Austrian Easter Bread Wreath Recipe

Easter is a great time for baking – Spring is in the air, early gardening efforts are starting to bear fruit and there are lots of lovely seasonal baking ideas to play with. Hot cross buns are the traditional Easter treat in the UK. However, I’m not a huge fan of their fruit-heavy doughs and usually like to bake Easter breads containing nuts. Here is one of my favourite recipes for Easter, a traditional Austrian Easter bread wreath. The bread is enriched with milk and butter, spiced with vanilla, cardamom and lemon zest and glazed with honey and rum.

Easter Bread Wreath with Chopped Pistachios, Hard Boiled Eggs
Easter Bread Wreath with Chopped Pistachios, very decorative with colourful hard boiled Easter eggs

Austrian Easter Bread Wreath Recipe

Ingredients (makes 1 small wreath)

For the dough

  • 250g plain flour
  • 130g milk, lukewarm
  • 4g dried yeast
  • 40g butter, melted
  • 40g caster sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla sugar
  • 2 cardamom pods, seeds taken out and crushed with pestle and mortar
  • Zest of ½ lemon
  • 1 tbsp pistachios, ground or finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp hazelnuts, ground or finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar

For the topping

  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp rum
  • 1 tbsp pistachios, roughly chopped
Easter Bread Wreath Close-Up
Easter Bread Wreath – You can see the different strands of dough come together here
Pistachio hazelnut sugar mix
Chopped pistachios, chopped hazelnuts, sugar for the Easter bread wreath dough

How to bake it

  1. In a medium bowl, combine the melted butter, caster sugar, egg yolk, salt, vanilla sugar, crushed cardamom seeds and lemon zest and mix until it reaches an even consistency
  2. Add the flour, yeast and milk to the butter-sugar mixture and form a smooth dough; knead for approximately 10 minutes
  3. Cover the dough with the bowl and leave to rest in a warm place for 1 hour
  4. Combine the ground or finely chopped nuts with the brown sugar
  5. Divide the dough into two equal parts
  6. Knead the nuts-and-sugar mix into one of the dough parts
  7. Lightly flour your work surface if the dough is prone to stick
  8. Use your hands and form each dough part into a long sausage form, 40 cm in length
  9. Form a rope with the two dough rolls by winding the rolls around each other
  10. Then bring the ends together to form a wreath, sealing the ends together to avoid them coming apart during the baking process
  11. Place the wreath on a baking tray lined with baking paper and cover with a clean kitchen towel for 30 minutes to 1 hour to prove
  12. Preheat the oven to 180°C
  13. Bake for 30 minutes
  14. Warm up the honey in a small pot and add the rum
  15. Brush the baked wreath with the mixture and sprinkle the roughly chopped pistachios on top

Great with a cup of tea or coffee, served for breakfast or afternoon tea!

Austrian Easter wreath bread
Austrian Easter bread wreath with a wonderful honey and rum glaze and colourful pistachio kernels sprinkled on top