08 February 2012

Bake 52: Challah

Bread. Yum. I had no idea what Challah meant or was, etc. So I did a little research, (straight to Wikipedia, of course). Here's their definition of Challah... in case you were wondering too: "According to Jewish tradition... This "double loaf" (in Hebrew: lechem mishneh) commemorates the manna that fell from the heavens when the Israelites wandered in the desert for forty years after the Exodus from Egypt. The manna did not fall on the Sabbath or holidays; instead, a double portion would fall the day before the holiday or sabbath." There you go. Now you know. And, knowing is half the battle. I've always wondered what the other half is, but unfortunately, GI Joe never did expand on that one.

 On to the bread... I like making bread, or rolls. Growing-up we almost always had homemade rolls on Sunday. And probably had homemade bread more than store-bought. What can I say, I was spoiled. My mom is an excellent bread/roll maker. And, she taught me. I'm not sure that I'm as good as her, but I do really enjoy making bread. So this was a fun recipe.

 Here's a picture of the eggs, 2 large eggs and one egg yolk. Not sure why you need to see this picture, except that eggs are pretty. Yellow. Nice. Anyway, I did like that you save the white to use later to brush on top of the bread for the deep glossy shine. I always feel bad to throw the white away. Feels so wasteful.

 The flour, sugar, yeast, and salt are combined in the mixing bowl, and then the warm water, butter and eggs are then added while mixing. I usually add my yeast to the water/sugar mixture, and allow the yeast to soften and proof/grow a bit before adding the flour/salt, so this was different for me. But I listened, and followed their directions.

This cookbook is really good at giving time limits for everything... mix until the dough comes together, about 2 minutes... knead until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes. It's nice. And helpful. Especially I think, if you haven't had much experience with bread-making. They're thoughtful that way.

Once it's all come together, you get to knead the dough by hand a bit, until it's a nice ball. Then place in a greased bowl and allow to rise. You'll see in my pictures, that my dough ball doesn't look like THAT much bigger after rising. But it really did sit for a long time. The recipe says to leave it for 1-1 1/2 hours... mine probably sat for 2-2 1/2 hours. There you go.

 The ball is then cut into two pieces. One twice as large as the other. Then each piece is cut into 3 pieces. Rolled into ropes, and braided.

The larger braid goes on the bottom, and is brushed with the egg wash. Then the smaller braid is placed on top, ends tucked under, and allowed to rise again.

 When the rising is complete. The whole thing is brushed with egg wash, sprinkled with sesame seeds or poppy seeds, and baked.

 And the finished product. I think it looks marvelous. And it was really yummy too. It was a fun recipe. I liked braiding the bread, and the end look, was just fun. The book said to try it the next day as french toast. We have yet to test this one out... but I'm thinking that might be a good idea.

 For the complete recipe, check out Jennifer's blog for the full recipe.


Jen said...

Your Challah really was beautiful!! You did a great job! I love the new blog look, too. very cute.

Amanda said...

Your bread looks great! I wonder why it took so long to rise??? Mine was the same way. I started to worry I would have to start over!

Talesha said...

Thanks for the research, I did wonder! When I first read Challah, my mind would not stop singing, "halla halla halla" from the Barenaked Ladies song, Who Needs Sleep (I countdown, I look around
Halla halla halla). Then my mind went to Horchata and I kept thinking we were doing some kind of cool rice drink! Manna. Go figure.
I love that you like to make bread, I hope to get there some day! Your Challah looks awesome!