Swiss Braided Bread

This is a bread recipe I’ve only made a couple times, but it’s becoming one of my favorites. Now that the weather is cooler, I’m enjoying making bread again, and filling the house with its wonderful aroma while it’s baking. Swiss Braided Bread, also known as Zopf, has been around since the mid 15th century, and is traditionally eaten in Switzerland on Sunday mornings. So let’s gather the ingredients together.

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Ingredients:

1 pkg of dry yeast

1 ¼ cups milk

3 ½ cups flour

1 ½ teaspoons salt

4 tablespoons butter (1/2 stick)

1 teaspoon sugar

Prep: 3 hours | Baking: 40 Minutes | Difficulty: Easy

Yield: 1 Loaf

First, put 2 cups of the flour, salt, yeast, and sugar in a large mixing bowl and stir well.

Microwave the butter until just soft. Mine went a little too long, but it’s ok.

Put the butter into the dry mixture and stir well. It will be crumbly.

Microwave the milk until it’s between 110 and 120 degrees F.  Use a candy thermometer to measure the temperature. Add the milk to the bowl, and stir until smooth.

Add the rest of the flour, and stir until well combined.

The dough will be stiff.

Now it’s time to knead the dough. Sprinkle some flour on your work surface.

Start kneading the dough. This is done by folding the dough over on itself,

pressing down with the heel of your hand,

turning the dough 1/4 turn,

and then repeating the procedure over and over again. If it gets sticky, sprinkle a little flour over the dough. Knead for 10 minutes. This builds gluten which becomes the support structure for your loaf,  ensuring that your bread will rise and turn out right. After kneading, it will look like this.

Put the dough in a greased bowl, and cover loosely with plastic wrap.

Then cover with a towel to keep warm. Allow to rise until the dough is double in size.

Uncover the dough, and punch it down with your fist to get rid of all the big air bubbles.

Turn the dough out on your work surface, form into a square with your hands, and then cut into 3 strips with a sharp knife.

Roll each strip to form a 16 inch long rope.

Pinch together the 3 ropes at one end,

and then braid the ropes together.

When done braiding, pinch the ends together and turn under. Using both hands, place the loaf into a greased cookie sheet.

Cover loosely with plastic wrap and a towel, and allow to rise for about a half hour. It should be several inches longer.

Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees F for 40 minutes.

Brush with melted butter, or take a shortcut, and just take a pat or two of butter and melt it all over the bread. This adds flavor and also softens the crust.

I toasted mine the next morning for breakfast, and spread it with more butter. Ummm….something’s missing.

Ah, homemade plum jelly.

Mmmm…

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——>  Up Next: Hot air balloons launch at the annual Topeka Huff’n Puff Balloon Rally.

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Suzanne

Cattle, corn, wheat, beans, mud, snow, ice, and drought. Plenty of fresh air and quiet. Our life is sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes joyous, but never boring.

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32 Responses

  1. Shonneky says:

    That’s a beautiful loaf of bread. I will definitely be making this….Thanks for posting it!

  2. rebecca says:

    looks deeeeeeeeelicious.

  3. Sharon says:

    You make this look so easy that I think I’ll have to give it a try later in the fall. Only problem is that someone (me) will eat the whole thing at my place. The cat and dog can’t open the cupboard!

    • Suzanne says:

      Hi Sharon,
      It is easy, and fun too. I took that loaf to work to share with my co-workers. It was gone by the end of the day.

  4. Going to make this tomorrow! Looks so tasty toasted with butter and homemade jam!

    Thanks for the recipe,

    -kristina-

  5. Melanie says:

    Looks yummy!! I have been experimenting with more fresh breads–doing french bread last spring several times, with several different recipe combos to get the right one. And a couple weeks ago I tried PW’s raisin bread–I’m sure you saw the post–and doubled it, cause we have a lot of mouths here! I BROKE my kitchen aid mixer of 15 years during the kneading 🙁 But the bread was GREAT!! Think I’ll get a new/improved mixer now!!Enjoy that fresh bread and homemade jelly–it don’t get NO better than that!!

    • Suzanne says:

      Hi Melanie,
      I saw PW’s post, and have been wanting to make raisin bread ever since then. Never tried to make french bread – will have to give that a try.

  6. Stephanie says:

    Suzanne, looks easy but I have failures in making bread before. I’ll try this one when I have a chance. Thanks for the recipe and showing the steps 😀

  7. Christina says:

    This looks incredible. Your detailed photos are wonderful as usual. And wow what a good looking braid! I am inspired!

  8. Teresa says:

    That looks so yummy. It makes me wish I had the time to bake a loaf.

  9. Julie, Farmer in California says:

    Emmm. Looks delish. Will have to try the recipe. Doesnt look too difficult. Nothing like homemade bread baking in the oven, huh? Good job. Gonna try it.

  10. Your bread turned out beautifully! I can tell you are definately a great baker! I love homemade bread as well. I especially love braided bread…it just lends that magical touch and makes it look so much more inviting!! I will definately try your recipe for this.
    P.S. There was mention about Pioneer Woman’s cinnamon raisin bread in the comments above….I tried that recipe and it was absolutely divine!!! so perfect! I can’t wait to make it again. I didn’t put raisins in mine though.

    • Suzanne says:

      Hi Bonnie,
      I love making bread. It’s one of my favorite foods to bake, and it’s not hard – really. I used to think it was, but when I tried it, it wasn’t bad at all. Do try this recipe, and let me know how it goes for you.

  11. Doe of Mi. says:

    Oh Geeeeeez that smells sooooo good!
    And oh yea we get to try out the new
    plum jelly. So yummy!

  12. GinMT says:

    Oh YUM! And is that your plum preserves I see?

    Glendus

  13. Elaine Snively says:

    Warm bread spread with real butter. Yum! Wish I had some wild strawberry jam.

  14. Marlene Arnold says:

    I live in a suburb of Raleigh, NC, but have family in Kansas. Was delighted to stumble onto your site.

    This bread really makes the rounds. I make an almost identical loaf (which is called Challah) every Friday for our Jewish sabbath. There are a few changes because of our dietary requirements.

    Since we do not serve anything containing dairy products at a meal when meat is served, my recipe uses water with oil and eggs for added richness. And for a “sweet Shabbat” I add 3 tablespoons of sugar. For special holidays, I add 1/3 cup of golden raisins and 1/4 teaspoon of allspice to the flour mixture. Each cook has her own variations.

    I believe the background is probably the same for both our special treats. Tradition has it that our Jewish braided bread is an adaptation of a loaf that developed in Germany in the fifteenth century.

    I love you blog! Keep up the good work.

    • Suzanne says:

      Thank you Marlene for sharing your variations on this bread. I’ll have to try the raisins and allspice. And thank you for visiting!

  15. Beatrice says:

    Why not eating fresh.. why did you toast it?? You should eat it fresh. In stead of milk on the top, you can glaze it with a battered egg, before baking , the color will be stunning.
    Then it is even ore Swiss bread.
    Greetings from Switzerland

  16. Peter says:

    Made this loaf last night, delicious. Looking forward to some sandwiches tomorrow made with what is left (hopefully there will be some left). Love all the photos too, really helped along the way!

  17. Rebecca says:

    Looks great 🙂

  18. skperdon says:

    Mmmmm! I just made this loaf. It’s not completely cooled, but my husband has been slicing and buttering and munching. Guess I have to make another loaf tomorrow. Thanks for the step by step recipe and pics.

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