As you might know I’m German, and in Germany we LOVE a yeast dough bake. This one is a great one because it really doesn’t matter how messy it looks before you bake it, it will look amazing when it comes out of the oven. For me the combination of redcurrant and vanilla is something that I really associate with late summer and autumn so as soon as I can find some in the shops I will jump on them. I don’t really get the whole redcurrant/Christmas thing, but maybe that’s because I’m German as well… Anyway, this recipe is great if you’ve never made a yeast dough before and its super tasty. So no excuses.
- 500g Plain Flour
- 42g Fresh Yeast/ 14g Dry Yeast
- 80g Sugar
- Pinch of Salt
- 200ml Milk
- 1 m Egg
- 80g Melted Butter, cooled
- 250ml Milk
- 1 Egg Yolk
- 30g Cornflour
- 40g Caster Sugar
- 1/2 Tbsp Vanilla Extract
- 250g Quark
- 250g Redcurrants
- 100g Icing Sugar
- 1 1/2 Tbsp Milk
Line a large baking tray with baking paper or a reusable baking mat. I like using a perforated baking tray as it ensures a more even bake.
Warm your milk up to about 30 degree C. Mix your dry or fresh yeast with the milk and add a couple of tablespoons of the sugar to the mixture. Let it sit for about 5 minutes until bubbles start forming. You don’t necessarily need to do this if you’re using ACTIVATED dry yeast or fresh yeast but it helps the dough rise a bit better afterwards. If you’re using regular dry yeast you need to do this to activate the yeast first.
Add the flour, sugar, egg and milk-yeast-mixture to a large mixing bowl and start combining it with either your hands or a dough hook (do not use any other mixing attachments for this, as the heavy dough might break them). Add the salt and when the dough is coming together to a lump, slowly add the melted, room temperature butter. Yeast dies at about 35 degrees so make sure that neither the butter or the milk are too warm.
If you’re using your hands flour your work surface and as soon as the dough is coming together turn it out on the work surface and knead it there by pushing the dough away from you using the palm of your hand and then folding it back over itself. Then repeat the same with your other hand.
Knead the dough for about 7-9 minutes until it has come together to a smooth lump and doesn’t stick to the bowl or the mixing attachments/your hands anymore. If you find the dough is too dry and comes away from the bowl immediately after you started mixing just add another splash of milk, if it’s too wet just add a spoonful of flour.
Take the dough out of the bowl and place it on a floured surface then take it in both hands and form it into a ball by tucking the sides under itself while turning it in a circle (watch the video if that sounds complicated, it really isn’t!). The surface of the dough ball should be smooth and not rip anymore. If rips are forming you’ll have to knead it for another couple of minutes.
Flour the inside of the bowl, place the dough ball in the bowl and then cover it with more flour. Cover the bowl with a lid or a cloth and leave the dough to rise in a warm place until it has doubled in size. This should take about an hour but if it’s cool it might take longer. If your kitchen is too cold you can put it on a warm underfloor heating or in the oven with the oven lamp on or preheat the oven to 30 degree C, then turn it off and leave the dough in there to rise.
For the custard bring 200ml of the milk to the boil in a saucepan. Mix cornflour, sugar, egg yolk and vanilla with the remaining milk. When the milk in the pan is boiling take it off the heat, add the custard mixture and whisk well, then put it back on the heat and keep whisking the custard until it thickens. Put the custard in a bowl and cover the surface with clingfilm. This will prevent a skin from forming. Let it cool down completely.
When the custard has cooled down take the clingfilm off and combine it with the quark.
When the dough has doubled in size put it on a floured work surface and stretch it into a square using your hands. Now roll it out to about 40x60cm using a floured rolling pin. Lift the dough up every now and then to make sure that it doesn’t stick to the work surface.
Blob the custard mixture on the rolled out dough and spread it out evenly with a cranked pallet knife before scattering the redcurrants all over the custard mix. Then roll the dough up tightly from the long side. Take the end bits off that aren’t filled completely, cut the roll in 14-16 equally sized slices and then arrange them in a circle on the prepared baking tray, making sure that they overlap slightly.
Now you can either preheat the oven to 180 degree C and let the wreath rise for 30 minutes before baking it in the oven for about 30-35 minutes or you can place the wreath in the cold oven, turn it to 180 degree C and leave it in there for about 40-45 minutes and the wreath can get its second rise in the oven while it’s preheating. This method is great if your kitchen is quite cold.
Take the wreath out when it’s golden brown on top and let it cool slightly.
Mix the icing sugar and the milk and whisk until smooth. Using a pastry brush or a spoon, brush it all over the top of the wreath. Let it cool completely before eating it.