The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Swiss bread and flour

Terri's picture

Swiss bread and flour

A friend is visiting from Switzerland and she was making Zopf for our family.  We successfully made the metric conversions (I double-checked!), but the dough was the consistency of clay.  The only difference we could come to was the flour.  Is anyone aware of the difference between Swiss white flour and US white flour?  Or, even better, what can I use here to allow her to make the recipe she makes at home with good results?

This is my first post and I look forward to any assistance.  I've been a lurker for a long time and really enjoy checking the site several times a day.




titus's picture


You would need to ask your Swiss friend what number type of flour she uses in Switzerland.

The numbers, which are a Swiss typing system widely used in Europe, but not in France or England) are related to how much husk of the grain remains in the flour after milling, so the smaller the number the lighter and whiter the flour; the higher the number the more healthy parts remain in the flour.

Wheat flour
Type 400 - 450
Has no specific flavor and can be used for cakes, cookies and other confectionery, pies, to thicken sauces etc. (Equivalent to American cake flour)

Type 500 - 550
Stronger in taste and is usually used for yeast based bakery. (Equivalent to American all-purpose flour)

Type 600 - 650
Light bread flour. (Equivalent to American white bread flour)

Type 800 - 850
Heavier flour used for bread baking. (Equivalent to American light whole wheat)

Type 1000 - 1050
Strong flavoursome taste, high contain of protein and as a dark flour is best used for bread baking (Equivalent to American regular whole wheat flour)

Full grain Wheat flour
Often has no type number, as the full grain is ground in the mill (Equivalent to dark whole wheat flour)

Also, European flour is much lower in protein than US flour.
I hope this helps.

chouette22's picture

Hi Terri,

I am from Switzerland (living in the US) and have made Zopf countless times, with great success. Of course here we don't get the specific 'Zopfmehl' some people use in Switzerland to make this type of bread, but I have always just taken unbleached white flour, with no problems at all. I just make sure that the dough is kneaded very well, adding enough milk until it is VERY soft (this flour here probably absorbs more liquids than the Zopfmehl, this might be your problem).

Good luck / Viel Glueck!