In the latest season of The Great British Baking Show, there was one week that was dedicated to German desserts. I couldn't have been more excited because I was going to visit Germany soon after. As soon as I got to the country, I made it my mission to try as many desserts and bread as I could. In the end, I discovered some wonderful treats including poppy seed streusel bread. So, in honor of Germany, here is my recreation. Imagine tender bread rolled with a sweet poppy seed filling and baked with a buttery streusel and that's what you have here. It's quite lovely if I do say so myself!
Poppy Seed Streusel Bread
- ¾ cup warm milk, between 100-110 degrees F (187 ml)
- 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 1 ½ teaspoon active dry yeast (5 grams)
- 3 cups all-purpose flour (444 grams)
- ¼ cup granulated sugar (50 grams)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ⅓ cup softened butter (75 grams)
- 1 large egg
- 1 cup poppy seeds (135 grams)
- ½ cup milk (125 ml)
- ½ cup granulated sugar (100 grams)
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- egg wash (1 large egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water)
- ¾ cup all-purpose flour (111 grams)
- ¼ cup brown sugar (50 grams)
- ¼ cup butter, melted (57 grams)
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- pinch of salt
- powdered sugar for dusting
- Make the dough. Combine warm milk with 1 teaspoon sugar and yeast and let sit for 5 minutes or until foamy.
- Add flour, ¼ cup sugar, salt, softened butter, and egg to the bowl of a stand mixer. Add yeast mixture and mix to combine. Use dough hook and knead until smooth, about 7-8 minutes. Alternatively, knead the dough by hand. Transfer to a clean bowl and cover. Let rise in a warm area until doubled, about 1 hour.
- Meanwhile, make poppyseed filling. Use spice mill or coffee grinder to grind the poppy seeds to a powder. Combine milk and sugar in a small pot and bring to a simmer over low heat. Turn off the heat and add ground poppy seeds, lemon zest, and vanilla, stirring to combine. Let cool completely.
- Prepare streusel. Combine flour with brown sugar, melted butter, cinnamon, and a pinch of salt in a medium bowl until well combined. Set aside.
- Punch down dough. Lightly dust a clean work counter with flour and roll out dough until it's 18x12 inches. Spread poppyseed filling evenly on top and roll it into an 18-inch long log starting with the long side. Place log with the seam side down on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Brush with egg wash and gently press the streusel on the top, lightly flattening the log. Loosely cover and let rise for 20 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Bake bread for 40-50 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool completely. Dust poppy seed streusel bread with powdered sugar, slice, and serve.
**Helpful tips and common mistakes
During my research, I was unable to find the recipe for the exact bread I tried in Germany. So, I took my basic enriched dough recipe, added a poppy seed filling and a basic streusel, and combined it all in one. I'm happy to say, it was a success!
To make the enriched dough, first, activate the yeast by combining it with warm milk and a touch of sugar. Once the yeast becomes foamy, add it to the remaining ingredients and knead the dough until smooth.
Cover the dough and let it proof in a warm area until it's doubled in size. If your kitchen is particularly chill, this could take longer than one hour. Enriched dough, in general, takes longer to rise so having a cold kitchen will also lengthen that time.
While the dough is proofing, make the poppy seed filling. If possible, try to find fresh poppy seeds. Stale poppy seeds taste, well, awful and will completely ruin the bread. I heard that ordering them online is risky so just be aware.
Grind the poppy seeds with a coffee grinder or spice mill until finely ground. Yes, you will need a coffee grinder to get the right consistency. I tried using a blender or food processor but the seeds are too small so they won't grind properly.
Heat milk with sugar just until it starts to simmer and the sugar melts. Add the poppy seeds, vanilla, and lemon zest off the heat and stir to combine. As the filling cools, the seeds will soak up the milk and become a paste.
Next, make the streusel. This is a basic streusel that combines melted butter with sugar, flour, cinnamon, and a pinch of salt. I like to use melted butter because it makes it easier to combine everything together.
Now, roll out the dough on a floured counter until it's about 18x12 inches. Spread the filling evenly over the dough, then roll it up so that you end up with an 18-inch log.
Place the log on a lined baking sheet with the seam side facing down. Then, brush egg wash on the top and gently press the streusel on top. The egg wash will help the streusel stick, but you want to gently press down on it too. Just in case.
Proof the dough once more for 20 minutes and then bake the poppy seed streusel bread until golden brown.
Let the bread cool, then sprinkle a generous amount of powdered sugar on top before slicing and serving.
I'll admit, I was a little scared cutting into this bread. Okay, I was a lot scared. I didn't know how it was going to look inside; luckily, it was a success! The poppy seed streusel bread had that perfect swirl with an even amount of filling throughout.
Not only did the bread look great, but it also tasted wonderful. The crumb is light and airy while the filling is not overly sweet and the streusel is the perfect crumble. I think Germany would be proud!
For more sweet bread inspiration check out this mocha walnut bread!