The scent and flavor of chalka, which is Polish name for soft vanilla brioche, are part of those scents of childhood that you never forget. In my home country I usally bought it, still warm, with a rich sugar and butter crumble or with poppy seeds on top. Only now I found out that this soft brioche is actually inspired by a traditional Jewish bread – Challah – eaten during the Shabbat. Its buttery aroma and flavor is delicate and inviting.
Instructions: Chalka – soft vanilla brioche
Put the two types of flour and active dry yeast in a bowl and stir. Create a hole in the middle and add wamr melted butter, egg, warm milk, vanilla extract, sugar and a pinch of salt.
Begin to mix all ingredients then knead by hand or with a stand mixer with a dough hook for 5 minutes. The dough will be sticky but do not add more flour.
Cover the bowl with a plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until it doubles in volume (about 1 hour).
The rising times are approximate. It can take more or less time depending on the temperature of the environment, the freshness of the yeast, the strength of the flour and other factors not related to the recipe.
How to make four strand braid
After this time, deflate the dough and place on a lightly floured surface. Divide into 4 pieces and stretch each piece into long strip then join 4 tips.
Pick up the first strip from your left and pass over the second strip, under the third and again over the last one.
Take again the first strip to your left and follow the same way as before moving the strip over, under and again over.
Continue in this way until you have created your brioche. Then join the tips and fold them under the brioche.
Move your chalka on a baking tray, previously lined with baking paper, cover with cotton cloth and let rise again for about 1 hour.
Brush your brioche with egg wash (whisk an egg with a tablespoon of water) and sprinkle with some poppy seeds. Bake in a preheated static oven at 175 °C for 25 – 35 minutes.
Cover with aluminum foil if it is getting brown too fast. Let it cool down completely before serving.
lot of love. B.
p.s. If you are looking for another variation of this soft brioche check my Chalka z kruszonka – Polish sweet bread with crumble. (foto below)