1 kg (2.2 pounds) all-purpose flour, or bread flour
1 teaspoon salt
20 to 30 gr (0.7 to 1 ounce) yeast, broken in small pieces
1 teaspoon sugar
125 gr (4.4 ounces) unsalted butter or margarine, softened
2.8 to 3 cups milk
1 egg yolk, mixed with a little water or milk, for brushing top of bread before baking
1. Mix flour and salt in a bowl, add yeast, sugar, butter and milk, knead to a soft dough, about 10 minutes by hand, 4 to 5 minutes when using a machine. Place in bowl, cover and let dough rise for about an hour, or until doubled in size.
2. Cut dough in two or four pieces of the same size. Braid dough with two pieces, or four pieces of dough (See notes below).*
3. Put bread on a baking sheet, covered with baking paper, spray with water. Let dough rise again for about 30 -60 60 minutes.
4. Before baking, brush top of dough with egg wash mixture.
5. Bake for about 45 to 55 minutes in the lower part of the pre-heated oven at 200 degrees Celsius (400 degrees Fahrenheit). Serve within 2 to 3 days.
Makes 1 or 2 loaves.
*Notes: How To Braid Zopf Bread:
There are many different ways to braid a Zopf. The easier way is to use two pieces of dough, a more difficult way requires 4 pieces.
Zopf Bread made out of two pieces:
Cut dough in two pieces of the same size. Stretch and pull each piece of dough into a 60 cm (24 inch) long roll, making sure the dough is thinner towards the ends. Cross in the center. Put top right end to left low and low left end to top right. Then put top left end to right below and low right end to top left. Continue until no more dough is left. Press ends and put below bread.
Zopf Bread made out of four pieces:
Cut dough in four pieces of the same size. Stretch and pull each piece of dough into 30 cm (12 inche) long roll, making sure the dough is thinner towards the ends. Put ends together. Put the first roll on the left across the second roll on the right. Then put the first roll on the right across the second roll on the left. Continue until no more dough is left. Press ends together and put below bread.
Date: September 17, 2002