Eating Challah bread or Swiss Zopf for breakfast.
Print

The Fluffiest Challah Bread: Swiss Zopf

The fluffiest Challah-style bread is Swiss Zopf!
Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 3 hours 20 minutes
Servings 1 loaf

Ingredients

  • 1/2 stick butter
  • 1 1/4 cups whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons fine caster sugar
  • 1 packet dry active yeast
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fine sea salt
  • 1 egg beaten
  • poppy seeds for sprinkling (optional)

Instructions

  • Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in the milk and sugar.
  • Place the dried yeast into a small bowl and add three tablespoons of the milk mixture. Stir well, cover losely and let stand for 5 minutes. It should bubble up and become sponge-like in texture.
  • Place the flour in the bowl of a stand mixer. Make a well in the middle and pour in the activated yeast. Pour in about 1/3 of the milk mixture and stir in just enough of the flour to form a wet dough. Cover and let stand for 15 minutes. Again, it should rise into a puffed up sponge.
  • Add the salt and remaining milk mixture. Knead in your stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment on low speed for 8 minutes. Rest for 1 minute. Knead on medium speed for 4 minutes. Rest for another minute. If the dough still rips apart easily, knead on medium-high speed for 2 minutes, otherwise medium will do.
  • Check with the windowpane test if your gluten has developed enough. If not, keep kneading. If it has, shape the dough into a ball, place back into the bowl and cover with a clean kitchen towel.
  • Let the dough rise until doubled in volume, at least one hour but better two (depending on your altitude, higher altitude makes for a quicker rise).
  • Once your dough has risen, remove it onto your work surface. For one large braid, divide it into two equal pieces. Roll them into long-ish strands and braid. Otherwise, weigh out 2 1/2 oz (72g) portions of the dough and make mini two-strand challas. Pinch their ends together to form rolls.
  • Place your challah on a lined baking sheet. Cover with the towel and let rise and relax for another 15 minutes. In the meantime, heat the oven to 400°F (200°C).
  • Once your bread is ready, brush it well with the beaten egg. You can sprinkle it with poppy seeds (or sesame) if you like.
  • Bake the large challah bread for 25-30 minutes, small ones for 12-15. They will sound hollow when tapped on the bottom and have a nice golden brown crust.
  • Allow to cool on a rack. Best eaten warm with butter and honey!