Mastering The Art of Zopf Bread Braiding A Step-by-Step Guide

How to braid a zopf bread


Zopf bread, a traditional Swiss bread, is not only a delightful treat for the palate but also a feast for the eyes with its intricate braided design. Learning how to braid a Zopf bread is a culinary skill worth mastering. In this step-by-step guide, we will unravel the secrets to creating a beautiful and delicious Zopf bread right in your own kitchen.


Before we dive into the art of braiding Zopf bread, let’s gather the ingredients you’ll need

1. 500g of all-purpose flour

2. 10g of salt

3. 10g of sugar

4. 20g of fresh yeast (or 7g of dry yeast)

5. 300ml of lukewarm milk

6. 50g of unsalted butter, softened

7. 1 egg (for egg wash)

Activate the Yeast

To start, activate the yeast. Dissolve the fresh yeast in lukewarm milk or follow the instructions on the package if using dry yeast. Add a pinch of sugar to help the yeast activate. Let it sit for about 10 minutes until it becomes frothy.

Mix the Dough

In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour and salt. Create a well in the center and pour in the yeast mixture. Add the softened butter and sugar. Knead the dough until it’s smooth and elastic. This should take about 10-15 minutes.

First Rise

Shape the dough into a ball and place it back in the mixing bowl. Cover it with a clean kitchen towel and let it rise for about an hour or until it has doubled in size. This step allows the dough to develop its flavor.

Divide the Dough

After the first rise, punch down the dough to release any air bubbles. Divide it into three equal portions and roll them into long ropes of equal length.

Braid the Zopf

Now comes the exciting part – braiding the Zopf bread! Place the three ropes of dough parallel to each other. Pinch the top ends together. Start by crossing the right rope over the center rope, then the left rope over the center rope. Repeat this pattern until you reach the end of the ropes. Pinch the bottom ends together.

Second Rise

Place the braided dough on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Cover it with a kitchen towel and let it rise for another 30-45 minutes. During this time, the bread will puff up, and the braids will become more defined.

Preheat and Egg Wash

While the dough is rising, preheat your oven to 200°C (392°F). In a small bowl, beat an egg, and use a pastry brush to gently coat the entire surface of the Zopf bread with the egg wash. This will give the bread a beautiful golden-brown color when baked.

Bake to Perfection

Once the Zopf bread has completed its second rise, it’s time to bake it. Place the bread in the preheated oven and bake for 25-30 minutes or until it’s golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom.

Cool and Enjoy

Remove the Zopf bread from the oven and let it cool on a wire rack for at least 20-30 minutes before slicing. This will allow the bread to set and become easier to cut. Once it’s cooled, slice it up and enjoy your homemade masterpiece!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the physical description of Zopf?

Zopf is a traditional Swiss bread consisting of flour, butter, yeast, milk, and eggs. It is characterized by its soft texture and braided appearance, similar to the Jewish bread challah.

Where did zopf bread originate?

Zopf originated in Switzerland. Invented as ‘Züpfe’ by the newly founded bakers’ guilds, the first written reference comes from the Bern region in the 13th century.


Braiding a Zopf bread may seem intimidating at first, but with practice, it becomes a delightful culinary skill. The combination of a golden-brown, intricately braided crust and a soft, fluffy interior makes Zopf bread a delightful addition to any meal. So, roll up your sleeves, gather your ingredients, and embark on this delicious baking adventure. Your friends and family will be impressed with your newfound bread-braiding expertise!

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