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This is a traditional rich, buttery, eggy bread enjoyed warm in Switzerland on Sundays for breakfast.
Butterzopf/Zopf (German), or Tresse (French) or Treccia (Italian) – meaning braid – is probably the most famous Swiss bread. It is usually baked in the form of a plait. However, if you can’t be bothered to make the traditional two-strand braid, I’ve made it as a log with diagonal scores, and it was as delicious as the braided version.
This Swiss bread is similar to and has the same eggy, sweet texture and flavour that of many egg bread found in many cultures around the world, from challah to brioche to the braided bread tucked with colourful eggs.
Cut into thick slices and spread with honey butter (room-temperature butter blended with equal parts honey), butter, jam, or cream cheese. The bread can also be paired with charcuterie and various types of cheese or eaten plain.
Switzerland gets credit for doing a lot of things well, like chocolate, cheese, watches, and efficient transportation. The Swiss have long been known for their egg- and dairy-rich bread, as well as their intricately shaped loaves. But they don’t get enough credit for it. However, Switzerland has the best bread in the World. I think it’s time we drew some attention to this.
Crusty but with a dense, moist crumb, a good Swiss loaf will taste great for days. Although it is better to enjoy the day it is made, otherwise just like any other bread; it will lose its freshness.
Store the bread well-wrapped, at room temperature for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
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- 1 1/4 cup Milk - 24-30°C/75-86°F
- 1/4 cup Butter - room temperature or Margarine
- 2 Egg
- 1 tsp Vanilla extract
- 4 3/4 cups Bread flour
- 1/4 cup Sugar
- 1 ½ tsp Salt
- 2 1/4 tsp Active dry yeast
- 1 Egg - or egg yolk
- 1 tbsp Olive oil - or milk or water
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- Attach the kneading blade in the Bread Maker pan.
- Place ingredients into the bread pan following the recipe order (or following the order and method specified in the manual of your Bread Maker – mine is: FIRST, liquid ingredients; SECOND, dry ingredients; LAST, yeast). Note: With finger or a knife, make a small indentation in the middle of the flour. Add yeast to indentation, making sure it does not come into contact with the liquid ingredients.
- Carefully insert bread pan into Bread Maker and gently close the lid.
- Select “Dough” bread setting. Press the Start button.
- It will mix and rise the dough. When the dough cycle is complete, press the stop button and unplug the breadmaker.
- Open the lid and firmly grasp the bread pan, and gently pull it straight up and out of the machine.
- Cut dough in 4.
- Fold the dough on a silicone liner. See notes.
- Let it rest for about 30 minutes. Resting allows the gluten to relax and makes handling easier.
- Once you have your dough ball ready, shape the dough. Braid the dough into a plait or shape into a log.
- Place each plait or loaf, seam side down, on a greased (or lined with parchment paper or a silicone liner) baking sheet with the dough distributed as evenly as possible.
- Once you’ve finished your final shape, you should let the dough proof before baking. Cover with a towel and let rise in a warm, draft-free place until almost doubled in size, for about 90 minutes.
- Brush an even coat of egg wash using a pastry brush.
- If shaped into a log, score the loaves. With a blade or a sharp knife, make diagonal (at a 10 to 30-degree angle) cuts 6-12 mm (¼- ½ inch) deep across the top of each loaf, leaving about 2.5 cm/1″ uncut on each end. Never cut it entirely across the top of the loaf.Attention: The process is done just before the loaf is put into the oven. Don’t try to change its shape or rise once the cuts are made.
- Bake the bread in a preheated oven at 210C/410F for about 15 minutes or until golden brown, or it reaches an internal baking temperature of 82-93ºC/180-200ºF. Or tap the bottom of your bread; it will sound hollow when it is done.
- Optional for a crispy and crunchy crust - Create steam in the oven with boiling water on the oven floor. Place a sturdy pan (cast-iron preferred) on the bottom shelf of the oven as it preheats, then pour 1/2 cup or so of water (or ice cubes) into the sturdy pan as you’re loading the loaves into the oven. The result? Billows of steam trapped in the oven.Keep the sturdy pan with boiling water on the bottom of the oven while the bread bakes.
- After 7 minutes, turn the baking pan with the loaves around.
- Let cool completely on a wire rack. Leaving them on the pan to cool could result in a soggy bottom crust.
- Allow sitting for at least 15-30 minutes before you cut into your loaf.
- Never cool the bread in the oven. It will dry out and possibly burn the bread.
- If it’s too dry, add lukewarm liquid a teaspoon at a time until it looks right.
- If it looks too wet, add flour a tablespoon at a time until it looks right.
- If there is flour on the sides of the pan, use a Silicone Spatula to wipe the flour from the pan.
Fold the doughAfter resting, turn the dough bottom side up and press to flatten. Then fold the dough into the shape you want. Punching bread dough down after it rises is a tried-and-true method of degassing the dough (removing any air bubbles). It also reinvigorates the yeast cells, introducing them to the new food. But folding the dough is also a valid technique for executing these tasks. When you fold the dough, you do three things: expel the carbon dioxide formed during fermentation, strengthen the dough by aligning and stretching the gluten strands, and equalize the dough's temperature, which eliminates hot spots. The folding method creates a bread that rises higher and has a looser crumb and air pockets once it is baked. You should now have a thick, square-ish piece of dough. Cover it with plastic wrap or with a towel. Let it rest for about 30 minutes. Resting allows the gluten to relax and makes handing easier.
Weather can affect your ingredients If you live in a moist climate, chances are you’ll need at least the recommended amount of flour, maybe even 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup more. Bread dough should be sticky but still manageable, especially after the first rise. While you’re kneading, the dough should come together and pull away from the sides of the bowl, leaving the bowl mostly clean. I usually aim to have the very bottom of the dough still attached to the bowl. Try not to add too much flour because your bread will be denser. When you pick the dough up, some will stick to your fingers. After the first rise, it will be easier to handle!
You may also make this bread without the aid of a bread machine or make the dough in a bread machine and bake it in the oven. Make the dough using your usual method (by hand, electric mixer or bread machine); allow it to rise until puffy, then shape it into a log, and place it in a lightly greased 8 1/2 x 4 1/2-inch (21.5 x 11.5 cm) bread pan. Allow the loaf to rise, covered, until it's crowned about 1 inch over the rim of the pan. If you want, brush the risen loaf with the beaten egg white, and sprinkle it with seeds. Bake it in a preheated 350°F/175°C oven for 35 minutes, or until its interior temperature registers 190°F/88°C on an instant-read thermometer. Remove the bread from the oven, remove it from the pan, and cool it on a wire rack.
How can you tell if the bread is fully baked? I like to use a food thermometer. Mine is digital, so it’s very easy to use. Fully cooked bread will be 190-200°F/88-93°C. Bread recipes that include milk will need to cook until 200°F/93°C, but without you can take it out once it reaches 190°F/88°C. The top will be golden brown.
- Everything You Need to Know to Start Baking Awesome Bread Using a Bread Maker
- Fast2eat Foolproof (Bread maker) Bread Recipes
* “Long-term dietary intake of gluten was not associated with risk of coronary heart disease. However, the avoidance of gluten may result in reduced consumption of beneficial whole grains, which may affect cardiovascular risk. The promotion of gluten-free diets among people without celiac disease should not be encouraged.” (Source: http://www.bmj.com/content/357/bmj.j1892)
* Content and images based on Sunbeam CKSBBR9050-033 Bread Maker User Manual Retrieved from https://www.sunbeam.ca/on/demandware.static/-/Sites-sunbeam-ca-Library/default/dw500b4350/documents/instruction-manuals/CKSBBR9050-033.pdf
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Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. In cases where multiple ingredient alternatives are given, the first listed is calculated for nutrition. Garnishes and optional ingredients are not included.
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