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This vegan zopf bread, also called Swiss braided bread, is made with an overnight poolish and therefore extra fluffy. It’s best if you enjoy the most popular Swiss bread for breakfast or brunch.
What is Swiss Braided Bread?
Swiss braided bread, also called Zopf in Switzerland, it one of the most traditional bread for the weekend. Here in Switzerland, we usually eat it on the weekend for breakfast or brunch.
It’s super soft and fluffy in its texture and best to be enjoyed with jam or Nutella. Although, I love to make a veggie sandwich with the leftovers.
Vegan Braided Bread
Zopf bread is traditionally made with butter, milk, and
- Use margarine or plant-based butter instead of butter.
- Substitute cow milk with unsweetened soy milk. If you only have sweetened soy milk, leave out the sugar in the recipe. I wouldn’t recommend using nut milk for this recipe, the taste will be different.
- Zopf flour is a unique ingredient for this bread, which is only available in Switzerland. Mix your own using 90% all-purpose flour and 10%
speltflour. Alternatively, use only all-purpose flour.
- I recommend using fresh yeast for this recipe – the result is better. If you don’t have fresh yeast, use instant yeast instead.
Braided Bread Recipe
The recipe is for 2 small braided bread or one large one. In the recipe and video, I am going to show you how to make two smaller ones. I always freeze one directly after baking.
- Evening: Make the poolish, rest it for one hour at room temperature, the rest it in the fridge overnight. Working Time: 5min | Resting Time: 1h @roomtemperature & 12h @fridge
- Next morning: Take the poolish (1) out of the fridge and leave for 1h at room temperature. Working Time: 1min | Resting Time: 1h @roomtemperature
- Make the dough (2), rest it for 1.5h at room temperature. Working Time: 20min | Resting Time: 1.5h @roomtemperature
- Divide dough in 4 and form balls (3), rest them for 10min. Working Time: 5min | Resting Time: 10min @roomtemperature
- Form the balls into long loaves (4) and roll out into long ropes (5). Braid every two ropes into a Zopf (6), brush with “egg” wash, rest for 30 mins, start preheating your oven. Working Time: 10min | Resting Time: 30min @roomtemperature
- Brush again with “egg” wash and bake for 30 mins
Vegan Egg Wash
Brushing your bread with “egg” wash is essential and prevents your dough from drying out. What works great as a vegan alternative to the traditional egg wash (egg & milk) is a mixture of:
- 2 tablespoon unsweetened soy milk (or any other unsweetened plant-based milk)
- 1 tablespoon agave syrup (or maple syrup)
- a pinch of turmeric – optional (for the yellow color)
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Vegan Zopf Bread – Swiss Braided Bread
- ⅓ cup + 1 tbs (100ml) unsweetened soymilk room temperature
- 5/4 cup (150g) zopf flour 90% all purpose flour & 10% spelt flour
- 1 tsp (3g) fresh yeast or ¼ tsp instant | active-dry yeast
- ½ tsp salt
- ⅞ cup (210ml) unsweetened soymilk warm
- ½ tbs (8g) fresh yeast or ¾ tsp instant | active-dry yeast
- 2 ¾ cups (350g) zopf flour 90% all purpose flour & 10% spelt flour
- 1 tsp salt
- ⅛ cup (30g) sugar
- ¼ cup (60g) margarine or plant-based butter
Vegan Egg Wash
- 2 tbs unsweetened soymilk
- 1 tbs agave syrup or maple syrup
- 1 pinch ground turmeric optional
- Evening: Mix the yeast with the milk and knead it with the other ingredients into a dough. Place in a bowl and cover with a plastic wrap. Leave at room temperature for one hour and then place it in the fridge overnight (~12h).
Dough & Braiding
- Next morning: Take the poolish out of the fridge and leave at room temperature for one hour. Heat up the milk to lukewarm and mix with the yeast. Add all ingredients (except for margarine) into your kitchen machine and knead for 10 minutes at the lowest speed.
- Add the margarine and knead for another 10 minutes at speed level one. Cover with a damp kitchen towel and leave to rise for 1.5 h at room temperature.
- Divide the dough into 4 equal heavy pieces (take the kitchen scale for this). Form into balls (don’t flour the working surface) and let them sit for 10 minutes.
- Form into long loaves and roll out to ~18 inches long ropes. Braid every two ropes into a zopf (see video) and transfer on a with parchment paper lined baking sheet. -> The recipe is for two small braided bread.
“Egg” Wash & Baking
- Mix all ingredients for the egg wash, brush the zopf with it, and cover with a larg bowl or casserole (only if possible). Leave them to rise for another 30 minutes. Start now with preheating your oven to 200°C/395°F.
- After 30 minutes, brush the zopf again and bake for 30 minutes until golden brown. Let them cool down on a cooling rack.
- The recipe is for two small braided bread. If you prefer, you can make one large out of it. I always freeze one right after baking.
- Use fresh yeast if possible.
- If you don’t have spelt flour, only use all-purpose flour.
- I recommend using unsweetened soy milk. However, if you only find sweetened soy milk, leave out the sugar in the recipe.
Danke für dieses Rezept! Wollte schon länger mal eine vegane Version eines Zopfs probieren und dieses ist schon mal super, besonders auch mit dem poolish. Als nächstes werde ich wohl einen Versuch mit einem Sauerteig poolish machen.
Kleiner Tipp: wenn du die Zopfenden unter dem Zopf versteckst, sieht er noch besser aus 🙂
Aline Cueni says
Hallo Tez, das freut mich sehr zu hören! Danke für deinen lieben Kommentar! 💕
Thanks so much for this recipe. I’m in the UK and have been making loaves of this zopf every week of lockdown. No matter how many different other breads I make my family always insist I make more of this!
Aline Cueni says
Hi Dom, what a beautiful comment. I am so happy your family loves this bread! ❤️
All the best,
Hi! I’m getting ready to make this but don’t understand “5/4” cups of flour. Is this 1 and 1/4 cups? Thanks!
Aline Cueni says
Hi Victoria, yes, it’s 1 and 1/4 cup! Have fun baking! 😉
Hi Aline, I’ve just checked my polish, after being in the fridge overnight and it’s still very dry. Is there anyway to salvage it?
Aline Cueni says
Hi Asley, did you use a scale to weigh the ingredients or cups? Cups are, unfortunately, inaccurate and especially with baking recipes, where exact measurements are crucial, not the best choice. It could be that you used a little bit too much flour. I would just go ahead and maybe add some more liquid when making the dough. It’s indeed tough to give you a “remote diagnosis”! 😉 I hope it turns out great!