Swiss Zopf Bread

This morning my house was filled with the smell of fresh yeast as I was baking a braided bread. I learned this recipe while living in Switzerland. It is a very popular treat that you can buy in any local bakery especially for your Saturday morning breakfast.

Ingredients

  • 1 kg flour (I used half white, half whole wheat flour)
  •  4 tsp yeast
  • 125ml milk
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1/2 l milk
  • 100 ml water
  • 100g butter (at room temperature)
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1 egg mixed with 1 tsp. vegetable oil.

Preparation

Pour the flour in a big bowl and make a hole in the middle. Add the yeast and 1 tsp. of sugar, mix with 125ml lukewarm milk and let sit at least 15 minutes so the yeast can proof. Bubbles rising up indicates that your dough is ready.
Add cut butter and salt. While mixing with your hand gradually add milk, just enough to make a smooth dough. Knead and beat the dough until it has a silky consistency for about 10 minutes.  Cover and let sit for 1.5 hours at a warm place.

Now the braiding begins. I cut the dough in four pieces and made two braids, each with two strands, folded over so you can form a four stranded braid. Take a minute to watch this great video that explains how to do better than I did.

After braiding brush some egg mixture on top and bake for 40-45 minutes at 200˚C in the middle of the oven. Your bread is well baked if it sounds hollow when you knock at the bottom

For our Easter Sunday breakfast I recently bought these little Easter bunnies made from the same dough at a farmers market. Aren’t they cute?

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