Rosemary-Thyme Yeast Wreath

By • November 30, 2010 • 22 Comments

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Author Notes: Hefenkrantz, a German tradition that comes from the edge of the Black Forest literally means “Yeast Wreath,” and is sweet bread with raisins. This is my adaptation: a savory, edible centerpiece for any special occasion, the wreath in this photo was made for our Christmas dinner table; I make one every holiday season and a few other special occasions, as well.

After this wreath is thoroughly cooled it can be placed in an airtight plastic bag and frozen until the morning of the day it is served. Decorate the exterior after thawing.
lapadia

Food52 Review: This was the perfect recipe for those weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Everyone has herbs lying around, leftover from stuffing recipes. The baking wreath smells cozy, and when it's done it makes your table look just as festive as the rest of your house. I made the full recipe but split it in half to make two small wreaths, one to eat now and one to freeze for later. As you'd expect, with the dry milk and the butter, it's a tender and finely grained loaf. Mine wasn't as strongly herb-flavored as I'd hoped for, but I played it a little safe in the measurements (especially with the rosemary). Next time I make it—and there will be a next time—I'll go all out. My first loaf has been half dedicated to eating out of hand, and I suspect the remainder will be split between sandwiches and maybe a savory bread pudding. It makes a lot of bread, but trust me—you'll want it all.emmanation

Serves a crowd

  • 2 eggs plus warm water to make up to 2 cups
  • 2 tablespoons agave nectar
  • 1 packet active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup non-fat dry milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 heaping teaspoon diastatic malt powder (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons micro-plane grated Pecorino cheese
  • 1 tablespoon, of each, finely minced fresh rosemary and thyme
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 5 to 6 cups bread flour (I like King Arthur)
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter for glazing
  • Extra pecorino cheese to scatter on top
  1. In a small bowl, mix the dry milk, salt, malt powder, 2 tablespoons pecorino and rosemary-thyme together and set aside until needed.
  2. Break the eggs into a two-cup measure and fill the balance with warm water. Pour into a large mixing bowl and whisk together. Add and dissolve the agave nectar and yeast. Let sit 5-10 minutes.
  3. When the yeast mixture is bubbly add the dry milk mixture.
  4. Blend in the butter with a wooden spoon as well as you can, it will be lumpy, that’s ok.
  5. Blend in 3 cups of the flour, don’t worry about lumps.
  6. Work in, by hand or with a food processor and dough hook, between 2 & 3 more cups flour, or until you have a soft but workable dough.
  7. Turn it out onto a floured surface and knead for 2 or 3 minutes. Let the dough rest a couple minutes. Then, continue kneading another 3 or 4 minutes. Put the dough in a greased bowl, cover and let it rise until doubled. Punch it down and let it rise again.
  8. After the second rise, punch the dough down, and divide into three even pieces. Roll each piece into a rope about 25 to 30 inches long. Lay the ropes side by side, beginning from the middle, and braid one end of the rope then the other. When the second half of the loaf is braided, form a circle, weaving the two ends together as well as you can.
  9. Place the wreath on a large baking sheet lined with greased parchment, cover and let it rise for 45 minutes to an hour. NOTE: I place an inverted, buttered ramekin in the center to leave a space for added decoration.
  10. Before baking, brush the surface with melted butter. Scatter a handful of pecorino cheese over the top.
  11. Place in a COLD oven; turn the temperature to 400 degrees for 15 minutes and down to 350 degrees for a further 25 to 30 minutes.
  12. Immediately after taking out of oven, brush with melted butter and sprinkle another handful of Pecorino cheese. Move to a rack to cool.
  13. After thoroughly cooled place in an airtight plastic bag until it is time to serve. This can also be frozen until needed.
Jump to Comments (22)

Tags: bread, buffet, festive, Holidays, Side Dishes, travels well

Comments (22) Questions (0)

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Massimo's_deck_reflection_10_27_13

almost 4 years ago lapadia

Thanks for the wonderful review, emmanation, I'm so pleased you enjoyed it!

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almost 4 years ago emmanation

I'm reviewing this for the Open House contest and I'm so excited! Question - what do you think of me making two half size ones - one to freeze and one to eat so I can review it? I'd keep an eye on it during baking, obviously, but would you suggest any other changes?

Massimo's_deck_reflection_10_27_13

almost 4 years ago lapadia

Hi! I wouldn't suggest any other changes, except for the obvious to step 8...after rolling the dough into 25-30 inch logs, just cut them in half and make two smaller wreaths, then check during cooking time...as you already pointed out. It will still be quite large, not to sure the baking time will be that much different. I thought about doing the same! Thanks for choosing my recipe to test! This dough is easy to work with and the wreath freezes well.

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almost 4 years ago drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

I missed this before--it's beautiful. And I can smell it baking!

Massimo's_deck_reflection_10_27_13

almost 4 years ago lapadia

Thanks, drbabs, it does release a great aroma throughout the kitchen while baking!

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almost 4 years ago dymnyno

Absolutely the essence of tradition, holiday, beauty, delicious, and love!

Massimo's_deck_reflection_10_27_13

almost 4 years ago lapadia

Wow, thanks for the comment dymnyno. This is so true...you brought a couple tears to my eyes...best to you and yours!!

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almost 4 years ago Stockout

This is impressive lapadia. Just the mention of the Black Forest reminds me of the wonderful blood sausage I ate when I was there. The ice on the trees looked like a true winter wonderland. They were all so neatly lined up in rows and I commented to my hosts how the trees are just like the people, precise, neat and all in their place. This bread is just like that.

Massimo's_deck_reflection_10_27_13

almost 4 years ago lapadia

Thank so much, Stockout, your comment has made my day...this early in the morning! I am still looking forward to making your cranberry biscotti!

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almost 4 years ago luvcookbooks

Meg is a trusted home cook.

beautiful, saved it, am contemplating next year doing more holiday parties because of all the recipes from this week.

Massimo's_deck_reflection_10_27_13

almost 4 years ago lapadia

Thanks, luvcookbooks! I am making a couple yeast wreaths for various parties and will be squeezing one in for my own festivities; it would be fun to make one for any F52'er that lived close by too...

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almost 4 years ago spicecat

Looks so good and very festive. Thank you for sharing.

Massimo's_deck_reflection_10_27_13

almost 4 years ago lapadia

Thanks, spicecat. I would love to hear back if you try it!

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almost 4 years ago TheWimpyVegetarian

I love love love sweet yeast breads. This looks great and I love your use of agave nectar, and how you've taken such a great savory twist with it. I can't wait to make this one. I just got the Tartine cookbook and am having such fun looking at all the bread recipes.

Massimo's_deck_reflection_10_27_13

almost 4 years ago lapadia

Oh! Tartine...by any chance do you live close to the bakery? I love working with yeast breads. With this recipe, I make the sweet version depending on the occasion, you can google Hefenkranz for that version. I lean towards a savory recipe, so came up with this twist. btw - thanks, you asked earlier, and yes, I had a great Thanksgiving, I am sure you did too!

Me

almost 4 years ago TheWimpyVegetarian

I don't live that close - I have to go into SF to go, but love their breads. I can't wait to start to test drive some of there recipes. I know I'm baking bread on Sunday, just haven't decided which one to start with!

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almost 4 years ago thirschfeld

I'm thinkin that looks really tasty.

Massimo's_deck_reflection_10_27_13

almost 4 years ago lapadia

Tasty it is! Thanks for checking it out, thirschfeld...and now that we have this "wreath" sitting around we are getting ready to grill some burgers and use some slices in place of the buns.

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almost 4 years ago Lizthechef

Funny, Sagegreen, I was thinking this is your kind of lovely recipe - thumbs up!

Massimo's_deck_reflection_10_27_13

almost 4 years ago lapadia

Thanks for the comment, Lizthechef! And your note to Sagegreen is making me smile:)

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almost 4 years ago Sagegreen

I love the herbs with your wreath. Lovely!

Massimo's_deck_reflection_10_27_13

almost 4 years ago lapadia

Thanks, Sagegreen!