Source: friend; cir. 2011
The braided bread (Easter bread) recipe is known as Zopf in Switzerland. Callahan bread is what we often call it in the U.S. The way I grew up, this bread was always around on Easter, it was our Pasquale bread. Traditional with the Italian Easter values, my mom would make a wreath or ring form, and put hard boiled eggs in the braid after the bake. It was always lovely, and finished with an almond sweet drizzle. Now, here in Switzerland, Zopf is a normal Sunday bread. Always found in every bakery around town on Saturday’s, you can also make it yourself. It’s not too difficult, and it’s also a kid-friendly recipe. The kids love getting their own piece of dough. Braiding, forming and baking, it makes the outcome even better when they’ve done it themselves.
To describe this braided bread (zopf) is quite simple. The base is a butter, milk and egg yeast bread. The texture is light, airy and very delicious. It’s soft, and a bit on the dangerous side, as you keep going back for more and more and more. If not Sunday, it’s the perfect bread for a invitational breakfast or brunch to be shared with family and friends.
Braided Bread (Easter bread)
- 1 kg white flour
- 4 TL salt
- 4 tsp sugar
- 150 gr butter
- 6 dl milk lukewarm, not warm
- 42 gr fresh yeast for dry yeast see conversion chart
- 1 egg egg white for dough, yellow for crust
- 6 2/3 cups white flour
- 4 tsp salt
- 4 tsp sugar
- 2/3 cup butter
- 2 1/2 cups milk
- 1 1/2 oz fresh yeast
- 1 egg
- Work with your mixer for this dough, as they recommend to mix for 10 minutes thus ensuring the dough is well mixed and warm. Combine all dry ingredients in mixer bowl.
- Melt butter in small sauce pan, then when just about melted, pour milk and butter together in a pirex mixing cup. Wait a few minutes, then add the 40 gr. of yeast to the lukewarm mixture. Combine with spoon, then add to dry mixture and turn machine on to begin.
- Add your egg, and continue monitoring the texture of the dough. The mixer should be able to mix around the dough without any sticking or tackiness. Mixture should be smooth and non-sticky.
- Once a fare 10 minutes worth of mixing has passed, and the dough appears well combined, assist your dough to a wood board, or counter top out of the way, yet somewhat warm. Put mound of dough in center of floured bottom, and take a white cloth towel, make wet with warm/hot water, ring out completely, and lay over the rising dough. Set aside until dough has doubled in size. (Usually about 2 hours)
- Form 2 strips (same length) form your braided bread. Find a braiding method that works for you. I begin with a cross, then criss/cross the braid strands to form a nice french braid.
- When you have formed it brush the top of braided bread with the egg yellow and bake it for 20-25 minutes @ 400°F in your warm oven.
- To make sure your braided bread is finished take it out of the oven, turn it over and knock on the bottom. Should make a nice knocking sound.