotting page











Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

In what region of Austria do you reside?  Does your bread have a name?

Knead the dough down to original size, a technique I almost never see in American recipes...

Not seeing it written could be a reading thing.  Also written as: degas the dough, knock down, or deflate.   Your recipe looks like you have a bit too much yeast, shows in the outside crust texture.  I'm sure the yeast could be cut in half for a equally good rise.  Sometimes a fast rise isn't the best.  (phytic acid) 

A double rise? Is that including the yeast foaming up or is there a second bulk rise involved?  With a very active yeast, a second bulk rise is always a good idea in my mind, then a shaping and a final proof rise.  

Mini  (in Linz)

Librarian's picture

Hallo Mini

I am from around Graz. I dont think there is a specific name, just Osterbrot :) My mother got the recipe from a local farmers wive who used to bake a lot of sourdough and also some white breads in her brick oven. The outside crust texture is mainly due to the eggwash with milk. I understand the idea of slower fermentation, I bake a lot of sourdough and also tried working with pate fermente with live yeast. When I first bake a recipe I always stick to the instructions, and i was very surprised how well it went with so little time involved. for me this is the fun part about this bread.When i first read the instructions I was concerned about too much yeast taste in the bread, but that never happened so far. Maybe it is needed due to the ammount of milk,butter,lard. I guess I could have tried with half but I didnt see a reason to since the result tasted well. I agree with you on the second bulk rise, and it is what I basically did, just very accelerated at 80 Celsius. I make pizza dough or almost any hefeteig with a second bulk rise. Maybe you give it a shot and let me know how the taste was to your liking. Kind regards, Georg

Noor13's picture

looks great

I am not familiar with this kind of Osterbrot though. Coming from Styria myself we used to make Osterpinzen as well as Milkbread with raisins for Easter.


Living in the UK I do envy you for the Stainzer Milch though to be honest :)


Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Or  Osterpinzen.  I asked my Mil and the ladies here for coffee today.  Said it was an "easy" recipe and used white wheat. Especially traditional in higher regions where wheat is hard to grow and rye dominates the table.  Wheat only bread was something special for the holiday.   But they have heard of it with butter not lard.  And then they quipped, "Unless the money ran out buying seed or the calf wasn't born yet!"  (Meaning there was no money for butter and the cow can't give any milk yet.)  "Can find in every bakery at Easter time."  

Described with four (cross) but more traditional three scissor cuts (trinity) on top.  First brushed with egg wash and then cut so it opens up with lighter crust in the scores.  Not a heavy bread and many times a hard boiled egg is placed in the middle.  Often individual sized like a large roll.  

Yep, I just might give it a try.  Is that W700 Griffig?


Librarian's picture

Cant imagine living without Stainzer milk :)


Yes Griffig is W700, if you get a chance try this particular brand in the picture, I am very pleased with it.

This is not a Pinzen, in fact im glad it isn't. Pinzen is an extremly soft dough very moist and has basically no crust at all its just 1mm lightbrown. Pinzen are sold in Supermarkets even, yet they taste nothing much different than milkbread loaves sold throughout the whole year :( . I first had a taste of a similar bread at a Buschenschank ( where only homemade products are allowed to be sold ) in South Styria. This bread does taste less sweet compared to a Pinzen; it also has much more "bread" feel to it, you can butter it without fearing to end up with the butter on the plate, I hope I describe this right. 

"Unless the money ran out buying seed or the calf wasn't born yet!"

Hehe :) I like this one. This version only has a tablespoon of lard and quite some butter in it. Once you work in the lard the dough becomes very silky/satin like. I think there must be a lot of versions out there, just like with Carinthian Cheesenoodles ( there are dozens of family kept secret recipes ). This really is a recipe from a farmhouse.....As a comparison I found a recipe for Pinzen which you would find in a good bakery vs. the supermarket version, what I find interesting about this one it suggests making a "Dampfl" which is basically a yeast batter let it "rise", then add the ingredients, then do 3 bulk rises each time knocking down the dough... This recipe uses CAKE flour instead of bread flour and even more yeast than I did:


  • 5 g Anis (whole)
  • 250 ml wine
  • 1 kg cake flour
  • 50 g live yeast
  • 150 g sugar
  • 200 g Osterpinze Butter (liquid)
  • 10 g salt
  • 8 eggyolks
  • 250 ml Osterpinze Milk
  • Vanillasugar
  • Lemonjuice
  • 2 Eggyolks (to glaze)
  • 1 Egg (detto)