Swiss Plaited Bread (Zopf)



100 grams melted butter
1 beaten egg
4 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoons instant dried yeast
1 cup lukewarm/blood temperature water
1 cup lukewarm/blood temperature milk
2 teaspoons salt
5 – 5½ cups high grade (strong) flour
1 egg yolk and 1 tablespoon milk for egg wash


Step 1 – In a large mixing bowl combine melted butter, egg, sugar, yeast, water and milk and leave till yeast mix is bubbly (about 10-15 minutes).
Step 2 – Add 4-5 cups flour and salt, insert dough hook and knead for at least 5 minutes. Add a little more flour gradually, if needed, for a soft and very pliable dough. Cover bowl with plastic film till dough is well risen.
Step 3 – Line a tray with baking parchment. Divide dough into three pieces. Roll each piece into a long “rope” and then plait the rolls together. This recipe makes one very large plait, but if you would like to make smaller plaits, simply shorten the dough rolls and make shorter plaits. Place on the baking paper lined tray and brush plaits with a beaten egg wash. Leave to rise again for 15 – 30 minutes.
Step 4 – Preheat oven to 180°C. When the plaits are well risen, bake for approximately 30 mins till deep golden brown. Cool immediately on wire racks.

(This recipe freezes well – especially if wrapped and placed in the freezer when barely cool. When ready to serve, remove from the freezer, let it thaw, run it briefly under the cold tap (stops crust flaking off) and pop it into a moderate oven to bake until warmed through)