Looking for a seasonal specialty for my customers at A&B Naturals, I came upon an Italian Christmas bread, Pinza, that, after crossing the border to Austria, switched holidays - and turned into Easter bread, Pinze.
After a solemn blessing in the church, this lovely Styrian Easter bread (often adorned by a red egg, and cut three times, to symbolize the Holy Trinity) is served with the meat on Easter Sunday.
There are several versions for Pinze, and it is either seasoned with vanilla or anise. The anise can be steeped in wine or cooked in milk to extract its flavor.
|Steiermark - Styria, home of the Easter Pinze|
I tried a Pinze version with anise, soaked in wine. Though the bread turned out quite nice, I couldn't detect much anise aroma.
Therefore I decided on Petra's Easter Pinza (from her Chili und Ciabatta blog), substituting some of the white flour with whole wheat.
The bread, made in 3 steps with 2 pre-ferments, was wonderful. The only problem: its time consuming schedule would not work for my little bakery, unless I pulled off an all-nighter. So I turned to my favorite method: stretch & fold plus overnight stay in the fridge.
No pre-doughs needed, very little hands-on time, and no standing around, waiting for pre-ferments and dough to rise.
In other words, the baker could hug her pillow, while the yeasties did their job!
My overnight version was just as good as the original, more involved one!
The Easter Pinze is a soft bread with a wonderful flavor. Though slightly sweet, it can be served with Easter Ham, like in Austria. Or, as we did, enjoyed simply with some good butter, or jam.
|Gorgeous Easter Pinzes|
OSTER-PINZE - AUSTRIAN EASTER BREAD (adapted from Petra Holzapfel's Chili und Ciabatta)
(3 small loaves)
463 g/16.3 oz all-purpose flour
52 g/1.8 oz whole wheat flour
8 g/0.3 oz instant yeast (for yeast conversion see here)
150 g/5.3 oz milk
70 g/2.5 oz sugar
50 g/1.8 oz egg yolks (ca. 3)*
75 g/2.6 oz eggs (ca. 1 1/2)*
75 g/2.6 oz butter
5 g/0.2 oz salt
4 g/1 tsp. vanilla extract (or seeds of 1 vanilla bean)
15 g/1 tbsp. lemon juice
zest of 1 lemon
*if your eggs or yolks weigh a little bit less than the recipe amount, add some of the remaining egg whites to reach the weight.
1 tbsp. milk
1 pinch sugar
1 pinch salt
Heat butter with the milk, until melted. Remove from heat and stir in first egg yolks and eggs, then the yeast.
Add egg milk to other dough ingredients in mixer bowl, and mix for 1-2 minutes at low speed, until all flour is hydrated. Let dough rest for 5 minutes, then continue kneading at medium-low speed for 6 minutes. Dough will stick to bottom of bowl, but pull (mostly) back from the sides (don't worry, and don't add more flour!)
Transfer dough to a lightly oiled work surface and, with oiled hands, pull it into a square. Fold dough from top and bottom like a business letter in thirds. Repeat folding from both sides. Gather dough into a ball, and place, seam side down, into a lightly oiled bowl. Cover, and let it rest for 10 minutes.
|Nicely risen overnight - you can see the gas bubbles on the front side|
Remove dough from refrigerator 2 hours before using. It should have almost doubled.
Turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface, and divide it into 3 equal parts (about 325 g each.)
|Brush breads with egg wash|
In the meantime, preheat the oven to 375°F/180°C. (No steam).
|Re-apply egg wash and cut the Pinze pattern|
Re-apply egg wash. Using scissors, make 3 deep cuts into the loaves, to create the typical Pinze pattern.
Bake breads for 12 minutes, rotate them 180 degrees, cover them loosely with tin foil, then continue baking for another 13-18 minutes, or until they register 190ºF/93ºC.
Let breads cool on a rack.
TIP: Pinze keep fresh for 2-3 days, wrapped in plastic foil. You can also freeze them, wrapped in foil and placed in a freezer bag.
Submitted to Yeast Spotting