- Keri T.
So I would like to attempt to make Challah this weekend; I've tried it before and failed. Does anyone have any good recipes that are very thorough (I can't have any room for interpretation)? Any tips would also be helpful.
Thanks in advance
I've made challah a couple of times years ago and have had good success w/ the recipe in "Baking w/ Julia"--see link. The contributing baker is Lauren Groveman. I suggest you try to find it at your local library so that you have the word-for-word recipe along w/ pictures to help you along. It's a somewhat lengthy recipe so I'm afraid that something would be lost in paraphrasing. Alternatively, I can email the exact recipe to you if you give me your email. Good luck.
Possibly too late for today, but--
In November I attended a King Arthur baking school class with Maggie Glezer, author of "A Blessing of Bread: The Many Traditions of Jewish Bread Baking From Around the World." It was an incredible experience. The book is outstanding (many detailed recipes just for different types of challah, for example) and there is a whole illustrated section on shaping challot.
Back home, I came up with this adaptation of one of her recipes. I double the batch, make three loaves and freeze two. That way I only have to bake one week in three.
2 1/4 tsp instant yeast
About 3 3/4 c flour (I used 2 c KA white, 1 3/4 c KA whole wheat)
3/4 c warm water
2 large eggs, plus 1 for glazing
1/2 c veg oil
1 1/2 tsp table salt
1/4 c sugar
Seeds for sprinkling (optional)
1. Make a yeast slurry
In a large bowl, whisk together the yeast, 3/4 c. flour and and the warm water until smooth. Let stand uncovered 10-20 minutes until it begins to ferment and puff up slightly.
2. Mix the dough
Whisk the 2 eggs, the oil, salt and sugar into the yeast slurry until well incorporated and the salt/sugar are dissolved. Add the remaining flour all at once and stir with a wooden spoon until it is a shaggy mass. Scrape out onto your kneading surface and knead until smooth and soft, no more than 10 minutes. The dough should feel smooth and firm and knead easily without sticking to the work surface.
3. Ferment the dough
Place the dough in a bowl and cover. Let ferment until it has doubled, about 2 hours. It's better if you can refrigerate overnight then shape and bake the next day--the flavor will be more developed.
4. Shaping and proofing the dough
Line a baking sheet or sheets, depending on how many you are making, with parchment paper or a baking mat. [I have done fine with two small loaves on one large sheet.] Shape the loaf or loaves (see below**). Place them on the prepared sheets and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for up to 24 hours or let sit at room temp until tripled, about 1 1/2 hours.
30 minutes before baking, place a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat to 350. Beat the remaining egg with a pinch of salt. When loaves have proofed, glaze and sprinkle with any desired seeds. Bake the small loaves 25-35 minutes, the large 35-45 minutes. If the large loaf is getting too dark, tent with foil. Remove from oven when done and cool on a rack.
**Shaping: When forming snakes for braiding, divide dough into desired number of pieces. Here is the key: roll each piece out thinly, about 1/8 inch. Mist the surface lightly with water (to make it stick), then roll it up tightly. Then roll it gently but firmly under your palms to make the snake. When you are ready to braid, dust each snake very lightly with flour. Braid loosely to allow room for expansion. If making a 3-strand braid, taper the ends of the snakes to make a tapered loaf. Start braiding in the middle and braid to one end. Then flip the 1/2 braided loaf over and repeat with the unbraided side. This will help to get a more evenly braided loaf.
We found a shortcut and huge time saver - but this is perfect for the kids.
We take a pie pan or loaf pan, spray with butter flavored spray works nicely, and put in dough balls meant for biscuts (we use Rhodes Dough, OU and available at Wal-Mart and other groceries), packed pretty closely (about 15-18 for a pie pan) and then bake at heat on package for 30-40 minutes.
When you serve it, this is a "break apart" challah. It is excellent warm and can freeze. If you freeze, put it in the oven for a few minutes and it is great!
This company makes a really excellent challah bread mix. As good as any bakery challah I've ever had. I make the dough (enough for two loaves) in my bread machine set to dough only, then braid and bake per the 'bread machine instructions' on the box. Thank you.
This is from my book, "Honey From Flower to Table." It's easy and has never failed me....
2 tsp dry yeast
1 1/2 cups lukewarm water
2 eggs plus 1 egg yolk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup honey
2 1/2 tsp salt
3 cups whole wheat flour
4 -5 cups unbleached flour (or use all white flour for a more traditional loaf)
Sprinkle yeast over lukewarm water and let stand for 5 minutes. Stir until dissolved. Beat in eggs, yolks, oil, honey, and salt. Stir in ww flour and beat to a thick batter. Add white flour, one cup at a time, until you have a soft but not too sticky dough. Let sit for 10 minutes (this helps the dough absorb the flour). Knead for 8-10 minutes, until stretchy and elastic. Place in bowl, cover with towel, and let rise for 1 1/2 hours, or until doubled in bulk. Turn out and knead lightly for a minute or two. Separate into six long ropes, and braid each three ropes together into a long braid. Place loaves in loaf pans or on big cookie sheet, and let rise another hour. Bake at 350 degrees until well browned and hollow-sounding when tapped (approx. 45 minutes).