This zopf bread or challah as it’s known in most parts of America is warm and fluffy with a crisp golden crust. Serve with butter and jam or cream cheese spread, better yet, dip a chunky slice into a bowl of creamy soup for a touch of comfort.
Course: Breakfast, Brunch, Side Dish
Cuisine: European, German, Swiss
Keyword: Braided bread, Challah bread, Zopf Bread
Servings: 2Big loaves
Author: Maureen Celestine
8cupsAll-purpose flour (1001.24 g)
½cupButter, cubed, room temperature (113g)
2packets active dry yeast ( about 14g, 4 ½ teaspoons)
3teaspoons Sugar or honey
2½cupsMilk, room temperature 575g ( you can substitute half the milk with water)
1Egg (for the egg wash)
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with dough attachment, mix the flour, butter, yeast, sugar, and salt until combined.
Gently add the room temperature milk and mix on low speed for about 3 minutes, then increase the speed to medium-high for another 7 minutes or until the dough is fully combined and soft to the touch.
Damp a kitchen towel with warm water and place it over the bowl. A cling wrap works just as good. Allow the dough to rest in a cool, dry place for about 60 minutes or until the dough doubles in size.
Punch dough down and turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide dough into four equal parts, and fold it over once or twice. Begin to roll out each piece into a thick strand, about 18 to 20 inches long and 1 ½ inch wide.
Braid the dough according to the picture below. One strand above the other strand, then one under. Focus on one hand ( right hand up and right hand under).
Repeat these steps, working towards you, until you can no longer braid. The loaf will naturally lift to one side. Pinch the ends of the rope together and tuck both ends under the braid. Carefully transfer the bread to the prepared baking sheet. ** If you’d rather make an easier three-strand braid, google three-strand braid for instructions.
In a small bowl, whisk together the egg and lightly brush over the zopf bread. Reserve the rest for later.
Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise for about 30 minutes or until nearly doubled in size.Preheat oven to 395°F
Before placing the loaves into the oven, brush another coat of the egg wash. At this point, you can sprinkle sesame seed or poppy seed for a fancy look. **Allow sufficient space in the oven for air circulation; otherwise, the bread will come out dense or undercooked.
Bake for 25to 30 mins or until you hear a hollow sound when you tap the top of the loaf with your middle finger. ** Half way through baking, brush another egg wash over the bread. As soon as you remove the zopf bread from the oven, place on a wire rack to cool completely. Brush the top with melted butter for that luscious, shiny top. Slice and enjoy!
** When rolling the dough, roll from center going outward away from you. if your palm starts to feel dry and you feel you are stretching the dough, rub your palm with little water. If your palm gets too wet, rub flour over palm and continue to roll out dough. ** Halfway through baking, brush another egg wash over the bread if the top is not browning. **Bread can be stored at room temperature in an airtight bag for 3-4 days. Refrigerate for up to 1 week or freezer for up to 3 months—Slice bread before freezing and wrap tightly in plastic wrap.
How to Knead Zopf Bread by hand
Melt the butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Set aside to cool.
Add the flour, sugar, yeast, and salt in a large bowl, mix to combine.
Make a well in the middle of the bowl, pour in the melted butter gently and milk, a cup at a time and combine until a dough begins to form.
Turn the dough out on a lightly floured surface and begin to knead. Begin by folding the dough over and pushing down with the heel of your palm, curving your fingers over the dough, turn the dough over and push down again. Repeat the process until the dough is smooth and elastic, this should take about 20 minutes. Shape the dough into a ball.
Cover the bowl with a damp kitchen towel or plastic wrap and let rest in a cool dry spot to rise or double in size for about 1 hour.
Proceed to baking instruction on recipe card.*Cooks tip: When kneading by hand, add 10ml of white wine to make the dough softer.
Easy Zopf Bread (Challah) https://worldlytreat.com/easy-zopf-bread/ April 1, 2020