Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Challah {Challah back?}

For those of you who have never had the privilege of smelling Challah when it bakes, you are SO missing out. You think you've been there, done that, because you've baked bread, but Challah is different. Its heaven. And that's before you even get to dig in.

I'll admit that my braids are not as well-executed as the women who make these every week for Shabbat. But, I did find this excellent Challah-braiding tutorial which I will  be using the next time I bake this bread {soon!}. I used this exact recipe from Smitten Kitchen {except I found her braiding instructions confusing} and, oh. my. goodness. Yum.

If you bake bread at all {don't be scared if you don't! It's not hard!}, you MUST try this.

1 1/2 packets {approx. 1 1/2 tablespoon} dry active yeast
1 tablespoon + 1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup olive oil
5 large eggs
1 tablespoon salt
8 - 8 1/2 cups all-purpose flour {I ALWAYS use King Arthur}

Note: This is the basic recipe. You can add sweet things, poppy seeds on the top, etc.

Dissolve yeast & 1 tablespoon of sugar in 1 3/4 cup of lukewarm water.
Wait for the top to look foamy, then whisk in olive oil, sugar and salt.
Beat in 4 eggs, one at a time.
Whisk in one cup at a time until the dough can no longer be whisked or stirred.
Turn out onto a floured surface and knead, continuing to add flour until the dough is smooth.
Oil a bowl {I use the same one I mixed in; I just let it soak with hot soapy water while I knead} and place the dough inside.
Cover with a damp towel and put the bowl somewhere warm {I heat my oven to 150, then turn it off for this step}.
Let the dough rise until double {about 1 hour, but watch it}.
Punch down the dough and let rise again for another 30 minutes or so.
When dough is risen, cut the dough in half, and then into 6 portions per half.
Roll each portion into a log about 12 inches long, and braid according to these instructions.
Place each loaf on a greased baking sheet.
Beat an egg and brush with egg wash.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
When oven is ready, re-brush with egg wash.
Bake for 30-40 minutes {try not to overcook; that is the secret to good challah}.
Let cool and try not to tear into these; it is a challenge, let me tell you!

{This is what one loaf looked like after 15 minutes. Seriously}

And, just as an FYI, this makes excellent French Toast.

{Yes, I eat French Toast with granulated sugar instead of powdered}

1 comment:

  1. I am so making this when I get time Lauren!!! Thanks for posting this to facebook :P

    Richard Godfrey