Swiss style buttery braided bread (Zopf)

One of the first things I have tasted and loved when I was a wee person was the traditional buttery Swiss bread called ‘Züpfe’ or ‘Zopf’.
My dad used to indulge us with a classic style ‘Züpfe’, which means that he used just the basic ingredients. Other varieties are composed by adding additional ingredients such as bacon or ham and cheese or naturally a variety or herbs even a layer of pesto is delicious and lets not forget the sweet types with apricot and curd for example. Yum.
This has one very important reason. The dough needs not just to be kneaded, but to be properly beaten. The more strength one has to bash the dough around, the better result.

züpfe ingerients


500 g all-purpose flour (or if you can get your hands on, ‘Zopf flour’)

1,5 teaspoons of salt

1 teaspoon sugar

60 g soft butter

15 g yeast

3 dl milk

1 egg

Add the flour to a large bowl. I tend to use a flour sifter in order to great a smoother result in the end, but this is entirely optional. Add the salt and sugar and the soft butter in flakes. Then dissolve the yeast in a different in the milk. I would use warm milk, so not straight from the fridge, but do not heat the milk in a pan, if you have forgotten to take it out of the fridge in time. Just use the cold milk.

Once the yeast is dissolved (just use a spoon to swirl it around the milk) make a crater in the middle of the flour bowl and add the liquids there, then start to knead and bash the dough until it’s soft and smooth. Leave it to rise for about and hour and cover the bowl with a wet towel.

When the dough has risen cut it in half and make two equal strands, which are thicker in the middle. Braid them and apply two coats of beaten egg onto the bread. This way it’ll get shinier.

Bake for 35 – 45 minutes at 220° in a non-preheated oven.

To make sure the bread is thoroughly baked, it should sound hollow when tapped at the lower side.