Challah

4 cups bread flour, plus more as needed or 4 cups all-purpose flour plus 4 teaspoons of vital wheat gluten (this is what I used, as it seems easier to store the small pouch of gluten than another brick of flour. You should be able to find it adjacent the flour in your grocery store.)

1 ½ teaspoons active dry yeast

1 teaspoon salt

3 eggs (room temp)

2 eggs divided – yolks for dough, whites for egg wash (room temp)

1 tablespoon white sugar

2 tablespoons honey (or just use 3 tablespoons white sugar)

¾ cup water, warm room temp

2 tablespoons butter, melted

oil for dough

In bowl of stand mixer or large bowl, mix together flour, gluten (if using), salt, sugar, and yeast.

Stir together water, honey, butter, eggs, 3 eggs, and 2 egg yolks. Add to flour mix and stir, then knead with dough hook on high for 4-6 minutes, or until dough passes windowpane test, meaning a small piece pinched off can be stretched until semi-transparent without breaking.

Grease dough lightly with vegetable oil and allow to rise in a warm place for an hour and a half, or until doubled.

Punch down the dough and let rest for 10 minutes. Divide dough into 3 equal segments and braid them. Place on a parchment-paper lined baking sheet.

Whisk together the egg whites with a tablespoon or so of water and brush the loaves with it.

Allow to rise for another hour to hour and a half, until doubled.

Brush loaf with egg wash again once risen. Preheat oven to 350. Bake for 25-35 minutes or until golden brown in color and loaf makes a hollow sound when thumped.

I find it easiest to get evenly baked loaves that aren’t too brown if you make the strands fairly long and skinny before braiding.

Makes one large loaf or, as shown, two small loaves (which would necessitate dividing the dough into 6 equal pieces, etc., etc.).

Because it’s basically just a white bread with eggs, Challah is simple to make and hard to altogether ruin. Just be sure to knead it long enough and give it ample rise time, and the ingredients do the work for you.

It’s practically a self-making bread.

From http://foodforpoems.blogspot.com

Comments