Tresse au Beurre – Swiss Butterzopf

Two weeks ago I came back from a great holiday in France with two fabulous “souvenirs”:

  1. The realization that I just don’t have the time to work as much as I did the last few months.
  2. This recipe for beautiful breakfast bread.

It is amazing how easily you can become so busy with “have to” that you too loose sight of “want to”.  A few busy days turn into busy weeks and suddenly the habit has established itself and you are just busy, busy, busy….busy.

But going on holiday broke that habit. Now that I am back, I suddenly feel I can take the time again to read, to cook or to do-nothing-in-particular. And I can tell you it feels so much better than doing only the things I feel I “have to”.

So, for no reason/occasion/purpose whatsoever, I made this bread this weekend.

But let me take a step back to tell you how I came about this recipe: during our holiday we spent a night in Burgundy. What I remember most about our little b&b, Les Clos d’Orret was the joint breakfast – the tasty local produce, the fun conversation and the beautiful breads. I emailed our hostess after our return and she was gracious enough to share her recipe with me. What I thought was a brioche, without the sugar, turns out to be a “Tresse au Beurre”- a  bread recipe she brought with her from Switzerland where it is traditionally eaten on Sunday morning

What an easy loaf to make: some mixing, kneading and resting and you end up with pretty bread that has chewy crust and a silky, tender crumb. Lovely topped with some jam or cream cheese and fresh fruit.

I thought it was best the day I baked it but still enjoyed it on the second. I am sure it would make a great toast as well (But I had gobbled it all up before thinking about trying – guess I will need to make another loaf soon).

Bon appétit!

Les Clos d'Orret or where I discovered "La Tresse au Beurre" and...

Les Clos d’Orret or where I discovered “La Tresse au Beurre” and…

...where I learned that, close to its source, the majestic Seine is a little river

…where I learned that, close to its source, the majestic Seine is a little river

1 loaf

300ml milk
1 tsp sugar
20g fresh yeast (or 10g instant dried yeast)*
500g all-purpose flour
50g butter, very soft at room temperature or melted
1 tsp salt
a little egg yolk



  1. Slightly warm the milk.
  2. Add the sugar and yeast and allow to stand 5 min.
  3. Add the flour, soft butter and salt. Knead by hand for about 5 min into a soft, pliable dough.
  4. Place the dough in a bowl, cover and allow to rest in a warm place until it has doubled in size (I let it rise about 1 hour)
  5. Form the dough into the desired shape.
    I decided to make three tresses and braid them. I placed the bread in a loaf tin.
    I only searched on-line afterwards and got the impression that it is more traditional to make two tresses. You lay them to form a cross and then twist them together before placing the dough on a baking tray.
  6. Allow the bread to rise again. The instruction was “until it is big enough”, which I decided was after 45 min.
  7. Preheat oven to 220C.
  8. Brush or spray the bread with some egg yolk.
  9. Bake about 30 min or until it is golden and done. (Test by tapping the bottom with your knuckle to check the bread sounds hollow.)
  10. Transfer to a wire rack to allow to cool.

Tips & Variations
* Although you can make this bread using dried yeast it will taste better using fresh

Serve with

  • Jam
  • Cream cheese and fresh fruit

236 IMG_9431

    • afracooking said:

      Thank you for your lovely compliment! I am so happy you dropped by as it made me look up your blog. Just popped over and really enjoyed your posts!

  1. I’m glad that you got a chance to relax and what a lovely little place to discover. It was so nice that the owner was kind enough to share her recipe with you and now you with us. 🙂

    • afracooking said:

      It really was good to get away: I guess sometimes you need to break all these daily routines to rediscover what matters.

    • afracooking said:

      I love to travel, but as it has been a while it took me by surpise how going away brought me so much closer to home 

  2. Angie@Angie's Recipes said:

    I love the soft and smooth crumb of this Zopf. Well done, Afra.

    • afracooking said:

      Thank you for the compliment. I was amazed that such a simple recipe could deliver such a great result!

    • afracooking said:

      What a good idea – it makes so much sense – I will try that next time!

  3. A wonderful appetizing inviting looking bread!
    I need to make this bread this week! It looks superb Yummy! X

    • afracooking said:

      Aww, you are such a darling! It really is such a lovely light and delicate bread x

  4. Beautifully braided bread! Love the colour and texture! It is a nice idea to get the recipe from the source. Should try that next time I taste something delicious!

    • afracooking said:

      There is hardly a bigger compliment for a cook than someone asking for the recipe 🙂

  5. Liz said:

    I have never used fresh yeast for baking coz i don’t even know where to find it. I shall go on a wild goose search because I really want to try it as you recommend. Have a lovely week!

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