Sunday, August 1, 2010


I have always admired challah, but have never tried it until today. This is from The Bread Baker's Apprentice by Peter Reinhart, and it is the third bread of his that I've tried.  (The white and light wheat came out quite well despite cutting some corners on proofing.)  This is a fabulous book, and I highly recommend it.  He goes into great detail about the science of baking, if you're into that sort of thing.  :D

I decided to make 2 small loaves, so hence, 6 balls to roll out into strands.
Braiding bread is much like braiding hair.  You begin in the middle, then tuck and fold the ends underneath.  Then you flip the half-braided loaf around to face you and tuck the two outer strands underneath the middle one repeatedly, then pinch them together as a seal. 
I applied the egg wash, sprayed with olive oil, and then let them sit for an hour.

4 cups unbleached bread flour (I use King Arthur flour; it really is the best.)
2 tbsp granulated sugar
1 tsp salt (I used 4 pinches---I don't like things too salty.)
1 1/3 tsp instant yeast
2 tbsp vegetable oil (I used canola.)
2 large eggs, slightly beaten*
2 large egg yolks, slightly beaten*
3/4 cup plus 2 tbsp water, at room temp.
2 egg whites, whisked until frothy, for egg wash
sesame seeds (I didn't use these, but you can...)

*I didn't beat the eggs before combining with the other wet ingredients---why bother?

1.) Mix the flour, sugar, salt, and yeast together in a bowl.  Then, mix the veg. oil, eggs, egg yolks, and water together.  Combine all ingredients until mixture forms a ball.
2.) Knead for 10 min.
3.) Oil a large bowl, put your dough in it, then cover with plastic wrap and let sit for one hour.
4.) Remove ball of dough and knead for 2 minutes (for degassing).
5.) Return ball of dough to bowl and ferment for another hour.
6.) Divide dough into 3 pieces for a large loaf, or 6 for two loaves.  Form the dough pieces into boules and let sit for 10 min.
7.) Braid the pieces together.  Place the formed loaves onto a pan with parchment paper, brush with egg wash, spray loaves with oil, and cover with plastic wrap.  Proof for 1 hr to 1 hr. 15 min (or when the dough reaches 1.5x its original size).
8.) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Then, bake for 20 min., rotate the pan, and bake again for 20-45 min.  (size dependent).
9.) Let the bread cool down for one hour before slicing and eating (yeah right!).  Enjoy.  :D

This is after proofing.  They got huge.  :-O

A little dark (I would put aluminum foil on the bread about midway through the process next time.)  But the bread tastes good.  :)

1 comment:

Fire away.