Swiss Butter Braided Bread (Butterzopf)
Swiss Butter Braid AKA Butterzopf is a slightly sweet, plaited, special occasion bread, perfect for the holidays, entertaining, or when you want to treat yourself to some yeasty deliciousness. Crank up your oven and bake a loaf of this magnificent braided bread.
This Butter Braid, also known as a Butter Zoft, hails from Switzerland.
Why You Must Make
- I have a “thing” for braided bread recipes. They just seem festive. My mom would braid dyed hard-boiled eggs into our Easter bread and drizzle it with icing, and I contemplated forming this loaf into a wreath as she did till it came up short in length.
- This butter braid or butterzopf is more of an everyday bread to the Swiss, but I think it looks pretty fancy.
- A good dose of sugar provides a lovely sweetness, and two eggs plus one yolk adds richness along with a lovely golden color. I think it would be perfect for any holiday meal this month. And imagine leftovers (IF there are any) as French toast. Swooning at the thought. This butter braid was a huge hit with my crew.
- Kitchen Staples – Milk, Sugar, Melted Butter, Eggs plus one Yolk, Salt, All-Purpose Flour
- Instant Yeast – One envelope; I used Red Star Platinum Yeast
Recipe Tips: Braided Yeast Bread
- If you own a heavy-duty KitchenAid or another mixer, use the dough hook to knead the dough. It will save time and energy.
- Malgieri suggests mixing in 1½ cups raisins, currants another diced dry fruit before braiding.
- Do not force the proofing by putting the dough in an overheated area. 80-90 degrees is just fine. Any warmer and the resulting yeast efficiency will not be optimal. Plus, a slower rise develops better flavor.
- Braiding bread is much like braiding hair. Once you get the rhythm, it becomes easy.
- Pinch 3 strands of equal lengths together at one end, then cross the left strand over the middle strand, then the right strand over the middle strand, and continue. Pinch the strands together when there is not enough to braid anymore. Tuck the ends under and you’re set!
- Don’t braid too tightly or it could split apart while baking.
- Let proof (rise) again, glaze, and bake!
- If the loaf is getting too dark after 30 minutes or so in the oven, loosely cover it with foil.
- The bread is done when it feels firm when pressed and sounds hollow when you rap on the bottom of the loaf.
- Cool on a wire rack before slicing.
Frequently Asked Questions
In Switzerland, this butter braid is a common addition to breakfast on Sunday mornings.
Challah is often made with oil, but Butterzopf always uses butter.
It dates back to the mid-15th century. There was a tradition that a woman would cut off her braid and place it in her husband’s grave as he was being buried. The braid was eventually replaced by this braided loaf.
Like most bread, it’s best on the day it’s made. But it can be stored airtight at room temperature for 3-4 days, in the refrigerator for up to a week, or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
You May Also Like:
- Stollen Wreath from Cake Duchess
- Braided Easter Bread
- Plaited Easter Bread
- Easy King Cake
- Spinach Onion Braid
- More Bread Recipes
- ½ cup milk
- ½ cup sugar
- 6 tablespoons butter, melted
- 2 eggs plus 1 egg yolk
- 2 ½ teaspoons or one envelope instant yeast (Red Star Platinum yeast preferred)
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 egg, for glaze
- In a stand mixer bowl with the paddle attachment, combine milk, sugar, and melted butter.
- Mix in eggs, then yeast. Slowly add in salt, then flour with mixer on low.
- Let continue to mix for 2 more minutes to knead (unless your mixer starts to overheat). Alternatively, knead by hand on a lightly floured surface. The dough will be soft.
- Let rise in a greased bowl covered with greased plastic wrap at a warm room temperature for 1-1 ½ hours or till doubled in bulk.
- Deflate the dough and divide it into 3 equal pieces. On a lightly floured surface, roll each piece into a 15-inch rope. Braid starting at the middle and working to one end, then repeating on the other side. Carefully transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet.
- Cover with greased plastic wrap and let rise till doubled, about 1-1 ½ hours.
- Preheat oven to 375º. Whisk the remaining egg and brush over the surface of the braid.
- Bake for 30 minutes, covering with foil for the last 5-10 minutes if the loaf is browning too fast.
- Cool on a wire rack.
Total time does not include proofing time. Adapted from Nick Malgieri's cookbook, How to Bake.
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Serving Size:1 slice
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 226Total Fat: 8gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 78mgSodium: 115mgCarbohydrates: 33gFiber: 1gSugar: 11gProtein: 5g