Bread animals are a big thing in Switzerland. I grew up with Müsli (small dough mice), covered in sugar sprinkles and with raisin eyes. We didn’t make them ourselves but our mum would buy us one from time to time (or probably a little more often than that) when we walked past our local bakery. You can still find dough animals in most bakeries, mostly mice and turtles. Around the 6th of December the Gritibänzen (advent bread men) are being sold in bakeries and supermarkets, and Easter time is the time for bread bunnies and Easter egg nests. They are easy to make at home and make for a great addition to any Easter breakfast or brunch. If you need more tips for a Swiss style Easter, read our post here.
Make the dough – for a less sweet version, make 500g of Zopf dough (recipe here). For a sweeter bread with a hint of lemon zest, make 500g of advent breadman dough (recipe here).
Prove the dough until doubled in size – this will take about 2-2.5 hours.
Once proved, knock the air out of the dough and cut it into 3-4 pieces. Make your Easter bunnies or egg nests according to the below pictures.
Put the bunnies or nests onto a baking paper and prove them for another 30 minutes. Then paint with the egg wash of one egg and sprinkle with coarse sugar (Hagelzucker).
Bake at 220 degrees for 20-30 minutes, depending on the size of your breads and your oven. The breads are baked when they look nicely browned and sound hollow when you knock the base with your knuckle.
How to make the bunnies and nests
Bunny without tail
Cut dough into a large and a smaller piece. Make a roll with the larger piece for the body. Cut the smaller piece into a head with ears and stick the two parts together with a little water. Use a raisin for the eye.
Bunny with tail
Cut dough into three pieces and form head, body and tail. Stick the parts together with a little water. Use a raisin for the eye.
Easter nest with egg
Cut dough in half and make two rolls. Twist the rolls around each other and form a nest. Use a hardboiled, un-dyed egg for baking. Rub the egg with oil and place it in the middle of the dough nest. If you want, you can replace the egg with a dyed egg after baking.
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