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Scottsdale bakery adds Karsh’s head baker, bread

LISTEN: Arizona Bread Company hires Karsh's baker

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — A Scottsdale bakery is hoping to meet the needs of customers who used to go a renowned downtown Phoenix business.

Karsh’s Bakery closed down its 7th Street location last month after nearly 50 years in business.

Customer Zach Epstein was there on the last day, and said he was pretty upset.

“I don’t know if there’s another good Kosher bakery around. I’ll have to look,” Epstein said.

But he still may be able to get a taste of Karsh’s at another bakery. That’s because Jeff Benkel, who owns the Arizona Bread Company in Scottsdale, was also a Karsh’s fan.

“Karsh’s was well known. We ate there a lot and always loved the rye bread,” Benkel said.

And he’s bringing that bread to his business, located at 7000 E. Shea Blvd. He started out by hiring Karsh’s former head baker, Seraphin Nieves.

“I am always on the lookout for talent, and realized that their head baker has been doing this for 30 years,” said Benkel.

Arizona Bread Company does not own the rights to Karsh’s name, so Benkel says he’ll “probably” call the bread a Jewish or white rye. It’ll be baked in a different kind of oven and will have “a few more seeds,” but Benkel said that it’s basically the same bread.

“It’s the original formula. We’re doing the preferment (and) we’re doing the sour just the way they did. We’re making it available at the farmers markets that we do here in the store,” said Benkel. “For the people who always loved the bread, we want to make sure that it’s continued to be made available.”

Arizona Bread Company may also incorporate Karsh’s recipe into its challah.

“We make a really good challah now,” Benkel said. “I would like to get the extra flavor that’s ours, but more of the volume and the texture of theirs. We’re going to be looking to kind of pull the best attributes of both.”