Zopf (Swiss Braided Bread)

swissbread

Having a whole weekend off is a bit of a rarity now that uni is over (for good, for ever, I graduated!) and casual work means days off here and there, rather than two sandwiched together. In my book Saturdays are for the markets, food shopping and organisation but I really value the elusive Lazy Sunday. Lie in, snacking so much that lunch isn’t necessary, baking and watching SBS Pop Asia. Have you ever caught an episode? It’s all the most popular songs from Japan, Korea and China and oh my, is it fun. They still have boy or girl groups with 10 members and there are video clips with at least 5 outfit changes for each member. Sundays at 4:00pm on SBS 2 if you feel adventurous.

The sister’s boyf was in town and I promised him ages ago that I would give this bread a go, he was so keen that he did the recipe hunting for me. There are no preservatives so it will stay soft for 2 days max, but slice it up and you’ve got some mad toast (I ate mine with cheese and honey, new favourite combo). It’s an easy loaf for beginner’s (except if you’re crap at braiding) and results in a soft white-bread texture that is great with jam or just plain, salty butter. For best results make sure that you’re watching Little Shop of Horrors while kneading. Steve Martin playing a sadistic dentist, what more do you need on a Sunday?

Zopf (Swiss Braided Bread)

Recipe adapted a little bit from Zopf (Zupf) – Swiss Braided Bread over at Chef in You.

3 3/4 cups bread flour

1 tsp salt

1 tsp honey

1 cup milk

4 tbsp butter

1 tbsp dry yeast

1 egg

Whisk together the flour and salt in a large mixing bowl.

In a small saucepan combine the honey, milk and butter, place over low heat until the butter has just melted.

Transfer to a small mixing bowl and whisk in the yeast, allow to rest until foamy.

Make a well in the flour mixture and pour in the wet mixture as well as the egg, mix until it all combines to form a rough dough.

Transfer to a lightly floured surface and knead until the dough becomes smooth and elastic.

Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap, allow to sit for 2 hours or until doubled in size.

Grease a large baking sheet to plait the dough on.

Punch the air out of the dough and divide into 3 even pieces, roll them into 3 ropes of equal length (about 60 com long).

Arrange the ropes parallel on the prepared baking sheet, press the ends of the ropes together then plait gently, press the other end of the ropes together and tuck the ends under the loaf (for step by step pictures have a look at the original recipe).

Cover loosely with greased cling film and allow to rise for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 190 C while the dough is resting.

Bake for 25-30 minutes until the loaf is lightly browned (brush the dough with egg yolk for a shiny crust or with milk like I did).

Allow to cool on a wire rack.

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