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Friday, March 6, 2009

challah bread

the first time i attempted to make challah bread, i used a recipe that called for the use of pureed pumpkin. i substituted butternut squash. it was good. but it did not turn out pretty. i didn't bother with a braid, nor did i bother to take pictures. my roommate crystal and i tore into it and snacked on it all night. when i attempted to make challah again, i went simple and no-knead.

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No Knead Challah
from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois

1 3/4 cups lukewarm water
1 1/2 tbl granulated yeast (2 packets)
1 1/2 tbl salt
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup veggie oil plus more for greasing the cookie sheet
7 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
Egg wash (1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon of water)
Poppy or sesame seeds for the top (i ix-nayed this)

Mixing and storing the dough: Mix the yeast, salt, eggs, honey, and oil with the water in a bowl, or a lidded (no airtight) food container.

Mix in the flour without kneading, using a spoon, a 14-cup capacity food processor (with dough attachment), or a heavy-duty stand mixer (with dough hook). If you're not using a machine, you may need to use wet hands to incorporate the last bit of flour.

Cover (not airtight), and allow to rest at room temperature until the dough rises and collapses (or flattens on top), approximately 2 hours.

The dough can be used immediately after the initial rise, though it is easier to handle when cold. Refrigerate in a lidded (not airtight) container and use over the next 5 days. Beyond 5 days, freeze in 1-pound portions in an airtight container for up to 4 weeks. Defrost frozen dough overnight in the refrigerator before using. Then allow the usual rest and rise time.

On baking day, butter or grease a cookie sheet or line with parchment paper, or a silicone mat. Dust the surface of the refrigerated dough with flour and cut off a 1-pound piece. Dust the piece with more flour and quickly shape it into a ball by stretching the surface of the dough around to the bottom on all four sides, rotating the ball a quarter-turn as you go.

Divide the ball into thirds, using a dough scraper or knife. Roll the balls between your hands (or on a board), stretching, to form each into a long, thin rope. If the dough resists shaping, let it rest for 5 minutes and try again. Braid the ropes, starting from the center and working to one end. Turn the loaf over, rotate it, and braid from the center out to the remaining end. This produces a loaf with a more uniform thickness than when braided from end to end.

Allow the bread to rest and rise on the prepared cookie sheet for 1 hour and 20 minutes (or just 40 minutes if you're using fresh, unrefrigerated dough).

Twenty minutes before baking time, preheat the oven to 350-degrees F. If you're not using a stone in the oven, 5 minutes is adequate. Brush the loaf with egg wash and sprinkle with the seeds.

Bake near the center of the oven for about 25 minutes. Smaller or larger loaves will require adjustments in baking time. The challah is done when golden brown, and the braids near the center of the loaf offer resistance to pressure. Due to the fat in the dough, challah will not form a hard, crackling crust.

Allow to cool before slicing or eating.

challah

i completely forgot to brush with eggwash so it looks unshiny and dry but it actually tasted really good. i'll still play around for the ultimate challah bread recipe tho. tgif. Challah!

today's song: Stereofuse, Everything


3 comments:

  1. Yay, fresh bread! I have to say - there is something SO beautiful about braided bread. Just looking at your pictures makes me want to make a challah loaf, and, I'll just be honest and say that last time, it took me like two hours (not counting rising time). I'm slow. I have no idea what my problem is.

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  2. challaaaaah!

    sorry- couldn't restrain myself. :)

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  3. shannalee - i seriously heart fresh bread, for me, it's the only way to have it now. and really, taking your time to braid bread, no matter how long it takes, is worth it in the end. i'm all about the effort and end results.

    claire - the day i made this challah, i went around calling Challah Back Girl. i totally get it! :)

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