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Recipe for Nonna Verena's Züpfe:
- 7 3/4 cups (2.2 pounds white bread flour) - 1 kg
- 2 1/2 cups milk - 550 ml or 550 grams
- 4.4 ounces butter or 9 1/2 Tablespoons - 135 grams
- 1 teaspoon instant dried yeast - 4 grams
- 1 Tablespoon salt - 20 grams
- 1 teaspoon sugar - 4 grams
- 1 egg diluted with a little cream and a sprinkle of salt to brush on the braided dough before baking
Find out why we use METRIC measurements in the majority of our recipes. You will come to love the consistent results in your baking when using a small digital scale.
Preheat the Fontana Gusto wood-fired oven to 400°- 425°F - (200°-218°C). Make sure to check the temperature of the oven with our infrared thermometer.
Allow the oven to heat up for 45 minutes or until you reach a consistent temperature of 400°- 425°.
For the dough:
Place a large bowl on the table. This beautiful terra cotta bowl is made in Impruneta.
Weigh 135 grams of butter (9 1/2 Tablespoons).
Measure and weigh 1 kilogram of flour (7 1/2 cups).
Place the flour into the large capacity bowl.
Add 20 grams of salt (1 Tablespoon) to the flour.
Mix the flour and salt inside the bowl, and make a well with your hand.
Place (1 teaspoon) sugar into a small bowl with 50 grams milk (1/4 cup) taken from the total 550 grams (2 cups).
Add 4 grams yeast (1 teaspoon) to the sugar and milk.
Stir well and allow the mixture to rest for a few minutes.
In the meantime drop the 135 grams butter (9 1/2 Tablespoons) in a sauce pan.
Allow the butter to melt.
Once the butter is melted, pour 500 ml (500 grams) of the remaining milk into the pan. This will allow the butter to cool.
The milk and butter can now be poured inside the flour well.
With a dough hook, or wooden spoon incorporate some of the flour into the milk and butter mixture.
You can now add the yeast, sugar and milk mixture into the well.
With the dough hook begin to incorporate the flour and mix all the ingredients.
As soon as the water and flour are incorporated, you can begin to knead the dough with your hands until all ingredients come together. Continue kneading inside the bowl.
Once all dry ingredients are mostly incorporated, you can transfer the dough on a floured surface.
Continue kneading the dough with your hands for about 10 minutes.
Stretch the dough and bring it back together.
Once the dough is soft and smooth you are ready for the next step.
My Swiss grandmother used to pick up the dough and beat it on a marble table for about 90 times.
Who knows...., it may have been her resourceful way to get rid of some frustration! ;)
She used to tell us that this method allows the dough to stretch and develop the typical elongated crumb of the Butterzopf. So, beat a few times, and when it is elongated roll it back up and start the process again.
Try it! It is a lot of fun.
Roll the dough back on itself and do this process over again.
Finally bring everything together into a round, soft dough ball.
Place the dough into a food safe container and cover with a lid or a damp cloth.
Allow the dough to rise in a draft free place for about 1 to 2 hours, or until doubled in size. You can also place the dough into the refrigerator overnight. In the morning make sure to take it out of the refrigerator for at least one hour before proceeding with the following steps.
Transfer the dough on a floured table and with the help of a dough scraper divide the dough ball in half.
Once again, divide the halves into even fourths.
Pick up each piece and elongate it by gently squeezing it from top to bottom. Gravity will be on your side. Set each piece aside and allow it to relax for a few minutes covered with some plastic wrap or a damp cloth.
After doing this stretching process with all four pieces and a resting time, pick up the first piece and begin to roll it from the center out.
Continue to do this until you have two equal elongated dough strands.
Cross the two long strands at the very center.
Grab both ends of the bottom piece and cross them over the top piece in a horizontal direction.
Continue crossing both ends until the left end is on the right side and the right end is on the left side.
Do the same crossing process with the other strand, but this time you must work in a perpendicular direction.
Continue doing the same process alternating and crossing both strands of dough in a horizontal direction and then in a perpendicular direction.
Make sure to always do the exact same crossing.
At the very end, tuck the loose pieces under the braided dough.
With hands cupped, squeeze along the entire braided dough allowing the braid to be nice and tight.
Rub some butter on the bottom of a baking pan.
Place the braided Butterzopf on the buttered pan making sure to leave enough space for the second loaf. Cover with a damp towel, and allow it to rest for about 30 minutes.
Crack an egg into a small bowl. This time I have chosen to use only the egg yolk, but you can also use the entire egg.
Put a pinch of salt into the bowl. Often, I also add a Tablespoon of heavy cream to the egg.
Gently brush the egg over the braided dough making sure to avoid degassing it.
Place the pan into the preheated oven.
Quickly close the oven door.
Immediately close the door and allow it to bake for 40 minutes or until a deep golden brown color develops on the surface.
You know the Butterzopf is ready when you tap the underside of the bread and it sounds hollow.
So delicious when served for breakfast, an afternoon snack or just about any time when accompanied with some good butter, honey, and preserves!
What is your favorite bread to serve to family and friends?