Berne Brot

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Dough Yield: About


    braids at 1.125 lb each

Appears in


By Jeffrey Hamelman

Published 2004

  • About

Berne Brot is a Braided Swiss Bread from the city of Berne. Although visually it is similar to challah, it is actually quite different: Instead of vegetable oil, Berne Brot has butter, and in place of water, it has milk.

This richness is very evident in the eating: The bread is tender and moist, with a thin, leathery crust and delicate pale gold crumb. The butter, eggs, and milk help it keep well; leftover bread makes excellent French toast. This is another dough that lends itself to overnight retarding in bulk form. In this case, the desired dough temperature is 75° to 78°F. After mixing, bulk ferment at room temperature for 1 hour, then place the dough in the retarder or refrigerator. The dough should be degassed twice during the first 4 to 6 hours of refrigeration. The benefits of overnight retarding are improved dough texture and keeping quality. A colder dough temperature also makes it easier to form strands.

U.S. Metric Home Baker’s %
Bread Flour 15 lb 7.5 kg 1 lb, 8 oz ( cups) 75%
High-Gluten Flour 5 lb 2.5 kg 8 oz (1⅞ cups) 25%
Milk 9 lb 4.5 kg 14.4 oz ( cups) 45%
Yolks .5 lb .25 kg .8 oz (2 yolks) 2.5 %
Whole Eggs 2.66 lb 1.33 kg 4.3 oz (2 Eggs) 13.3 %
Butter, Soft 3 lb 1.5 kg 4.8 oz ( T) 15%
Sugar 1.1 lb .55 kg 1.8 oz ( T) 5.5 %
Salt .4 lb .2 kg .6 oz (1 T) 2%
Yeast .44 lb, fresh .22 kg, fresh .23 oz, instant dry (2 tsp) 2.2 %
Total Yield 37.1 lb 18.55 kg 3 lb, 10.9 oz 185.5 %


  1. MIXING: Place all the ingredients in the mixing bowl. In a spiral mixer, mix on first speed for 3 minutes until all the ingredients are thoroughly incorporated, then on second speed for 4 or 5 minutes more. The goal is to develop a strong gluten network. The dough will be comparatively stiff, although slightly looser than challah dough. The desired dough temperature is 78° to 80°F.
  2. BULK FERMENTATION: 2 hours.
  3. FOLDING: Fold the dough once, after 1 hour of fermentation.
  4. DIVIDING AND SHAPING: Divide the dough into appropriate-sized pieces. Preshape round or into blunt cylinders and let rest on an unfloured work surface, covered with plastic. When relaxed enough to be elongated without tearing, usually 10 to 15 minutes, roll out the strands and form the braids. Once braided, proof the loaves, covered with baker’s linen and a sheet of plastic to prevent the formation of a skin. If using a proof box with humidity, set the controls low enough to prevent excess humidity from causing the individual strands to merge together.
  5. FINAL FERMENTATION: 1½ to 2 hours at about 76°F.
  6. BAKING: Before baking, thoroughly egg wash the surface of the Berne Brot. If desired, sprinkle poppy or sesame seeds on top. Bake without steam at 375°F. Baking time is determined by the size of the loaves. A braid weighing 18 ounces (1.125 pounds) should bake in about 30 to 35 minutes. If the oven has vents, they should remain open throughout the bake.