Make Swiss Twisted Bread (Wurzelbrot) with Rosemary Garlic Butter

I’m going to show you how to quickly make this fancy Swiss Twisted Bread (Wurzelbrot) with rosemary garlic butter, from a bucket of dough that is already in your refrigerator!

Shall we proceed?

basket of twisted bread in white cloth

It looks so fancy! But it is EASY to make, and so, so tasty.

There are those days

That is, in the life of the family cook, where the laundry is caught up; the weather outside is inclement; the wood fire is crackling and popping; and the dear lady settles in to cook a sumptious meal for her menfolk,  and the kitchen is a blessed place to spend the afternoon.

The pantry is well-stocked, her apron is freshly washed, and this family cook takes particular joy in preparing a hot meal for her family, with the hopes that there will be leftovers for another meal in the week ahead.

And then there are those other days

Yes, it happens, particularly when the weather is enticing, and she has spent the afternoon outdoors, doing one sort of pleasant task after another, and when she finally drags inside, rosy and happy, she is met with the stark realization that she must now make dinner.

The good lady (or man, if the home has a male cook) opens the refrigerator door and remembers that, after all, it is quite stuffed with leftovers that were delicious the first time around, and that are reasonably fresh, and that might–with judicious planning–do quite nicely for the evening meal.

When hope fills one’s heart

The cook, at this point, smiles and rubs her hands together, dreaming as she does for a moment or two of the extra time she may spend later, reading an extra chapter of her current book, say, or putting together another quilt square or two. A meal of leftovers, of course, makes this an attractive possibility.

She savors this notion. Decent leftovers give the cook a calm assurance, a peace that passeth all understanding.

row of twisted breads on parchment paper

I always use parchment paper, unless I discover that somebody has “borrowed” it and not put it back.

Except then: she remembers.

Her dream of leisure activities comes to a sudden and unpleasant halt, and she catches her breath just a little, when she remembers that there are inhabitants of the home (cough/Mack/cough) who aren’t overfond of leftovers.

Strange though it may seem, this humble lad in the household who is always hungry, prefers to eat something fresh and new every night of the week. (It goes without saying, and totally without rancor, but just as a general observation, that he is not the one doing the cooking.)

“To despair is to turn your back on God.”

The good lady, however, remembers this quote from Anne of Green Gables’ Marilla Cuthbert, and she smiles. To despair, in fact, is not in her DNA. She is, after all, the Queen of Making Lemonade out of Lemons. She does this on a daily basis. This day will be no different.

baked twisted Swiss bread, on parchment paper

Baked and ready for the melted rosemary garlic butter . . . let’s see, where’d I leave it . . . ?

She gets a cunning idea.

In fact, it’s a wily, clever, shrewd idea which will please not only her leftovers-averse son, but her own dreams for a little time engaged in something besides the constant making of meals. And whatnot.

She’ll make some delicious, hot, tasty breadstuffs–something so fancy and fine that her lovable-yet-probably-spoiled-son will not even notice that he’s forking giant bites of leftovers into his pie hole. So distracted by the fancy hot bread he will be.

She’ll make Swiss twisted bread (Wurzelbrod) with rosemary garlic butter.

(cymbal crash!)

A bucket of refrigerated dough in hand, she sets to work, and, in less than an hour’s time, she pulls the humble leftovers and the super-fancy Swiss Twisted Bread (Wurzelbrot) out of the oven, pours herself a (well-deserved) glass of wine, and calls the menfolk to dinner.

bowl of melted butter with rosemary and garlic

Aha! Here it is: melted butter + garlic + chopped fresh rosemary = bliss, baby, bliss.

Boom. Dinner’s ready in record time; it’s something she can be proud of; there’s time for leisure in the evening.

GENTLE READER I JUST THOUGHT OF SOMETHING.

Would you like this recipe? I’d be so happy to share it with you.

Here goes:

4.9 from 7 reviews
How to make Swiss Twisted Bread (Wurzelbrot) with Rosemary Garlic Butter
Author: 
Recipe type: bread
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12
 
Swiss Twisted Bread (Wurzelbrot) can be made quickly with a bucket of refrigerated dough, and baked while you're heating up your leftovers. Or whatever. Everybody loves it, and if you bathe it in warm garlic-rosemary butter as soon as it comes out of the oven, you'll probably elicit cheers and confetti.
Ingredients
  • 3 cups lukewarm water
  • 1 Tb yeast
  • 1 to 1.5 Tbs Kosher salt
  • 1 Tb Molasses
  • 1 cup rye flour
  • 5¾ cups All-purpose or bread flour
  • Sesame seeds
  • 4 Tb butter, melted, and stirred with
  • 2 Tbs snipped fresh rosemary and
  • 4 cloves of garlic, smashed and diced
Instructions
  1. Mix yeast, salt, and molasses with the water in a 6-quart bowl or a lidded bucket
  2. Mix in flours without kneading, using a Danish whisk or wooden spoon (Danish whisk preferred!)
  3. Cover (not airtight) and allow to rest at room temp until dough rises and collapses, approximately 2 hours.
  4. Dough can be used immediately after rise, though it's easier to handle when cold. Refrigerate dough and use within the next 14 days.
  5. On baking day, cut off a 1-pound (grapefruit-sized) piece. (This will be about one-quarter of the bucket of dough.) Dust with flour and quickly shape into a ball.
  6. Elongate ball, stretching as you go, until you have a long 1.5" wide rope, about 15" long.
  7. Cut rope into thirds.
  8. Hold one end in your hand and twist the other end to create an irregular twisted shape. (6-7 twists minimum!)
  9. Repeat with other ropes. Place ropes on a parchment-lined cookie sheet that has been liberally dusted with sesame seeds. (Using a parchment paper makes clean-up easier.)
  10. Your bucket of dough will make approximately twelve ropes.
  11. Preheat a baking stone in your oven to 425 degrees, while the ropes rest.
  12. Allow ropes to rise for 40 minutes.
  13. Sprinkle liberally with sesame seeds.
  14. Place a small pan in the bottom of the oven and add 1 cup of hot water to the pan.
  15. Slide the parchment paper carefully onto the hot stone. Bake for about 20-25 minutes, or until deeply golden and firm.
  16. Slather with rosemary garlic butter and eat while hot.

Pin it for Later

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Credit to whom it is due

I have to give credit to the authors of this book, Jeff Hertzberg, M.D., and Zoë François, who worked together to perfect the “bucket dough” method of artisan bread-making that I’ve been working with for so many years. This Swiss Twisted Bread (Wortzelbrod) came from their cookbook, and I added a few changes because that’s the way I like to roll.

and one more thing:

If you make bucket dough on a regular basis (highly recommend) you might want to grab up one of these:

Here are a few more posts about delicious things you can make from bucket dough:

  1. Caramel Pecan Rolls that will make you weep with joy,
  2. Delicate Cinnamon Rolls, made with honey!
  3. Rosemary-Sea Salt Focaccia bread that many have stood in line for (not kidding) . . .

Ahhhh dear gentle reader, I do hope you’re doing well. The world is a troublesome place, but I’m praying that you are fiercely speaking out the truth, no matter what. That you are praying constantly. And that you still have the wherewithal to make bread, to raise your own vegetables, and that you are steeped in a supportive community. That you still are filled with joy at the wonders of the world. There are so many!

And that you do try your hand at making Swiss Twisted Bread (Wurzelbrot). It’s a wonderful way to show your family and friends that you love them.

I’m pulling for you. And for all of us.

*hugs*

Amy

23 thoughts on “Make Swiss Twisted Bread (Wurzelbrot) with Rosemary Garlic Butter

  1. Gene Gage

    Aha! So that’s what your esteemed Wurzelbrot is! Now you don’t have to teach me how to make it, I’ll just print out the handy dandy recipe printed above. AND – equally important – are the first four steps in your instructions the same way you start the “bucket of dough” for all of your other delicious breads? If so, I think maybe I can handle it. One more question though – could I replace the yeast with a half cup of sourdough starter?
    Merci!

  2. dramamamafive Post author

    Yes! You’re clever, as usual. I’ve never tried to substitute sourdough starter, but I’m sure you could! You may have to adjust the rise time (sourdough will probably take longer) and please let me know how it works for you!

  3. Kay

    I think the above (ahem *whispering* spoiled) Son should be taught to make these delightful twists for his hard-working momma. 🙂

    No sons living in this farmhouse anymore, somehow they both grew up and moved away to be married and give me grandbabies. (so I’ll forgive them, this time.) So I guess I’ll just give in and make these myself. But instead of a bucket of dough in my fridge where there is NO ROOM!; I’ll adapt the recipe to make in my Zo bread maker. I’ll let you know how it turns out.

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      yes, please let me know! I’d love to hear how this dough works out in a bread maker! It’s a fairly wet dough so it might do just fine! I only have room for a couple buckets of dough because I keep two refrigerators humming along. And . . . I have to admit that my *cough* spoiled boy does a lot of errands and undesirable tasks for me while I’m making him his dinner. AND he makes dinner on Thursday nights. I’m determined that he learn to cook, though he would much rather let his mama do the cooking. Someday he’ll move out, and he’s much too spoiled to live on ramen and canned tomato soup like we did in our early adult years.

  4. Kristine

    Is the long rope of dough supposed to be 15in or 1.5ft before cutting into thirds? ‍♀️ I love anything with molasses and rye in it, so this is a definite must-try for me!

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      I’m grateful that you caught that vague note! The rope should be about 1.5″ thick, and about 15-18″ long. If you love molasses and rye, you can use this bucket dough for other breads too! I routinely make a “peasant loaf” with it, just shaping the bucket full of dough into 4 1-pound round loaves, slashing, letting it rise for 40 minutes and then baking in a very hot (425 degrees F) oven for 20-25 minutes. So good!

    2. dramamamafive Post author

      Kristine, thanks for pointing out that mistake in my recipe. I went in and fixed it. The long rope of dough ought to be about 1.5″ thick, and about 18″ (ish) long. If it’s difficult to get it to stretch that far, just leave it alone for 5 minutes or so. As it warms up a bit, it will be more flexible and stretchy. Word to the Wise.

  5. Brandi

    I have never heard of bucket dough before! I may need to learn more! My poor innocent sourdough starter is always begging for more attention…maybe I’m keeping the wrong bucket in my fridge!

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      Brandi, I have sourdough starter in my ‘fridge too. I love it! But my bucket dough is so quick, I pull it out when I need some bread–quick!

  6. Elisa

    I am new to your blog and love the story as well as the recipe. And now, I’m feeling a little guilty because I ordered pizza tonight. But, tomorrow is another day. The snow is coming soon and you’ve inspired me to get cooking – tomorrow. 🙂

  7. Martha

    As soon as I saw the picture in your blog post I KNEW I had to check it out! This looks so delicious and I think Lia and I will have to give it a try! I like adding an eye appealing photo and yours worked!

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      Martha, and honestly, the bread is even more delicious than that picture shows . . . !! The combination of the rye/molasses bread with warm garlic rosemary butter–imho!!–is hard to resist! Thanks for your comment.

  8. Tamara

    I am Swiss born and raised, and I’m stunned that a lady who lives in Nebraska comes up with the Wurzelbrot recipe!
    Our bakeries call it Pain Paillaisse, but yours really looks the same, and yummy for that matter!

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      Tamara, I’m so pleased to meet a Swiss lady! My hubs and I spent a couple days in Switzerland when we were doing college abroad (DECADES ago, haha) and it is such a beautiful place. I hope you try the recipe and let me know if it’s similar to the “real” Wurzelbrot! thanks kindly for your comment.

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      Martha, thank you so much for your comment(s)! I’m just catching up on them myself. I hope you report back with your experience with this recipe. It’s so good and easy.

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