Challa/Berches

My favorite bread since childhood.

 

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Where I grew up, it is sold in every bakery, but where I live now, it is completely unknown. That’s quite surprising, because it’s the traditional Jewish bread for Shabbos. In England and New York, berches, or rather challa, is easy to get, but in my experience it is hardly available in Germany outside Upper Swabia.
I can’t buy this bread? Then I’ll just bake it myself.

 
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My first attempt.
The following recipe is a mixture of several, including a traditional one and one from my favorite bakery. I also use butter and milk powder here.

Berches ( 1 loaf)

For the poolish:
75 g water approx. 20°C
1g yeast
75 g wheat flour 550

Mix everything together and leave to stand for 1.5 hours at room temperature and then leave to rise for 12-18 hours in the fridge.

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For the main dough:

Poolish from the fridge ́
425 g wheat flour 550
1 medium boiled potato approx. 80 g (cooled, peeled and grated) 180-200 g water approx. 32 °C
2.5 g yeast
10 g salt
12g milk powder
12g butter
12g baking malt
Poppy seeds for sprinkling

Knead: Mix all ingredients slowly for 4 minutes and then knead faster for approx. 6 minutes (window test), the rather firm dough will come away from the bowl. The dough temperature should be approx. 24-25°C.

Proofing: 3.5 -4 h covered at room temperature.

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Work up: Separate three 80 g pieces from the dough for the plait, round all the pieces. After briefly relaxing the main part, roll it into an elongated loaf. Form approx. 30 cm long strands from the small pieces and braid them into a triple plait. Place the plait on the loaf and then cover with a cloth.

Piece proof: Cover the plait and leave to rise for 1.5 hours at room temperature until it has increased significantly in size. Just before baking, spray with salt water and sprinkle with poppy seeds.

Bake: Preheat the oven to 200°C. Bake with a strong steam. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes until the crust is nicely colored.

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