Viennese Striesel; The Bread Baking Babes do the Holidays


Nothing like the relaxing run-up to the holidays, is there?

Let’s see….

Christmas cards.

Nope, not done; not even started.

Christmas shopping.

Nope, not done; although I have thought about it.

Christmas tree.

Nope, not done; not going to be done.

Christmas post; something excessively witty and entertaining.

Nope, not done.BBB logo december 2009

At least I managed to get some baking done – some festive holiday bread.

And a good thing, too, as I am the host kitchen for the illustrious Bread Baking Babes this month.

First, let me congratulate one of our Babes for producing something other than bread….. (Some people just have to be different.)

Sara, of I Like to Cook, has convinced the Babes (quite easily, I might add) that not only should we add a Babe to our group, it should be a male Babe….. There’s a picture of him lounging in bed in a, ahem, natural state, on her blog.

Back to the bread…..

When I was unpacking my cook books a few weeks ago, after having them all in boxes for well over a year, I, naturally, spent rather too much time looking at them all.

Old friends, and all that.

I ran across this one:


There’s no date in it, but, as the first line of instruction for the bread we made was:

1. Be immaculately clean — hair combed, dress and apron clean, hands and nails scrubbed.

I think it might be an old book.  No mention of hand sanitizers anywhere.

I wanted to do a holiday bread in December…. And I really wanted to do something from this little book that I’ve had since I was a child.

Viennese Striesel

Viennese Striesel it is.

According to the book, this is made with a basic sweet dough that can be used ‘for many wonderful breads’.

Basic Sweet Dough

1 package active dry yeast
1/4 cup very warm water
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
2 tbs shortening, melted (I used butter)
2 3/4 – 3 cups flour
1 egg

Dissolve yeast in warm water
Scald milk. Put milk, sugar, shortening, salt in bowl of mixer. Cool until just warm. Stir in 1 cup of flour. Mix in dissolved yeast.
Whisk egg and add to dough. Add remaining flour and knead until smooth and satiny.

I used my stand mixer and dough hook up to this point, the dough was still sticky. I added about 1/4 more flour, kneading by hand.

Viennese Striesel

1 recipe Basic Sweet Dough
1/4 cup seedless raisins
1/4 cup candied cherries, chopped
2 tbs candied orange peel, chopped
1/8 tsp mace
1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
1 tbs milk
almonds or walnuts for sprinkling

Add fruit and mace to basic dough before the last cup of flour. Mix in well. Add remaining flour and finish kneading until smooth.
Shape into a ball, place in lightly greased bowl, cover and let rise until doubled, about 2 1/4 hours.

Punch down. Divide into 9 pieces, shape each into a ball and let rest 5 minutes.

Striesel, braided


Roll each piece into a rope about 15″ long. Lay 4 strands on a lightly greased baking sheet, overlapping at the center. Braid from the center toward each end. With the side of your hand make a trench down the center. Now braid 3 strands, also from the center to each end, and place in the ‘trench’. Twist the 2 remaining strands loosely together and place on top, bringing the ends over the end of the loaf and tucking in.
Cover loosely and let rise until doubled, about 1 1/2 hours. Bake, 350F (175C) for 40 – 45 minutes. Remove and cool on a wire rack.
Mix milk and sugar. When bread is cool, drizzle frosting over the top. Sprinkle with nuts.

Striesel, sliced

Pour a nice cup of tea and visit all the Babes to admire their Striesel:

Check out the other Babe’s Brioche:

The Bread Baking Babes

Bake My Day – Karen
Canela and Comino – Gretchen
Cookie Baker Lynn – Lynn
Grain Doe – Gorel
I Like To Cook – Sara
Living in the Kitchen with Puppies – Natashya
Living on bread and water – Monique
Lucullian Delights – Ilva
My Kitchen In Half Cups – Tanna
Notitie Van Lien – Lien
The Sour Dough – Breadchick Mary

If you would like to join us as a Bread Baking Buddy this month, either leave a comment or send an email and I will send you the Buddy Badge.  I will do the Buddy recap on December 21st.
Tight schedule, I know, but ’tis the season and all that.  Besides, you want to make this bread soon so you can enjoy it while you relax from all the hustle and bustle.

Now the confession…. I had to look up on the internet to figure out how to braid with 4 strands….

I can do a French braid in my hair in under 3 seconds, but I had to look this up.

Must be ‘holiday syndrome’ – you know, brain on holiday…..

16 thoughts on “Viennese Striesel; The Bread Baking Babes do the Holidays”

  1. Thanks Katie for choosing this bread, first of all because it was delicious but also because I now am able to make a 4 strand braid! What don’t I get to learn with you Babes!

  2. I am a clumsy 4-strander myself. Good thing it gets covered up!
    Thanks for such a great challenge, mine will be up in a couple of hours.
    Yours looks perfect! How nice to be baking in your own oven for the holidays.

  3. It was my first time braiding a 4 strand loaf too… I’m up for 5 strands next time! Thanks for this wonderful recipe, we gobbled it down in 1 day, so it was good for sure! better start writing the christmas cards now…

  4. I was just leaving some comments and saw your name and thought, “MY gosh, it’s been ages since I’ve visited Katie.” So I just dropped by to say “hello” and wish you happy holidays. And that braided bread is lovely.

  5. This was delicious and I am so glad you picked it! It led me into a world of wonder about holiday breads from all the nations.

  6. I couldn’t agree more, lovely choice, lovely bread! And I also had to look the braiding up … I had never used mace in anything before, but that was really a nice discovery.

  7. Oh. My.
    That looks delightful! I need to get back into baking bread – made my first forays last winter and they weren’t *total* disasters. *grin* That looks all kinds of yummy. Fiddley. But yummy.

  8. Hi there – I baked it and it is delicious although disappearing fast! (my blog post about it is here: . Thanks for introducing me to a great recipe, and one that was surprisingly easy. Must practice my plaiting though….

  9. Katie you made a fantastic choice for this month and I’m sorry I haven’t had a chance to make it yet, but you know what my excuse is! Looking forward to making this in the new year. Happy Holidays to you and your family!

  10. Christmas shopping – check
    Christmas tree – check (only 1/4 decorated, but there’s plenty of time at noon)
    Christmas post – What?!
    Christmas cards?!! – We’re supposed to send Christmas cards??
    Christmas baking – chec rrrrrrr – never mind… now you’ve added another thing that probably won’t get done in this house.
    RATS. I’m never going to be a Babe.
    (That striesel does look awfully good though….)

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