Butterzopf

Butterzopf is a classic Swiss bread which is often served for weekend brunches. Try this Butterzopf recipe with step-by-step photos.

butterzopf sliced on cutting board with jar of jam

What is Butterzopf?

In Switzerland, it is a ritual in most households to serve a loaf of Butterzopf for breakfast on the weekends, so much so that many bakeries do not even sell these loaves during the week.

A Butterzopf (also known as Zopf, Tresse, Treccia – depending on where you are in Switzerland), is an enriched plaited white bread.

In German, Zopf simply means a plait. And a Butterzopf means that the bread contains, of course, butter.

The main difference between a Butterzopf and Jewish challah is that a Butterzopf contains butter, whereas challah traditionally uses oil.

butterzopf on marble board with jam and butter

Swiss National Day Celebration

The Swiss celebrate their National Day on 1 August, and it is customary to gift a Zopf or similar bread on this day.

You can find Butterzopf in all supermarkets and bakeries in Switzerland, and they come in a variety of sizes.

Some bakeries even make them by the metre! But they are sold in large portions from this giant loaf, and which is ideal if you happen to be someone who doesn’t like the crusty end pieces. They are also perfect for small households who don’t eat a lot of Zopf.

sliced butterzopf on marble board with jam and butter

How to Serve Butterzopf

Butterzopf is best when it is served fresh.

It is traditionally sliced and served with jam and a variety of hard cheese (Swiss, of course!).

I’m rather impartial to a chocolate hazelnut spread, and I also happen to love it spread with some butter (you can never have too much) and Vegemite!

Any day-old Zopf happens to be lovely lightly toasted.

How to Make Butterzopf

Step 1

Measure the flour, salt, sugar and yeast into the bowl of an electric stand mixer.

dry ingredients for butterzopf in white mixing bowl

Step 2

Slowly add the warm milk, and mix everything together with the dough hook until the mixture comes together into a ball of dough.

dough for butterzopf in white mixing bowl

Step 3

Add the butter, one tablespoon at a time. Once the butter is fully incorporated into the dough, add the next tablespoon of butter.

butterzopf dough in mixing bowl

Step 4

Once all of the butter has been added, continue to knead the dough on low-medium speed (or KitchenAid speed 2) for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and elastic in texture.

Place the dough into a lightly oiled mixing bowl and cover with a clean tea towel.

butterzopf dough in large mixing bowl

Step 5

Place the dough somewhere warm for about 1 to 1.5 hours, or until the dough has doubled in size.

risen butterzopf dough in mixing bowl

Step 6

Punch the dough back and gently knead the dough a few times to remove an air bubbles.

Separate the dough into two pieces and roll each piece into a long log, measuring approximately 70 cm (2.5 feet). Try to taper the ends so they are thinner than the middle section of the dough.

To prepare a traditional Butterzopf braid, follow the diagrams below.

Alternatively, you can do a more common braid by splitting the dough into three pieces.

how to braid a butterzopf

Step 7

Once the bread has been shaped, cover it with a clean tea towel and leave it somewhere warm for about 30 minutes for it to rise and puff up slightly.

When you are ready to bake the bread, brush the bread with some egg wash. Bake for about 35 minutes, or until the bread is golden brown. An internal thermometer should read approx 85°C (185°F).

fresh butterzopf on marble board with bread knife

More Swiss Recipes

If you are looking for more Swiss recipes, you might also like:

Cheese Fondue

Raclette

Zurich-Style Veal with Creamy Mushroom Sauce (Zürcher Geschnetzeltes)

Print

Butterzopf

Butterzopf is a classic Swiss bread which is often served for weekend brunches. Try this Butterzopf recipe with step-by-step photos.

  • Author: Thanh | Eat, Little Bird
  • Prep Time: 3 hours
  • Cook Time: 35 mins
  • Total Time: 3 hours 35 minutes
  • Yield: Makes 1 loaf
  • Category: Bread
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: Swiss

Ingredients

For the Butterzopf

  • 500 g (3 1/3 cups) strong white bread flour
  • 1 teaspoon fine salt
  • 2 tablespoons caster sugar (superfine sugar)
  • 7 g (2 teaspoons) instant dried yeast (see Kitchen Notes below)
  • 60 g (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
  • 300 ml (1 cup plus 3 tablespoons) milk, warmed to 37°C (98°F)

For the Egg Wash

  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon milk

Instructions

You will need approx 3.5 hours to make the Butterzopf

To make the dough

  1. Measure the flour, sugar, salt and yeast into the bowl of an electric stand mixer.
  2. Lightly mix the ingredients together using the dough hook.
  3. Slowly pour in the warm milk, and continue mixing until everything comes together into a rough dough.
  4. Add the butter, one tablespoon at a time. Once the butter has been fully incorporated into the dough, add the next tablespoon of butter.
  5. Once all of the butter has been added, continue kneading the dough on low-medium speed for about 15 to 20 minutes.
  6. The dough is ready when it is soft and smooth, and also slightly elastic in texture when you try to stretch it. If you poke the dough softly, it should bounce back right away.
  7. Lightly oil a large mixing bowl.
  8. Place the dough inside the bowl.
  9. Cover the dough with a clean tea towel.
  10. Leave the dough somewhere warm for 1 to 1.5 hours, or until the dough has doubled in size (see Kitchen Notes below).

To shape the dough

  1. Once the dough has doubled in size, punch back the dough to release all of the air.
  2. Divide the dough into two pieces, and roll each piece into a long log, measuring approximately 70 cm (2 feet) long. Try to taper the ends so that they are slightly thinner than the middle section of the logs.
  3. Arrange the two strands of dough on your work surface so that they form a cross or plus symbol.
  4. Plait the strands of dough as indicated in the photos above. Alternatively, divide the dough into three pieces and do a traditional plait with three strands of dough.
  5. Carefully transfer the plaited dough onto a sheet of baking paper.
  6. Place the dough somewhere warm for about 30 minutes, or until the dough has risen and puffed up slightly.

To bake the dough

  1. Preheat the oven to 220°C (428°F).
  2. Place a metal baking tray in the middle shelf of the oven while it is preheating.
  3. Make the egg wash by lightly whisking together the egg and milk.
  4. Brush the dough with some egg wash.
  5. Bake for about 35 minutes, or until the bread is lightly golden. The bread is cooked if an internal thermometer reads 85°C (185°F).
  6. Transfer the bread to a wire rack and let it cool before serving.

Kitchen Notes

DIFFERENT TYPES OF FLOUR
* For Swiss readers: I use Zopfmehl (or farine pour tresse) when making bread and enriched dough.

DIFFERENT TYPES OF YEAST
* Please note that there is a difference between instant yeast (also called instant dried yeast or fast-action dried yeast) and dried yeast (also called active dry yeast). If you are not sure what type of yeast you have, please check the packaging for instructions on how to use the yeast.
* With instant yeast, you can add it directly to the flour mixture without having to activate it first.
* With dried yeast, you will need to activate it first (usually in some warm liquid).
* If you are using fresh yeast, you will need about half a block (20 g fresh yeast = 7 g instant dried yeast). Crumble the fresh yeast into the warm milk, and stir to dissolve the yeast.

PROOFING THE DOUGH
Dough needs a warm environment for the yeast to activate and cause the dough to rise. If you don’t have a warm place in your home, try one of the following ideas:
* In the oven with the oven light switched on (works only for some ovens).
* In the oven with a tray of boiling water on the bottom shelf.
* In the oven at a low temperature of about 25-30°C (77-86°F).
* On the open oven door, with the oven turned on at 100°C (212°F).

OVEN TEMPERATURES
All recipes on this website state temperatures for a regular oven (i.e. a conventional oven without fan). If you have a convection oven with a fan, please consult the manufacturer’s handbook on how to adjust the temperature and baking time accordingly.

CONVERSIONS
To convert from cups to grams, and vice-versa, please see this handy Conversion Chart for Basic Ingredients.

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