Today I made my 2nd Zopf...it's delicious. This is traditionally Sunday bread in Switzerland, where my mom is from. The funny story is that the entire time I was growing up I thought it was Easter bread, because that's what my mom called it & that's the only time she ever made it. My brother & I took a trip to Switzerland a few years back & when we stayed with my cousin Karin, she made it for us. Our reaction was of course and awed, "Oh, you made Easter bread for us!!" And her reaction was of course loud & prolonged laughter followed by the explanation that in Switzerland people make this bread on Sundays. Every Sunday. Not just Easter Sunday. As I'm sure you can imagine my mom was quite amused that her ruse had been discovered...and she still only makes this bread on Easter.
The first one I made went to my parents house the other day. My brother was here visiting & after all the cooking my mom did for Thanksgiving I thought it would be nice for her to have something special made for her for breakfast the day after. I got one piece to see if it tasted okay the day after they had it (because you can't always trust that your family is being serious & not just nice when they say it turned out great)...but of course that wasn't enough, so I had to make one for our house...and after all, today was Sunday!
Now I just have to work at the braiding part- she makes a cross & then somehow braids the 4 strands. I watched a video online, but they did it too fast; read several explanations online & tried to re-create those with string- again, a disaster; so I opted to do a 3 strand braid like you might do hair. It's the only way I know. So my zopf isn't as pretty as it should be (until I get my mom to show me with dough in person!), but it still tastes perfect!
Here's her recipe:
500 grams all purpose flour
1 package dry yeast
50 grams butter (1/2 stick)
1 dash salt
1 grated lemon rind
1/4 liter milk (just a hair over 1 cup)
All ingredients have to be room temperature.
Sift flour & yeast together into cuisinart (I did it in Kitchenaid…turned out fine), cut butter into small pieces on top of flour, add next 4 ingredients, turn machine on to mix everything well, then add lukewarm milk slowly.
Mix for 3 min.
If dough is soft or sticks to bowl, add 1-2 tbsp flour & mix again.
Cover with plastic wrap & let rise in warm place till doubled (about 45 min) My mom heats the oven to 140 degrees, then turns it off & lets the dough rise in there.
Put on greased cookie sheet (or better yet, parchment paper), brush with egg yolk.
Bake in center of oven for 30 min. at 400 degrees. Enjoy!