Challah

March 19, 2004

I made challah earlier today.

I use the bread machine to knead and rise the dough, then I braid it by hand and bake in on tiles in the oven.

This is an extension of my ur-recipe for bread: 1 cup flour, 1/3 cup water, 1/4 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp yeast to make 1/2 lb bread.

4 cups bread machine flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 eggs
1 egg white
enough water to bring the total volume of eggs and water to 1 1/3 1 1/2 cups
1 1/4 tsp salt
2 tbsp sugar
2 1/2 tsp yeast
1/3 cup light olive oil

use the leftover egg yolk to glaze before baking.

I have some unglazed pottery tiles that I use to convert the oven into a baking surface. They are cheap and highly useful if you bake yeast bread.

EDIT: bonehead here can't count. Use one and one-half cups of fluid.

Method

Break two eggs into a measuring cup. Separate a third egg and reserve the yolk; add the white to the measuring cup. Add water to bring the total volume up to 1 1/3 1 1/2 cups. You may want to break the yolks or even beat the eggs lightly before adding the flour - we had some egg yolk goo in the corner of the bread machine after kneading.

Pour the wets into the machine, add the rest of the stuff (scoop and level your flour, you know the drill) and run on the Dough setting. Or, use the dough hook and the mixmaster and then rise it in a warm space.

After rising
punch down the dough (decant from machine, roughly flatten with your fist, pound flat with your fingertips so you get a flat sheet full of little divots, fold like a letter, bang with the heel of your hand to activate the yeast, fold like a letter, bank with the heel of your hand again. Just as Julia Child does in The Way to Cook

let it rest to relax the gluten
Divide the dough in half.
Divide each half into thirds
stretch each bit of dough into a long rope by squeezing the dough outward from the middle. Don't roll it on a table. You should have three rops about as long as your forearm.
Braid them. Use a dab of water to seal the ends.
Place on a towel on a baking sheet and let rise. Flip the towel over so it covers the dough.
Now do it again for the other half of the dough.

While the bread is rising, put your tiles or baking stone into the oven and pre-heat at 425

When the bread is roughly doubled in size but when it still springs back after being touched

Beat the reserved egg yolk with a bit of water to make a glaze.
Sprinkle your baking peel with cornmeal

Roll one loaf and its towel onto your forarm, roll it from your forarm onto the peel
Shake the peel to make sure the loaf moves freely

Paint the surface with the egg glaze
Deposit on one side of the stones or tiles

repeat with second loaf

turn down the oven
Bake for 15 minutes at 375
Flip over
bake for 5 minutes at 350
Check for doneness with instand-read thermometer - bread is done at 180 to 200 degrees.

Cool and serve.

Makes two small loaves.

Posted by Red Ted at March 19, 2004 03:52 AM | TrackBack
Comments

I think after (hearty, fresh) rye bread, challah is my favorite.

Good on you for making at home!

And good luck with the dissertation! I did not work beyond PhD coursework, but am certainly not unhappy for having left grad school.

Cheers

Posted by: Troy at March 19, 2004 07:26 AM
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