Strawberry jam and sliced almonds swirled in a yeasted dough, this strawberry almond hefekranz is easier than it looks and perfect for a weekend brunch.
Think Strawberry jam on toast but better!
A Hefekranz (yeasted crown) is a traditional German yeasted, twisted, and filled dessert bread that is then shaped into a crown. It looks impressive but is actually very simple! I have filled this one with strawberry jam and sliced almonds but the options are endless!
The flavors are pretty simple so feel free to make it your own, but I do love the taste of strawberry jam and bread. I tested this recipe so many times because I want it to be perfect, it works great for breakfast or alongside your coffee or tea! It is best the day it is baked; but if you have any left the next day, reheat individual portions on a microwave safe plate for 10-20 sec depending on your microwave. You can also reheat it, wrapped in aluminum foil, at 250 F for 15 to 20 min!
Tips for making Strawberry Almond Hefekranz
- Whenever you are making a yeasted dough make sure to knead it for a while, the bread should become one clean ball with relatively smooth sides. Keep kneading for a couple minutes after it comes together.
- This dough can be quite stiff so the recipe says to knead it until it no longer sticks to the sides of the bowl. Then let it rest/proof it for half an hour, then need it again and finally proof it again. The first proof will allow the dough to soften and become more malleable allowing it to be kneaded longer.
- If your jam is at all runny, make sure to reduce it, otherwise the filling will be too wet and the whole thing will fall flat. However, if you are using very stiff strawberry jam simply use the full 400 g without reducing.
- Do not under bake this. It will sink a little bit after baking but to prevent it from fully falling flat, it needs to be fully baked through.
- Some amount of jam is likely to leak out while it is baking. To prevent a mess in your oven I recommend baking it on a baking sheet with edges to prevent any jam from spilling over.
- All Purpose Flour: Any all purpose flour will work for this crown! I have not yet tried any other flours with this recipe.
- Sugar: This recipe uses granulated sugar in the dough and filling as well as an optional sprinkling of powdered sugar.
- Milk: The hefekranz uses milk as the liquid in the dough; however, it will also work with non-dairy milks such as almond or light coconut milk.
- Butter: The butter adds moisture to the crown as well as makes them softer! It’s important that the butter is at room temperature, otherwise it will cool down the dough and be difficult to incorporate.
- Yeast: In this recipe, instant yeast is used. However, if you are using active dry, simply bloom the yeast in the milk alone first and then proceed with the recipe.
- Strawberry Jam: For this recipe you will need strawberry jam for the filling. To ensure the best flavor, try to pick one without high fructose corn syrup, or any corn syrup. The strawberries and sugar should be in the first few ingredients.
- Sliced Almonds: Rather than slivered almonds which are like little spikes or sticks, sliced almonds are little wafer thin shavings of almond that add a little bit of texture and flavor to this hefekranz.
- Strawberry jam can be replaced with almost any jam that you have on hand for this recipe. I would recommend raspberry, red currant, cherry, maybe even orange marmalade!
- The thin sliced almonds give a nice crunch to this hefekranz but you can substitute other nuts, just make sure to chop them finely first. If you are allergic to nuts you can definitely leave them out!
- This recipe uses milk as the main liquid in the dough but it will also work with non-dairy milks such as almond or coconut milk.
Want to make something similar? Try one of these!
How to Make Strawberry Hefekranz
Make the Dough
- In the bowl of a stand mixer combine the flour, sugar, and yeast and whisk together to combine. Then add in the lukewarm milk, butter, and salt and use the dough hook attachment to knead the dough for about 10 minutes until it has come together and the sides of the bowl are clean.
- Remove the dough and grease the inside of the mixing bowl. Then place the dough back in, cover the bowl with plastic, and place somewhere warm to rise for 30 minutes.
- After 30 minutes, re-knead the dough with the dough hook attachment for another ten minutes. Shape the dough into a ball and place it back in the mixing bowl. Cover the bowl again and place somewhere warm to rise for another 30 minutes.
Preparing the filling
- Unless the jam you are using is very stiff, you will need to reduce it slightly to cook out some of the extra liquid.
- To do so, pour the jam into a small sauce pot and heat over medium low heat. Stirring the jam frequently, cook it down for about 15 minutes.
- Remove the pot from the heat and allow the jam to cool to room temperature or just slightly warmer.
- If your jam is particularly stiff, you made need to briefly warm it up either in a sauce pot or the microwave to make it easier to spread.
Shaping the Hefekranz
- Preheat the oven to 375 F and place a rack in the center of the oven. Prepare a rimmed baking sheet by lining it with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
- After the dough has doubled in size, roll it out to a rectangle that is approximately 25 cm x 60 cm. Spread the jam over the dough leaving a 1/2″ border on two of the short edges and one long edge and a 1″ border on the remaining long edge.
- Sprinkle 22 g of the sliced almonds over the jam. Then start rolling up the dough – beginning with the long edge with only a 1/2″ border. Roll all the way to the other long edge and pinch the seam shut. To prevent the jam from squeezing out the ends, also pinch the ends of the roll closed.
- Cut the roll in half lengthwise using a long skinny knife. I find it easiest to start in the center and work my way out to each end.
- Then cross the two halves over each other with the jam side facing up to make an X shape. By starting the twist in the middle it will make it easier to handle the long roll. Twist the two halves of the roll together starting from the center and working your way out. Always make sure that the cut side with the exposed jam is face up.
- At each end, press the tail bits of dough together to prevent the twist from unraveling. Gently lift the twist up and place it on the prepared baking sheet.
- Then, bring both ends together and tuck them underneath each other to create a crown shape.
- Sprinkle the top with the remaining sliced almonds and leave somewhere to rest for 30 minutes.
Baking the Crown
- Bake the crown on the baking sheet for 35-40 minutes. If it seems to be browning too quickly, cover the top with foil.
- It should become a dark golden brown color.
- Once fully baked, remove it from the oven and set on a cooling rack to cool for at least 15 minutes before dusting it with powdered sugar and serving it.
Strawberry Almond Hefekranz
- Stand Mixer
- 550 grams ap flour
- 15 grams instant yeast
- 50 grams granulated sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 250 ml milk lukewarm
- 80 grams butter softened
- 400 grams strawberry jam
- 18 grams sliced almonds
- 18 grams sliced almonds
- 50 grams powdered sugar
Mixing the Dough & Making the filling
- Heat the milk until it is just lukewarm, should never get above 100 F.
- In a large stand mixing bowl, add flour, yeast, and sugar, and whisk together. Add lukewarm milk, softened butter, vanilla extract, and salt.
- Mix together with the dough hook on low speed for 15 min or until the dough is a smooth cohesive ball of dough.
- Shape the dough into a ball and place in a greased bowl. Cover the bowl with a towel / or proofing bag and set it somewhere warm to rest for 30 minutes.
- *IF necessary, while you wait, add the strawberry jam to a small sauce pot and reduce over medium low heat for 15 min; stirring frequently. The jam should reduce to about 325 g. Allow the jam to cool to room temp.
- After the 30 minutes have passed, using the dough hook attachment, knead the dough again for another 10 min. Place the dough back in the greased bowl, cover, and let rest for 30 more minutes.
Assembling & Baking
- Roll the dough out to 25 cm x 60 cm. Spread with the reduced and cooled strawberry jam – leave a 1/2" border on both short edges and a 1" border on one long edge.
- Sprinkle the 1/4 cup of sliced almonds over the jam.
- Roll the dough up starting with the long side that has a 1/2" border. Once you have reached the other long edge, seal the empty dry edge of dough to the roll to prevent the strawberry jam from squeezing out.
- With the seam side of the roll face down, use a sharp knife and slice the roll lengthwise down the center.
- Moving quickly, start in the middle of the log and twist the two halves together as tightly as you can. Press the ends together so they don't untwist.
- Bring both ends around to create a circle. Tuck both ends under the opposite sides to create a crown where the ends are hidden.
- Place the crown on a lined baking sheet and sprinkle with the remaining almonds. Let it rest somewhere warm for 30 min.
- Preheat the oven to 350 F and bake the crown for 35-40 min.
- Let the crown cool and dust with powdered sugar!