Introduction: Swiss Sunday Zopf

Picture of Swiss Sunday Zopf

The Swiss love good bread and they are excellent bakers. On Sundays they love to eat the Butter-Zopf, a soft bread similar to the Challah, the Jewish bread.

It is a traditional Sunday bread and it's said it's origin is coming from a custom whereby widows cut off their braided hair and buried them with their husbands. Later on they buried a bread loaf in this shape instead of their hair. This bread has been known in Switzerland since the middle of the 15th Century.

We like to eat late on Sundays and have a Brunch instead of breakfast. Most often my people scream for a Zopf....

Step 1:

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This is my favorite recipe:
1 kg strong bread flour
1 Tbsp Salt
150 g soft Butter
14 g of dried Yeast (or 42 g fresh Yeast)
500 ml warm Milk
1 Egg and 1 Tbsp Oil for the glaze

I usually work the dough with my trusty kitchen machine, but you can make it also by hand.

Pour the flour in to a bowl. Add the soft butter cut into pieces into the middle of this mixture. Sprinkle the dried yeast into some of the warm milk (please be careful not to make it too hot!) The fresh yeast can be dissolved with a little sugar. Add this to the flour and then add the rest of the warm milk.

Mix this all together and knead to an elastic dough. Once the dough comes together add the salt and go on kneading. With a kitchen machine it only needs 5-10 minutes. By hand it might need longer, the dough will have some air bubbles if cut into it.

Leave covered in an oiled bowl for at least 2 hours until the dough has doubled in size.

Step 2:

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Now we need to form the bread:

Put the dough on a floured surface and cut into two pieces. Roll out these pieces into rectangles of the same size and roll them up tightly. You have now two long "sausages" of the same length. Roll them a little, so that the ends are slightly thinner.

Now follow the hand drawn picture if you want a traditional Swiss braiding style Zopf with two dough rolls.

Don't get discouraged if it does not look nice the first time. It looks easy but it needs practice.

Step 3:

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Or follow the photographs if you want to braid with 4 rolls.

Step 4:

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Or you could also just twist the dough together to create a simple form.

Step 5:

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Leave the Zopf to rest under a damp cloth for another 30 minutes.

Brush with a mixture of one egg and 1 tbsp oil; this will give the bread a nice golden shine.

Then bake at 200 C for 45 minutes.

Have a wonderful Sunday with the Swiss Sunday Zopf!


louise_ditch made it! (author)2017-01-20

Hi, I just wanted to say thank you for sharing your recipe

I have used this recipe a few times, and it is wonderful. My father-in-law is Swiss and he said it made a great loaf.

I use the full recipe and make 2 smaller loaves. One for us and one for the in-laws as one large loaf is too much and tends to go to waste.

In the middle picture you will see that I added peanut butter and chocolate spread , however it didn't work as I had hoped and the inside of bread was quite soggy. So I'm back to the drawing board on that!

I'm wondering if there is anyway to make a batch of bread buns out of the dough - I don't suppose you have any ideas?

Thanks Again.


Hi Louise,

first of all, thank you for baking with my recipe, they turned out pretty well!!!

Fillings are tricky. If they are too wet, they make the bread soggy as happened to you. You may have to bake the bread a bit longer, but then it might get too dark.

On my website I have some traditional Swiss filled breads with the same Zopf recipe. Have a look: Just scroll down, after the pictures is an English translation of the recipe.

You can even make these:

Of course you can make bread buns with this recipe. Just cut the dough into pieces and roll each piece into a ball. Now turn the pieces over and fold with a finger the sides into the middle until the roll is nice and round and the top is stretched. Pinch together the bottom of the roll, so it will not open.

If you enjoy making bread, have a look at my website in the section breads

I hope I could help you and thanks again!

regards Pane-Bistecca

Thank you for the links, I will definitely be trying again with the chocolate filling. I'll let you know how they turn out.


NicoleW105 (author)2016-11-13

didn't see it mentioned, but how many loaves does this recipe yield? Thanks for the recipe! I lived in Switzerland for 3 years and have been craving this bread since I left!

Pane-Bistecca (author)NicoleW1052016-11-13

It makes 1 big one or 2 smaller ones.

NicoleW105 (author)Pane-Bistecca2016-11-13

thank you so much! I decided to try this out today, but ended up halving the recipe to play it safe. Got a lovely loaf that's pretty much all eaten! The family loved it!

Pane-Bistecca (author)NicoleW1052016-11-14

Perfect! Thank you for trying the recipe!

babybayrs (author)2013-12-16

I really like the dark golden color and the shine of your Zopf! What kind of oil did you use?

Pane-Bistecca (author)babybayrs2013-12-16

I used Sunflower oil. It shines beautifully.

babybayrs (author)Pane-Bistecca2013-12-16

Thanks. I'll try to reproduce it.

Sparked Ideas (author)2013-03-08

Since I'm half Swiss, and because I have challah for breakfast every Saturday and Sunday morning. I really should to try this recipe. I've never baked bread before but a Swiss Zopf will be the perfect thing for me to try baking for the first time.

Hello half-Compatriot (just like me) try it, it's not hard at all!

Respected sir/madam
Thank you for this reciepe.

You are very welcome!

sunshiine (author)2013-02-27

I have always wanted to try making bread like this. It is so beautiful! Thanks for inspiring me! Maybe this ible will give me the boost I need.

Pane-Bistecca (author)sunshiine2013-02-27

Try it, I know, first time will be a little tricky, but try it anyway!

One more thing: try the braiding with two kitchen towels first!

sunshiine (author)Pane-Bistecca2013-02-27

Thanks I will do that! If I make it I will let you know or comment here.

Pane-Bistecca (author)sunshiine2013-02-28

Yes please, let me know, maybe you you find some tricks how to make it easier.

Penolopy Bulnick (author)2013-02-27

Looks delicious!

It is!! When my son is home I always need to bake double amounts of Zopf. He will eat one all by himself!

Smokestack Lightning (author)2013-02-27

I just want to clarify. If I use dried yeast no sugar is necessary. There should be enough in the milk for the yeast to feed of off?

Yes, exactly! But the milk should be only lukewarm.

About This Instructable




Bio: Mother, wife, passionate cook and baker, hobby photographer, living in Asia. I have a website with international recipes. I ... More »
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