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Zurich rose fountains

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In the week leading up to Easter, starting on Palm Sunday, the Reformist Church in Zurich fills up several fountains in the Old Town with roses, accompanied by the motto “No roses without thorns.” This was started during the pandemic as a way to celebrate Holy Week together and to bring hope and peace during uncertain times.  It has now become a tradition to bring color and life into the Old Town.

I took the girls on the first day, and we had fun locating the fountains as it was like a scavenger hunt of sorts. I am quite bad at following the directions on Google Maps, and we inevitably made wrong turns, but eventually we found all four fountains.

Fountain at Helmhaus; at right, fountain at Munzplatz*
From left, baked bunny bun; step 1 – roll into U and cross; step 2 – twist to form ears; and step 3 – add tail*

With Easter coming up, I thought it appropriate to share this Easter-themed treat. I made these buns for the girls and their friends, and it was a hit!

Easter Bunny Buns

(makes 10 bunnies)

Ingredients:

7g (2 ¼ tsp) instant yeast

2 tbsp warm water (between 37°C to 43°C)

240g (2 cups) bread flour

240g (2 cups) all-purpose flour

50g (1/4 cup) white sugar

7g (heaped 1 tsp) fine sea salt

75g (around 5 ½ tbsp) butter, softened to room temperature

220g (1 cup less 2 tbsp) warm milk

40g (around 3 tbsp) sour cream* (if unavailable, substitute with additional milk)

1 large egg, at room temperature

1 tsp vanilla extract

For the egg wash:

1 egg yolk

1 tbsp milk

Method:

1. Blooming the yeast: In a small bowl, combine 2 tablespoons of warm water with a pinch of sugar and the instant yeast. Stir to combine and set aside. The water should be warm to the touch but not hot, as hot water can kill the yeast. Allow the mixture to sit until it becomes frothy and bubbly, indicating that the yeast is active.

2. Making the dough: In the bowl of a stand mixer or a large bowl if kneading by hand, mix together the flours, sugar, and salt. Add the butter in chunks and using the paddle attachment of the stand mixer or your hands, incorporate the butter into the flour until well combined. Create a well in the center of the mixture and add in the warm milk, sour cream, egg, vanilla extract, and bloomed yeast. Mix well with the paddle attachment or a wooden spoon until a dough forms. Cover the bowl and let it rest for 30 minutes to give the gluten development a head start, making kneading easier.

3. Kneading: After 30 minutes, knead the dough using the hook attachment for about 5 minutes, or knead manually for around 10 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic. To test if the dough is properly kneaded, perform the windowpane test: take a small piece of dough and stretch it gently until it forms a thin, translucent membrane without tearing.

4. First Proof: Place the kneaded dough in a greased bowl, cover it with a clean kitchen towel and let it rise in a warm place for about 45 minutes to 1.5 hours, or until doubled in size.

5. Shaping: Once the dough has doubled in size, punch it down and divide it into 11 pieces, each weighing around 85 grams, except for the last one which will be slightly bigger. Take the last piece of dough and divide it into 10 small pieces, each weighing around 10 grams. Shape into balls and let them rest for 10 minutes on a lightly oiled surface. After the rest, shape the bunnies by rolling out a large dough piece into a long rope, approximately 35 to 40 cm long. Then form a “U” shape with both ends and, leaving a small hole in the middle, cross the tops and twist to create the ears. Place a small dough ball in the middle. Repeat with remaining dough. Arrange the shaped bunnies on a lined baking tray.

6. Second Proof: Allow the shaped bunnies to rise for an additional 30 minutes to 1 hour, or until they hold an indentation when lightly pressed.

7. Baking: Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F). In a small bowl, whisk together the egg yolk and milk to make the egg wash. Brush the risen bunnies with the egg wash and bake in the preheated oven for 18 to 20 minutes, or until they are golden brown and sound hollow when tapped on the bottom.

8. Enjoy! Serve the bunnies warm or at room temperature, and enjoy the adorable and delicious treat!*

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