The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

How do you make Zopf without egg?

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varda's picture
varda

How do you make Zopf without egg?

When I first saw Zopf at a farmer's market, I figured it was challah, but the salesmen (definitely not farmers) from Swiss Bakers assured me it wasn't and that it had no egg in it.   It was really amazingly tasty.   Since then all the recipes I have seen posted for Zopf have egg, and look identical to recipes for Challah.   Does anyone have any experience making Zopf without egg?    Thanks!


Varda

chouette22's picture
chouette22

Hi Varda,


I make Zopf all the time and don't use eggs in the dough (only in the egg wash). You'll find my recipe in the comments section of this post: http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/13045/hello-switzerland-celebration-bread-and-zopf


And you should definitely read Thomas' Zopf experiments with and without eggs:
http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/13648/zopf-swiss-sunday-bread


Keep us posted!

varda's picture
varda

Thanks so much for pointing out your recipe.  It is exactly what I was looking for.  I really want to learn how to make this myself.   That way I won't find myself going to the farmers market and coming home with bread instead of vegetables. 


Varda

varda's picture
varda

Hi,   I tried making Zopf today following your instructions.   It was quite tasty but not quite as light as I would have liked.   I mixed it in a Kitchen Aid for a couple of minutes.   Usually I knead by hand, but didn't really want to do that with the butter in the dough.   It rose very well with a tablespoon of yeast, but maybe I should have used the higher amount.   Also I used 1% milk because that is what is in my refrigerator, but I'm wondering if real Swiss bakers would use whole milk.   My biggest problem though was getting a smooth surface for the loaf.   Here is a picture.  Do you have any suggestions for how to make this come out more smooth?   Every problem with shaping just seemed to get worse on the second rise.  Thanks so much!  Varda


chouette22's picture
chouette22

I think your Zopf looks very good! However I do see that the surface is a bit 'knotty' and not as smooth as you desired. I encounter this only if I retard the dough in the fridge overnight so that I can bake my Zopf first thing in the morning, let's say for Sunday breakfast. I never do this though if I want to give a loaf away, as the surface turns our exactly like yours. I think that your dough could probably have absorbed a bit more liquid? I add milk (I use 2%) until the dough cannot take in anymore (thus the final amount of liquid depends very much on the type of flour one uses, as we all know that different flours absorb different amounts of liquid). In your KA, it should pull away from the sides but still stick at the bottom. If it's too slack, you could also add a couple of stretch and folds. If your dough is very soft, I don't think you'll have trouble with your surface. Maybe one more thing: after your first rise, handle the dough very softly and carefully when bringing it into your strands. I separate my dough into two parts (let them rest again for 10 minutes, covered) and then stretch each part carefully and then roll it out into a long strand. Do the same with the other part. Then proceed braiding. Let me know how it goes.


My Zopf is always very light, however the slices are quite compact (yet very soft). You won't get holes as you do in a sourdough, for example.


Oh, I wanted to ask you where you were finding Zopf at a farmer's market? Is this in the US?

varda's picture
varda

Thanks so much for your comments.   When I mixed the bread in the KA, I was actually careful to continue kneading until the dough pulled off the bottom as well as the sides, so I guess I overdid it.   So I will try again in awhile and see if I can get a nicer surface and a bit lighter texture.    As for the Zopf at the farmer's market, it is in Lexington Massachusetts, definitely in the US.   The bakers are called Swiss Bakers.   They have a website at www.swissbakers.com.   Their Zopf is tremendously good. 

chouette22's picture
chouette22

... having that bakery-café in my neighborhood! A nice choice of breads.