🐰 Easter Bunny Rolls = The Best Easter Baking Idea
I first came across these Easter bunny rolls (aka Zopfhasen) while I was traveling to Switzerland back in April 2017. Switzerland is one of my favorite countries, apart from Iceland. During my time in Switzerland, I got the chance to celebrate Easter with some of my newly met Swiss friends. And it was one of my most unforgettable and pleasant Easter I have ever had. They organized a vegan Easter potluck and everything was so delicious. But the first thing that caught my eyes was definitely those cute little Easter bunny rolls. Being born and bred in Hong Kong, Easter is never a big thing in our household. Therefore, I didn’t even know those lovely Zopfhasen does exist!
Ever since that trip, I have been meaning to recreate my own version of those bunny rolls. However, since I was either too busy before Easter or have totally forgotten about it, it took me 4 years to finally bite the bullet and make them!
Sourdough Bunny Anpan
As you may already know, I am a huge fan of sourdough. From sourdough cinnamon rolls, 100% whole grain sourdough to super fluffy vegan shokupan, I pretty much only bake with sourdough starter these days. The unique flavor of sourdough is definitely second to none! Once you learn how to make and maintain your own sourdough starter, you won’t go back to baking with yeast.
The dough of these rolls is very similar to the one I used for my vegan shokupan. For the filling of these buns, you can of course stick with the Easter theme and stuff them with chocolate. However, as the bread dough is inspired by the Japanese bread, I wanted to create a Japanese style Zopfhasen. Hence, I used red bean paste (aka anko). Anko is a Japanese sweet red bean paste made from azuki beans. It is the most common filling used in many Japanese sweets such as daifuku and dorayaki. And Anpan refers to rolls or buns that are stuffed with anko. You can use store-bought anko in this recipe, but I prefer making my own. I will be including my anko recipe below in case you want to make your own red bean paste.
These sourdough Easter bunny rolls have the texture that resemble most Japanese bread – super soft and fluffy. As I learned more about sourdough baking over the past year, I came across the Yudane Method. Yudane method is the secret to make a soft and fluffy Japanese style bread. In order to bake using this method, you simply mix an equal portion of flour and boiling water. The effect of adding boiling water to flour is that it gelatinises the starch. The gelatinised starch will allow the starch to absorb more water, and thus enhancing the sweetness of the bread.
Yudane method is in fact similar to the Tangzhong method I used in my vegan sourdough shokupan recipe. Unlike the 1:1 flour-to-water ratio in Yudane method, the Tangzhong mixture is made by heating up a mixture of flour and water in the ratio of 1:5 to 65°C.
Interested in Yudane Method? Take a look at my other recipes using yudane.
- The best vegan challah
- Double chocolate sourdough babka rolls
- Sourdough matcha babka
- Vegan sourdough shokupan
- Sourdough cinnamon rolls
Easter Bunny Rolls with Red Bean Paste (Zopfhasen)Course: Baked Goods, Bread, Desserts / Snacks / Cakes, Festive, SourdoughCuisine: Swiss, JapaneseDifficulty: Easy
These Easter bunny rolls are super easy and fun to make, definitely a perfect Easter baking idea!
- Stiff Levain (Prepare at 4pm)
60g stiff starter (50% hydration)
60g bread flour
- Yudane (Prepare at 4pm)
60g bread flour
60g boiling water
- Dough (Mix at 8pm)
200g bread flour
25g sugar (I used coconut sugar)
125g stiff levain from above
25g vegan butter
All of the yudane from above
- Anko (Red Bean Paste)
1 cup adzuki beans (soaked overnight)
1/2 cup liquid sweetener (I used agave syrup)
1/2 cup water
- “Egg” Wash
1 Tbsp maple syrup
1 Tbsp soy milk
- At 4pm, refresh your stiff levain and leave it to rise until doubled or even tripled at. It usually takes 3-4 hours at 82°F (28°C).
- While you are waiting for the stiff levain to rise, add 60g boiling water to 60g bread flour. Leave it aside to cool completely.
- At around 8pm, when the levain is ready to use, place all of the ingredients (except butter) into the bowl of your stand mixer. Using the hook attachment, knead for about 5 minutes until the dough comes together and forms a dough ball.
- Gradually add in vegan butter and continue knead for 10 – 15 more minutes or until reach window pane stage.
- Cover and let it rest for 2.5 hours at room temperature.
- Place the dough the the fridge overnight (8-12 hours).
- The next morning, take the dough out from the fridge. Let it come to room temperature for about 1 hour.
- Divide the dough into 6 x 40g (body), 6 x 30g (head), 6 x 20g (ears) and 6 x 3g (tails) dough balls. Let it rest for 15 minutes.
- For the bunny body, simply flatten the 40g dough ball, wrap 1 Tbsp of anko in dough and roll it into a ball. Make sure you pinch the seam closed, otherwise the anko may burst out after baking.
- Attach the heads to the bodies of each bunny by firmly pressing them together.
- For the ears, roll the 20g dough balls into a boule. Attach it on top of the head of the bunny, then using a pair of scissors, cut cut an incision in the middle of the dough 3/4 down the length of the dough to form the ears.
- Decorate the eyes using chocolate chips, raisins or anything that is round and dark color. Here I used dried lingonberries.
- Brush the bunny rolls with “egg” wash. Cover and let it rise for another 2-3 hours, until they are puffy and almost doubled in size.
- Preheat oven at 350°F (175°C). Brush with egg wash again.
- Bake in a preheated oven for about 15 minutes. Rotate the tray halfway to ensure they are evenly baked.
- Anko (Red Bean Paste)
- Steam the adzuki beans for 40 minutes, I used a rice cooker. Let it sit for 30 minutes after the 40 minutes of steaming using the retaining heat.
- Repeat step 1 for one more time. The adzuki beans should be soft and will break easily when pressed between your fingers.
- After the beans are completely cooled. Press them against a fine sieve to remove the skin from the flesh.
- Once you have removed all the skins, add the red bean mash to a pot, together with 1/2 cup of agave syrup and 1/2 cup of water. Bring it to a boil, then turn to low heat and simmer. Be sure to stir it occasionally to prevent it from burning. Once it achieved your desired consistency (mine took around 30 minutes), remove the pan from the heat and leave it to cool completely. The paste will thicken once it’s cooled.