Zopf à l'orange
Replace the milk with orange juice in a traditional Zopf recipe, add chocolate, and you’ve got a delicious treat for brunch, or Zvieri.
In baking school we experimented with different liquids and how they affect bread dough, swapping in milk, water, and juices (beet! carrot!), so I was pretty sure orange juice would work as a milk replacement with delicious results. Chocolate seemed the next obvious step.
While googling around for chocolatey orange braided breads, I found this beautiful behemoth that I thought I needed to share.
500 g flour
20 g fresh yeast, or 2 tsp dry yeast
250 ml orange juice
1 egg yolk
1 tsp sugar
12 g salt
80 g butter, soft
100 g dark chocolate, chopped
pinch of salt
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour and salt.
In another bowl, whisk together the orange juice, yeast, yolk and sugar.
Make a well in the flour and add the liquid ingredients. Stir this together until a dough starts to form, then add the butter, then chocolate, and begin to knead it on the table. Knead for about 15-20 minutes, or until it is smooth and elastic. Alternatively, mix for about 10 minutes in a stand mixer with a dough hook. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for about an hour or until the dough has doubled in size.
Preheat your oven to 230° C / 450° F / gas mark 8.
Split the dough into two and roll each out into a long strand. Braid. (For how to braid Zopf, see here).
Place on your baking sheet and let rest for about 20 minutes.
Whisk together the egg and salt, then brush the dough.
As soon as you put the bread in the oven, turn the heat down to 200° C / 400° F / gas mark 6.
Bake for about 30-40 minutes.
The Zopf is fully baked when you tap the bottom of the bread and it sounds hollow.
In Switzerland you can buy special flour for making your Züpfe called Zopfmehl / Farine pour Tresse / Farina per Treccia. This flour has spelt added to give it more protein and create its fibrous texture.
If you can’t get Zopf flour, you could try making your own, the ratio is usually 10% spelt flour and 90% wheat flour.
I used a bar of Cailler dark chocolate, but other varieties would work well too, including milk chocolate for a bit of added sweetness.
If you can't be bothered to make the traditional two-strand braid, just split the dough into three and make a simple three-strand version.
A reader, Suzanne of Suzanne’s Swiss Bakery, suggested a sweet glaze on top. I haven’t tried it yet, but a little orange juice and icing sugar should do the trick.