Sunday, November 1, 2015

Challah Bread

The clocks have turned back an hour so I decided to use that extra hour to bake some challah bread.  More time in the day equals more cooking and baking.

This was my first ever attempt at baking any sort of bread, so I used a recipe from the kitchn.  This recipe was easy to follow.  The bread itself was pillowy-soft with just the right amount of crunch on the outside.

Here we go!

  • 2 tsps. or 1 packet active dry or instant yeast
  • 1 cup lukewarm water
  • 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 2 tsps.salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 egg yolk (reserve egg white)
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  1. Dissolve the yeast in the water and add a pinch of sugar.  Stir to dissolve the yeast and let stand until you see a thin frothy layer on top.
  2. Whisk together the flour, sugar, and salt in a large bowl or standing mixer.
  3. Make a well in the center of the flour mix and add the eggs, yolk, and oil.  Whisk together the wet ingredients to form a slurry (semi-liquid mixture), pulling in a little flour from the sides of the bowl.
  4. Pour the yeast mixture over the slurry.  Mix the contents with a wooden spoon until the dough is difficult to mix.
  5. Using the dough hook attachment, knead the dough, on low speed, for 6 - 8 minutes.  If kneading by hand, knead for about 10 minutes.  The dough should be smooth, soft, and hold a ball-shape.
  6. Place the dough in a well oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap.  Let is rise for 1.5 - 2 hours.
  7. Separate the dough into three equal pieces.  Roll each piece to approximately 1-inch thick and 16 inches long.  Begin braiding and squeeze the ends together when finished.  
  8. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and lift the loaf on top.  Sprinkle the loaf with a little flour and drape with a clean dishcloth.  Place the pan somewhere warm and let rise for about an hour.
  9. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Whisk together the egg white and one tablespoon of water. Brush it over the bread.  Make sure to get the cracks and sides.
  10. Bake for 30 - 35 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the baking process.
  11. Let it cool until warm.  Slice and devour!

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