What is Hefezopf?
Hefezopf is a German braided sweet bread. In this recipe I will show you a version of Hefezopf with cinnamon and raisins.
Braided Cinnamon Raisin Bread
If an American cinnamon roll and a German Rosinenzopf would have children, then this braided cinnamon raisin bread would be it!
This sweet bread is everything you are looking for; it has the seductive cinnamon flavor from the cinnamon roll combined with the moist and fluffy texture of German braided raisin braid.
Cinnamon Raisin Braided Bread
- 1/2 cup raisins
- 1 cup hot water
- 1 ¼ cup milk lukewarm
- ½ cup sugar
- 2 tsp. yeast
- 1 egg
- 2 egg yolks
- 4 ¼ cups flour
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract or ¼ tsp. vanilla powder
- 1 pinch of salt
- 5 tbsp. butter soft
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 1 stick butter melted
- 3 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp. vanilla powder
- 1 egg yolk
- 4 tsp. heavy whipping cream alternatively milk
- 1 pinch of salt
- 1/4 cup sugar coarse sugar
- Add raisins to a small bowl, cover with hot water and set aside.
- In another small bowl combine yeast and sugar, add lukewarm milk, mix well and set aside.
- Beat eggs and egg yolks with a fork until egg yolks and egg white are combined.
- Place flour into a stand mixer bowl and form a well.
- Add milk-yeast mixture, eggs, vanilla extract, and salt to the dwell.
- Knead on medium-low for about 3-5 min.
- Add soft butter, about two tablespoons at a time and knead until well combined, about 3-5 min.
- Drain raisins well, add to the dough and knead for another 1-2 min.
- Shape dough to a ball, cover with a clean kitchen towel or plastic wrap. The dough will be slightly sticky, this is normal.
- Allow to raise for about 60 – 90 min.
- After the proofing time, lightly sprinkle the working space with flour.
- Knead the dough briefly and divide in three equal size pieces.
- Roll each piece to a about 10-inch long ropes and then flatten each log with a rolling pin to about 1/8-inch.
- Mix all ingredients for the filling. Spread one third of the filling on each dough piece.
- Roll up each rope from the long side.
- Braid the ropes pinching the ends and tuck them under to seal.
- Place on a with parchment paper lined baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap and allow to raise for about 30 - 45 min.
- After the raising time, whisk egg yolk, salt and heavy whipping cream until well combined.
- Brush braided bread with the egg wash and sprinkle with coarse sugar.
- Place into a 350 F pre-heated oven and bake for about 35 – 40 min.
Try this recipe with hazelnut cream i.e. Nutella instead of the cinnamon filling. This is an amazing variation of this recipe.
Step-by-Step Recipe Steps with Images
Start with adding the raisins to a small bowl, cover them with hot water and set the bowl aside.
In another small bowl combine yeast and sugar, add the lukewarm milk, mix well, and set it also aside.
Place the flour into a stand mixer bowl and form a well.
Then add the milk-yeast mixture, the eggs, vanilla powder, and salt to the dwell. If you don´t have vanilla powder you can use vanilla extract. I am just lately obsessed with vanilla powder and love to use it in all kinds of desserts and cakes.
Knead everything on medium-low for about 5 to 7 min. Then add the soft butter, about two tablespoons at a time and knead until well combined, about 3-5 min.
A little trick is to cut the butter in small cubes if you don´t have soft butter on hand and place them for 15 sec. into the microwave.
Drain the raisins well and add them to the dough. Knead the dough for another 1-2 min. until the raisins are well distributed.
Shape the dough to a ball, I like to use a spatula as the dough will be a little bit sticky, but this is normal.
Then cover the dough with a clean kitchen towel or plastic wrap and allow to raise for about 60 – 90 min.
After the proofing time, sprinkle the countertop lightly with flour.
Knead the dough briefly and divide it in three equal size pieces.
Roll each piece to a rope of about 10-inch in length.
And then flatten each rope with a rolling pin to about 1/8-inch. dough sheets.
I like to use a small dough roller but you can use any rolling pin that you have on hand. If you don´t have a rolling pin you could use a smooth glass to roll the dough out evenly.
For the filling I mix cinnamon, vanilla powder, brown sugar, and melted butter. And like before you can use vanilla extract if you don´t have vanilla powder on hand.
Then evenly spread one third of the filling on each dough piece. I like to drop dollops of the mixture on all dough pieces so I can make sure I have enough on each sheet, and it is equally divided.
Now you just need to roll up each rope from the long side.
Then braid the ropes, pinch the ends, and tuck them under to seal.
Place the braided bread on a with parchment paper lined baking sheet, cover it with plastic wrap and allow to raise for about 30 – 45 min.
After the raising time, whisk one egg yolk, salt and heavy whipping cream until well combined. If you don´t have cream, you can use milk.
Brush the braided bread with the egg wash and sprinkle it generously with coarse sugar. Alternatively, you could sprinkle it with sliced almonds or a mixture of both.
Then place the bread into a 350 degrees F pre-heated oven and bake it for about 35 – 40 min.
There will be a little bit of cinnamon-sugar mixture spilling out of the bread. Don´t discard these little crunchy pieces, they are soooo good on vanilla pudding or ice cream.