Zopf – Swiss Braided Bread


In this post you will find one version of the traditional “Zopf”. This bread is eaten mostly on Sunday for breakfast with butter (or margarine), honey and jam.

We are used to prepare 8 breads with 2000 g of flour using a big food processor; you can prepare this by hand as well. We freeze the breads and defrost them when we need them in the oven (microwave + fan forced air) or brushing it with water and defrosted in the oven for about 10 minutes to 350°F/180°C. Yes, we place this in the cold oven while heating.

You will notice that the quantities are not proportional because I did not discard ½ egg converting to from the 1000g flour recipe to 500g. For 1000 g flour I used 1/2 portion fresh yeast (1 portion = 45 g).

If you don’t use fresh yeast you can use instant dried yeast 1 teaspoon for each 1 pound of flour.

Note: for every  500 g four I prepare 2 Zopf, because this is the quantity that we need for one breakfast; you can prepare a bigger only one with 500 g flour, but you will need to increase the baking time.

You need

Metric US-Mesurements Ingredient Metric 2 fold! Metric 4 fold!
250 ml 1 1/16 cup lukewarm milk 500 ml 1000 ml
50 g 1/4 cup margarine 100 g 200 g
1/2-1 tablespoon 1 tablespoon sugar 1-2 tablespoon 2-4 tablespoon
1/2 teaspoon 1/2 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon 2 teaspoon
10-15 g 2 teaspoons fresh yeast 20 g 45 g
1 1 egg yolks 1 2
500 g 3 2/3 cup flour 1000 g 2000 g
1 1 egg whites 1 2
1 tablespoon 1 tablespoon water 1 tablespoon 1 tablespoon


  1. Heat the milk until lukewarm.
  2. Add margarine, sugar, salt, yeast and egg (but reserve 1 egg white for glaze). Stir through.
  3. Now add half of the flour. Stir and work until flour is incorporated.
  4. At  this point add remaining flour and work kneading it through.
  5. When the dough has pulled together and becomes smooth and elastic the dough is ready.
  6. Let rest for 30 minutes to 2 hours. This step is not necessary but will improve the texture and the flavor.
  7. Dived each dough portion of 500g flour into 4 strains and roll each piece into about 80 cm/ 30 inches long strain.
  8. To form one Zopf your need 2 stains.
  9. Braid the pieces together and place on a lightly greased baking sheet. I found in youtube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lcPnB0Sgc-Q) a good video showing the method with two strains: Or follow this sequence:
  10. In a small bowl combine egg white and water and brush the bread with this mixture.
  11. Let the dough rest after forming for 90 – 120 minutes until it doubles in size.
  12. Bake in the preheated oven at 180°C/350°F for 20 to 25 minutes until golden.
  13. Let cool down enjoy or freeze them!

 With thinner ends the effect will be different:


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