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With this braided bread recipe, you’ll master the art of baking a fluffy Swiss Zopf Bread, perfect for a Sunday treat, in no time!

swiss zopf bread on a cutting board

In Switzerland, there’s nothing quite like starting the weekend with a delicious Zopf. Be it with jam or chocolate spread, this sweet delight is a highlight of any breakfast table. The secret? It needs to be airy and fluffy, best served fresh or still warm from the oven.

swiss zopf bread served with jam

To enjoy a truly successful braided bread like the ones from bakeries, patience and time are key, but the result will be the best you’ve ever made! Our recipe has its complexity, involving both a poolish and a main dough.

The actual work time is limited, as most of the time is spent letting the dough rise and rest. But the reward is a delicious result: airy, crispy, and incredibly tasty – your loved ones will be delighted! 💕

Traditionally, Swiss Zopf Bread is made with butter, milk, and an egg wash. But I’ll show you how to easily transform this classic recipe into a fail-proof vegan version that tastes fantastic!

Quick note: Swiss Braided Bread and Challah bread are similar but different. Challah is a Jewish Bread, typically enjoyed on ceremonial occasions. It’s much fluffier! Swiss Zopf is enjoyed on Saturday and Sunday mornings, contains butter, and is therefore richer in taste. We also call it “Butterzopf“. The braiding process and shape are the same! You can serve it with jam, chocolate spread, and cheese, or use it even as fluffy sandwich bread.


See recipe card for quantities.

  • Zopf Flour: The ideal flour for braided bread is a blend of 90% white flour and 10% spelt flour. You can mix it at home, or just use all-purpose flour, this will work too.
  • Yeast: Fresh yeast is recommended for the best result, but instant dry yeast works too.
  • Dairy-Free Milk: Preferably unsweetened soy milk. If using sweetened soy milk or oat milk, omit the additional sugar. I advise against nut milk as it can alter the taste.
  • Vegan Butter: For it’s rich flavor.
  • Sugar: Adds some sweetness.
  • Salt: Enhances the flavors of the other ingredients.
  • Vegetarian: Vegetarian can use regular milk, butter, and the classic egg wash for this recipe!
braided bread slices served with jam

Hint: This recipe makes two small braided breads (great for families) or one large bread (perfect for a brunch with friends). I explain how to make two small ones in the recipe and video. I always freeze one directly after baking; this way I can enjoy it twice and have less work.

Visual Step-by-Step Guide

Granted, the recipe might seem daunting at first glance, especially for baking beginners. But if you break it down into smaller tasks, it becomes manageable. 😉 Here’s a guide with the most important steps, including timing. For each step, you’ll find a corresponding picture!

The recipe also includes a poolish and a main dough. The poolish is fermented overnight, so start in the early evening before a day off to have enough time. Good luck – you can do it! 🏅

Timing Guideline

  • In the Evening: Make the poolish (pre-dough), let it rest for an hour at room temperature, then overnight in the fridge. Work time: 5 min | Rest time: 1 hr at room temp & 12 hrs in the fridge
  • The Next Morning: Remove the poolish from the fridge (1) and let it warm up for an hour at room temperature. Work time: 1 min | Rest time: 1 hr at room temp
  • Make the main dough (2), let it rise for 1.5 hours at room temperature. Work time: 20 min | Rest time: 1.5 hrs at room temp
  • Divide the dough into 4 equal pieces and shape them into balls (3), let them rest for 10 minutes. Work time: 5 min | Rest time: 10 min at room temp
  • Shape the balls into long loaves (4) and roll them into long ropes. Braid two strands together to form a Zopf, apply the “egg wash”, and let them rest for 30 minutes. Work time: 10 min | Rest time: 30 min at room temp
  • Apply the “egg wash” again and bake the bread loaves for 30 minutes.
Zopf Bread Recipe Step 1-4

How To Braid Bread

  • Roll each piece of dough into a long, even rope. The ropes should be approximately the same length and thickness for a uniform Zopf.
  • Place the two ropes side by side on your work surface. Then, cross the ropes in the middle to form an X.
  • Take the rope from the top right and cross it to the bottom left. Cross the rope from the bottom left to the top right.
Zopf Bread Recipe Step 5-8
  • Continue braiding until you reach the end.
  • Press the ends together to seal them. You can tuck the ends under the Zopf for a neat finish.
Zopf Bread Recipe Step 9-12

Vegan “Egg” Wash

To prevent the bread from drying out while baking, it’s traditionally brushed with a mixture of egg and milk. I’ll show you how to make a simple vegan “egg” wash:

  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened soy milk (or any other dairy-free milk)
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup (or agave syrup)
  • A pinch of ground turmeric – optional (for the yellow color)

You can also use this wash for other yeast pastries or breads. For savory pastries, omit the maple syrup.

homemade braided bread

Storage & Freezing Instructions

Store the bread in a bread box or bread bag at room temperature. It stays fresh for about 2 to 3 days.

Freeze: You can freeze the bread whole or sliced, whichever is more convenient for you. Packed in a freezer bag, it can be stored in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Defrost: Let the bread thaw overnight at room temperature, OR defrost directly in the preheated oven at 200°C (392°F) for 10-15 minutes. Reheating in the oven makes it crispier. If you’ve frozen it in slices, you can defrost individual slices directly in a toaster.

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📖 Recipe

swiss zopf bread on a cutting board

Swiss Zopf Bread – Braided Bread

With this braided bread recipe, you'll master the art of baking a fluffy Swiss Zopf Bread, perfect for a Sunday treat, in no time!
Author : Aline Cueni
5 from 1 vote

Click on the stars to leave a vote!

Prep Time :40 minutes
Cook Time :30 minutes
Resting Time :15 hours
Total Time :1 hour 10 minutes
Servings : 2 Bread
Calories : 98kcal



  • cup + 1 tbsp (100 ml) dairy-free milk room temperature
  • ½ tsp fresh yeast (3g) or ¼ tsp instant yeast
  • 1 ¼ cups (150 g) all-purpose flour see notes
  • ½ tsp salt


  • cup (210 ml) dairy-free milk lukewarm
  • ½ tbsp fresh yeast (8g) or 1 tsp instant yeast
  • 2 ¾ cups (350 g) all-purpose flour see notes
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • ¼ cup (60 g) vegan butter

Vegan Egg Wash

  • 2 tbsp dairy-free milk
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup or agave syrup
  • 1 pinch ground turmeric optional



  • Evening: Pour dairy-free milk into the bowl of a stand mixer and dissolve the yeast in it. Add flour and salt, knead briefly into a dough. Cover the poolish with plastic wrap, let it rise for 1 hour at room temperature, and then let it rest overnight in the refrigerator. → If the bowl doesn't fit in the refrigerator, put the poolish in an airtight container and cover it with plastic wrap.


  • Next Morning: Take the poolish out of the refrigerator and let it rest for 1 hour at room temperature. Dissolve the yeast in lukewarm milk and add it along with the flour, sugar, and salt to the poolish. Knead, with the dough hook attached, at the lowest speed for 10 minutes.
  • Add butter and knead for another 5-10 minutes until you have a smooth dough. Cover with a damp kitchen towel and let rise for 1.5 hours at room temperature.
  • Divide the risen dough on an unfloured work surface into 4 equal pieces. Form them into balls and let for 10 minutes.
  • 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.
  • Roll each ball into a long rope (~18 inches). → If the dough is not elastic enough, let it rest again briefly.
  • Braid each two ropes into a braided bread (see video & blog post tutorial) and place them on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.
  • "Egg" Wash: Mix milk, maple syrup, and turmeric in a small bowl and brush the bread with it. Let them rest for another 30 minutes at room temperature.
  • Preheat the oven to 395°F (200°C).
  • Brush each bread again with the egg wash and bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes until golden brown. Let them cool on a wire rack before slicing.


  • Dairy-Free Milk: The recipe works best with unsweetened soy milk. You can also use sweetened soy milk or oat milk, but then I’d recommend reducing the sugar in the recipe a bit.
  • Flour: In Switzerland, we use Zopf flour to make this recipe. You can mix it at home by using 90% all-purpose flour and 10% spelt four. The recipe also works with 100% all-purpose flour.
  • Tip: This recipe makes two small or one large braided bread. You can freeze the second bread right after baking, as soon as it has cooled down, and then thaw it for 15 minutes in a preheated oven (200°C/395°F) when needed. This way, you only have to do the work once!

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Serving: 1slice | Calories: 98kcal | Carbohydrates: 17g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 0.4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 0.4g | Sodium: 46mg | Potassium: 39mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 0.1g | Vitamin A: 28IU | Calcium: 20mg | Iron: 1mg

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  1. 5 stars
    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 🙂

    1. Hallo Tez, das freut mich sehr zu hören! Danke für deinen lieben Kommentar! 💕

  2. 5 stars
    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!

    1. Hi Dom, what a beautiful comment. I am so happy your family loves this bread! ❤️
      All the best,

  3. 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!

  4. 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?

    1. 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!