The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Zopf or Swiss Sunday Bread

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tssaweber's picture
tssaweber

Zopf or Swiss Sunday Bread

 


Chouette22 posted a couple of weeks ago pictures of her Zopf (http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/13045/hello-switzerland-celebration-bread-and-zopf). In a reply to my post she mentioned that eggs in this bead would make it dryer or stale faster. This motivated me to experiment with my recipe, with the goal to have at the end a fully understood, easy to use and "Americanized" recipe.


To have a solid and accepted expert on my side I used Dan DiMuzio's book, "Bread Baking" to support my testing. On page 138 he defines rich dough and the effect of fat, eggs and sugar in dough. This was a good start as Zopf has all this ingredients in it. Sugar seems to be the least influential with just a little bit more than 2%, but butter (11%) eggs (14%) and to some degree milk(fat) certainly do have an impact. I also wanted to see what the difference between AP and Bread flour would be.


Zopf is the favorite bread of my younger son, so he was very supportive of this idea. He promised his friends in school to bring an entire loaf for lunch and that this bread would beat every other dad's bread. I don't know how many other dads of his friends are baking but I like that it is embedded in him that not only moms are baking and cooking.   


Using my usual recipe I had to adjust the hydration significantly using AP flour otherwise the dough would have been too wet to braid. The final result was ok from an appearance perspective but did taste too much like "normal" white bread and with the additional flour was also much dryer.


Not adding the eggs was a little bit trickier. Eggs are contributing to the hydration but also add fat and strength to the dough. I decided to substitute 75 % of the egg weight with ¾ milk and ¼ water. The dough turned out wetter than usual and I had a difficult time to roll the two strands for braiding. The final bread had less oven spring and turned out a little bit less roundish than usual. The crumb was denser and whither in color. The taste of the bread was even more like white bread.


It seems to me that adding eggs makes Zopf heavier and gives it the crumb structure I like. It also allows for more liquid without impacting the final result.


I will stick with my ingredients but have changed the process to make it easier to assemble the dough. First I add butter, salt (to make sure I don't' forget it again) and brown sugar, zero out the scale, add hot water to soften the butter, then the two eggs and with the cold milk I get to the correct total amount of liquid to balance the varying weight of the eggs. After that I add the flour and the yeast and knead 3 to 4 min on speed one and another couple of minutes, depending on how the dough develops, on speed two of my KitchenAid. 3 stretch and folds with 45 min rest, after the 3rd st&f I divide the dough, braid it and proof for 20 min. Bake for 25 min at 375˚F (convection). The bread should reach 200˚F interior temperature.


Thomas


And here the final result:





For those interested in the recipe you can print or download it here:


http://tssaweber.com/WP/thomas-bread-secrets/zopf/


The spreadsheet lets you adjust the final dough weight.

Comments

chouette22's picture
chouette22

... that I'll be perfecting (or let's say, question) my age-old Zopf family recipe on an American/International baking site. I just LOVE these forums!! And I don't remember if my mom said that eggs made a Zopf drier and stale faster than without, or if I read it somewhere. But I took it at face-value and never bothered to question it. Live and learn! :)


Wonderful results! And I defintely have to try your recipe (I have made Zopf several times since our last 'conversation' here, but was always somewhat in a hurry and just stuck to what I knew would work for me. My 15 year-old son had three friends here for a sleepover two weeks ago and wanted me to make a huge Zopf for their breakfast. They devoured the entire thing!).


Thanks for your experiments!

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

Lovely loaves!  Great looking braids.  I'm not familar with Zopf!  But it sounds a bit like challah which my family enjoys.  I'll have to put it on my to do list!


Sylvia

tat62@comcast.net's picture
tat62@comcast.net

I'm very excited to see this discussion of Zopf!  I had asked about it a few times about a year ago and no one was familiar.  We have a close family friend who lives in Zurich and this is the bread she bakes for every Sunday.  She also bakes it for us when she visits.  It's routine for her to bring us 3-4 bags of Zopf flour to hold me over until I see her again!


When I look at the zopf flour bag it shows that the flour is 10% spelt flour.  When I run out of the latest supply she brought me, I plan on mixing American bread flour w/10% spelt flour.  Anyone have success with this blend?


A short funny story...the first time our friend baked Zopf for us, my kids were eager to cut into the bread while it was still warm.  Poor Gabriela about fainted...she couldn't imagine eating Zopf (or any bread) warm!  Our kids respected her explanation and now only eat their Zopf completely cooled.


Terri


 


 

tssaweber's picture
tssaweber

I hope your friend gets never stopped by the "nice" customs officer, she/he could be in trouble big time.


It would be interesting to hear from you and your kids what the differences are of both recipes. Let us know, if you have time to bake this formula.


BTW my wife is from Zürich too.


Thomas

tat62@comcast.net's picture
tat62@comcast.net

Last year my son and I traveled to see our friend.  When my son left, his suitcase was packed with baking supplies...flour, measuring cups, cocoa, etc. and his bag was opened and searched in Zurich.  I was heading to Budapest and didn't see it happen, but my son said the agent stating that "someone must like to bake" and they repacked it all in his suitcase and let him go. 


I will make the effort to bake the all-purpose/spelt blend soon.


Now if I could find a great spot for Swiss raclette cheese (I can only find French) and Appenzeller cheese, I would be happy!


Terri


 


 


 

tssaweber's picture
tssaweber

I guess the U.S. customs is more the problem.


I have a friend who orders from time to time Swiss cheese, I will ask the next time I see him where he gets it from


Thomas

tssaweber's picture
tssaweber

Zopf has milk and butter in it and is not sweet. Challah is made with oil and no milk.


I've never baked Challah, but it would be interesting to hear about the differences when you bake it.


Thomas

tssaweber's picture
tssaweber

Chouette22,


I look forward to hearing about your experiences when you have the time for experiments and yes Zopf never gets stale in our house too.


Thomas

tat62@comcast.net's picture
tat62@comcast.net

Thomas, thank you so much for your prompt replies this evening.  I enjoyed looking around your blog.  I noted that your zopf recipe differs from my friend's recipe in 2 ways...your recipe has brown sugar and her recipe has no sugar at all and your recipe uses milk and water and her recipe uses milk only.  I'll have to try the addition of the brown sugar and try to taste the difference.


My son and I really value the time we spent in Switzerland.  I had visited a few years ago and went to Lugano and St. Moritz (while staying primarily in Zurich).  With my son last year went to Interlaken, across the Bodensee to Friedrichschafen, Appenzell, and Schaufhausen.  What a beautiful country!


Terri

tssaweber's picture
tssaweber

Hey Terri


Bread baking is all about taste and we all differ here and that's great. This creates all this wonderful products.


The water and bread mix creates a lighter, airier Zopf we like in our family. I also use 2% milk and not whole milk, this is important because the additional fat of the whole milk changes the dough. Brown sugar in the dough is, I believe, my invention and part of the "Americanization" of the Zopf. It is not enough to make it sweet but it gives additional flavor, just that little something special.


I'm glad that you like our blog. You seem to like Switzerland and there is a lot of Swiss in it.


Thomas

Heatherly's picture
Heatherly

I first made this bread with my friend from Switerland when I was young. When I got older I wanted to replicate it so I found a variation of it which I tried after converting it from Grams to Cups.  I have found that I can add some wheat flour to the recipe and it still comes out just like I remember. I use unbleached white flour though because I like how it tastes better.  I have found that if I put 2 cups white to 1  and 2/3 cups wheat it comes out really nice( athough it does not rise as much). I usually put just one egg white and save the yolk to glaze it.


I did discover a nice variation of the bread when I came to posses a large quanity of freshly picked apples. I followed the recipe close to how it is describe on this page but when it came to braiding the bread I took small pieces of apples mixed with cinnamon and placed them in between the braids ,it turned out a lovely tasting loaf of apple bread. I would suggest trying it out because it makes a lovely addition to the regular loaf