Tradition: The history of the Swiss Zopf

Updated: Oct 26, 2019

Zopf - Swiss Sunday breakfast bread

So what is the history of Swiss Zopf? The roots of Zopf actually go back to the founding period of the first bakers guilds in the 13th and 14th centuries. Thanks to the creativity of these bakers' guilds, the braid and the braid ring were invented!

The origin is thus with the bakers and not with widows. For there is a legend that says that the braid was created from an ancient sacrifice of the dead: the widow had to follow the deceased husband symbolically to the grave. For this purpose, a braid of her hair was put in the grave. This braid was then replaced by the butter braid. However, this theory of origin is not proven. Rather, the braid was and is a symbol of love, as a unit is woven from two strands.

At the time of the bakers' guilds, pastries made from white flour were a luxury item. Therefore, the braid was made only between the Thomastag on 21 December and the Epiphany on 6 January. So it was a cake, and in some regions this tradition lasted well into the 20th century. A braid and a bun were a cherished Christmas present until not long ago.


Andreas Caminada, a Swiss chef, will show you how to make a Zopf. You will find his recipe under - only in German: www.gaultmillau.ch/atelier-caminada/butterzopf


A big thank you to Lenz Films for the video!