Walburga’s Zopf

Zopf is a kind of fluffy sweet braided bread that the Swiss eat on weekends.

My friend Walburga makes a vegan Zopf that is too good not to share.

Zoooopf!
True beauty is on the inside.

Requirements

  • Tools: bread machine and oven
  • Working time: 15min tops (if you have a bread machine)
  • Total time: a day (overnight soaking, 2h in bread machine, 10min braiding if you’re anything like me, 40min baking)
  • Difficulty: minimal
  • Nutritional value: this is for Saturday mornings. The question does not apply.

Ingredients

  • 500g flour (Zopf flour if possible: it’s a blend of 80% white and 20% wholemeal flour, to the best of my German)
  • a bunch of [chia and/or flax]  seeds
  • [3 dL + a bit for soaking] [soy/oat/rice/whatever] milk
  • 1 table spoon sugar
  • 1.5 tea spoons salt
  • 20g yeast (in emergencies I’ve mixed yeast and baking soda and it was fine)
  • 60g margarine
  • optional: a bit of maple syrup

Preparation

  • Let the seeds soak in the bit of milk overnight in the fridge (experience shows that it’s ok to forget them there for a week). If it gets gooey, that’s a good thing.
  • Warm up the soaked seeds + all the milk.
  • Throw all ingredients in the bread machine and select setting “dough” (meaning it kneads and lets it rest and grow, but does not bake; typically this takes a couple of hours). If you are doing this by hand, knead it and leave it like you would do with bread (and good luck).
  • Optional: let it rest another 30min (haven’t properly tested the effect of this).
  • Turn on the oven: 200 C. Put some vegetable paper over an oven tray (you can reuse it forever).
  • Braiding: Split the dough in two, call them A and B. Roll each part to a long cylinder of some 4cm diameter. Place A horizontally and B on top, vertically, in a cross. Bring the left side of A (A1) over the lower side of B (B1). From now on, there are different conventions (meaning I never get it quite right), and I think I do something as follows. Bring the right side of A (A2) over A1. Bring B1 over A2. Bring B2 over B1. Continue as it looks the least wrong until you run out of rolls.
  • Optional: brush the top with maple syrup (this is just to make it shiny).
  • Bake for 20-40min, depending on your oven (I normally go for 40min).
  • Marvel! Let it cool a bit before eating with sweet or salty spreads.