Swiss braided butter bread

Description

In Switzerland, this bread is usually eaten on Sunday mornings together with everything else that goes for a brunch: butter, jam, ham, cheese. It’s a kind of bread, therefore not really sweet!

Ingredients

4 1⁄4 c flour (white bread flour)
1 1⁄2 t salt
1 1⁄2 oz yeast (fresh yeast, or 1 oz dry yeast)
2 1⁄2 c milk (warm, a bit less than body temperature)
4 T butter (non salted, melted)
1 T sugar (for the yeast)

Instructions

Make the dough

  1. Mix flour and salt in a large bowl, form a hollow.
  2. Melt butter with some milk in a pan, add remaining milk; it should be about body temperature. Add crumbled, liquefied or dry yeast and milk/butter in the hollow.
  3. Knead until the dough is non-sticking, soft and includes air bubbles when cut apart.
  4. Place the dough in a large bowl and let it rise to its double volume. It should be covered - with lid, cling film, or damp towel -and kept at a warm place.

Form the braided bread

  1. Divide the dough in two halves. Roll each half to a string which is thicker in the middle and thins out to the ends. Cross the two strings and start braiding: Always the two opposite ends are crossed, the first (which lies top) is crossed over one string, the second (which lies lover) is then crossed over two strings, and so on.
  2. Lay the braided bread on a baking paper covered baking tray. Glaze with egg yolk.

Bake the bread

  1. Put the bread in the lower to middle part of the oven. Recommendation: top and bottom heat.
  2. Bake one 2 lb bread at 400°F (200°C) for about 40 minutes; and two 1 lb loaves for about 25 minutes.

Enjoy the bread!

Notes

Fresh yeast can either be crumbled or liquefied when mixing with some sugar. The yeast likes it warm - best fermentation at 90°F (32°C) but will be destroyed at 113°F (45°C)

Some say a warm place it is the best for the dough to rise, some say the dough could also stay in the fridge over night.

When braiding the bread, the crossings always change between 1) from right to left, from left to right, and 2) cross over one string, cross over two strings. So it’s 1a) from top right to bottom left over 1 string and 1b) from bottom left to top right over two strings, then 2a. from top left to bottom right over 1 string and 2b. from bottom right to top left over two strings, and then start again.

There is no need to preheat the oven, although some like to preheat. Since the baking time is much depending on the oven, better try out and have a look into the oven from time to time. The braided bread should get golden brown.

Yield
1 loaf
Preparation time
30
Cooking time
40
Total time
1 hour, 10 minutes

Swiss braided bread