Monday, September 10, 2012
My First Challah
My first challah and really excited to make it, not excited about how it tastes like but rather excited over braiding the bread actually. It is a Jewish bread that is traditionally eaten on Shabbat ( rest day ). I understand for challah, there are 3 braid ones, 4 braid, 5 braid, 6 braid and also a double braid ( meaning one smaller loaf on top of another bigger loaf). I want to make a 6 braided one. I'm not even good at braiding hair, so you think i'm so clever to make a 6 braided loaf?? With the guide from youtube here, of course! If you are really keen on making a 6 braid challah, do watch the video, it's really helpful. I have to watch it many times, keep pausing it and writing the steps on a piece of paper. Importantly is that if you're braiding it for the first time, make sure nobody talks to you, nothing distracting you, off the phone or something because once you stop, it can get quite confusing continuing the steps. Ha!
I'm using Peter Reinhart's recipe here to make my challah, although it is an enriched type of bread, i dont actually find it rich though but it's quite a delicious bread. Nice texture, soft. I ate many slices just on its own and kept one loaf in the freezer. I noticed that a lot of challah recipes use vegetable oil and not butter and it seems that in sabbath meals, meat and dairy food are not to be consumed together, so i think that could be one of the reasons why no butter or milk are used in most challah recipes. Do you know how to pronounce challah? I for one will pronounce it as ' cha-lah" but no, not right, it goes something like 'ha-lah'.
Recipe ( from Peter Reinhart The Bread Baker's Apprentice )
makes 2 loaves
4 cups ( 18oz ) unbleached bread flour
2 tbsps ( 1 oz) sugar
1 1/3 tsp ( 0.15oz ) instant yeast
2 tbsps ( 1 oz) vegetable oil
2 large ( 3.3oz) eggs, slightly beaten
2 large ( 1.25oz) egg yolks, slightly beaten
3/4cup plus 2tbsps to 1 1/8cups ( 7-9 oz) water, room temperature
2 egg whites, whisked until frothy, for egg wash ( i used 1 whole egg, beaten )
sesame seeds for garnish
1. Stir together the flour, sugar, salt and yeast in the bowl of an electric mixer/machine. In a separate bowl, whisk together the oil, eggs and yolks and 3/4 cup water. Pour the egg mixture into the flour mixture and beat with paddle attachment ( i used a dough hook all the way ) on low speed until all the ingredients comes to form a ball. Add the remaining water, if needed. ( i added about 1/4 cup water more )
2.Change to dough hook and increase the speed to medium low speed for 6 mins, sprinkle more flour if needed, should pass the windowpane test ( mine takes about 15 minutes to achieve that ). Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and form a round dough and let it proof in an oiled bowl for 1 hour.
3.Remove the dough from bowl and knead for 2 mins to degas. Reshape it into a ball again and let if proof for another 1 hour, should be 1.5 times its original size.
4. Remove the dough and divide the dough into 2 equal portions and each portion, divide into 6 pieces and let the rest for 10 mins before shaping. For how to shape the 6 braided challah, kindly refer here.
5. Line a sheet pan or baking tray with parchment paper and transfer the loaves to the pan . Brush the loaves with egg wash and mist the loaves with spry oil and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Proof for 60-75 mins or until the dough has grown to 1.5 times its original size. Preheat the oven at 350F/177C, brush again with egg wash and sesame seeds on top. Place it in the middle rack on the oven. ( I only did egg wash once that is just before putting it in the oven and did not mist the loaves, i overlooked it!)
6. Bake for 20 minutes, rotate the pan 180degrees and continue to bake for another 20-45 minutes, depending on the size of the loaf. The bread should be rich golden brown and register 190F in the center. When done, transfer the bread to a rack and cool at least 1 hour before slicing. ( i baked mine at 175C for 20 minutes , rotate the pan and baked for another 20 minutes)
Linking this post to Bake Your Own Bread ( BYOB) hosted by Heather, MIchelle and Connie