I’ve never made the bread equivalent of a braid of hair before.
Though I make challah and other lovely enriched breads regularly, I’ve never made zopf before. Zopf is a traditional Swiss Sunday bread that appears to have an interesting story behind it, as with all great breads. The story goes that widows used to cut off a braid of their hair to be buried with their husbands, but this gradually evolved into burying a loaf that is braided like their hair would be.
I’m delighted to share with you a recipe from Salome’s mother. Salome is a young, very talented Swiss baker whose breads look mouthwateringly delicious! She was also kind to post her recipes on The Fresh Loaf for all of us to try and has recently started her own blog at OvenTV. I’m looking forward to reading more about her baking adventures in her future posts.
This version of zopf is not sweetened so Salome explains that it will pair well with butter/jam, butter/honey, butter/cheese, and more cheese, and again more cheese or even dried meat. I had it plain too and it was every bit as good as with blackberry jam. And honey. And butter. And cheese.
Salome’s Mom’s Zopf
From the original TFL post, here.
Makes two large loaves.
- 900 g all-purpose flour or bread flour
- 100 g whole wheat flour
- 50g unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- 150g Quark* (I used homemade whole milk yogurt)
- 1 large egg
- 20g salt
- 40g fresh yeast (I used 20g active dry yeast)
- 1 tbsp glucose (I used honey)
- 500mL milk (I used whole milk)
- 1 egg yolk, lightly beaten + 1 tbsp little water for the egg wash
*Quark is a fresh cheese common in Europe, and much less so in the States or Canada. Salome suggests if you can’t find Quark, you could substitute with whole milk ricotta or whole milk yogurt, which is what I used.
- Mix the yeast with a little bit of the milk and the sugar. When dissolved, add the rest of the milk.
- Add the flour, the egg, the Quark and the butter pieces into a mixing bowl.
- Add the milk mixture and knead the dough in a machine or by hand to a smooth dough. Add some flour or additional milk during the mixing, if required.
- Let the dough double in size in a nice, warm, draft-free spot. This took around 90min. for me. I put mine in a bowl, covered, and also gave it a fold halfway through (at the 45min. mark).
- Divide the dough into two pieces, and braid the Zopf. I gave the traditional two-stranded braid a whirl: you can look it up in Hamelman’s Bread on p.297 or watch this video with funky music to boot. I think my strands could probably have been rolled out a little more though because my loaves ended up very “stumpy”!
- Let the dough rise under a piece of cloth. When the dough seems to be ready (little less than double in volume – this took me around 45min.), brush it with the egg wash.
- Bake in 400°F until the zopf seems to be ready, around 40min. (Since my oven is small and the loaves nearly filled up my entire pan by the end of the final proof, I was concerned that 400F might scorch the ends of my zopf before the inside was fully baked. I ended up baking them at 350F for 40-45min. instead, until the bread was a nice, golden brown and sounded hollow when tapped on the bottom.)
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This is my submission for BBD#23 – “something you’ve never made before”
I’m sending this zopf to Nick of imafoodblog for hosting BBD23, the BBD founder Zorra of 1x umrühren bitte, Salome at OvenTV for graciously sharing her mother’s wonderful recipe, and Susan at Wild Yeast for YeastSpotting.
Update: the roundup has been posted.