Well this was supposed to be one of DA's famous Chacon breads but as you can see it failed miserably in the shaping department. I used the wrong size basket which I think killed it and produced a nice misshapen blob or something that looks like it escaped from Stranger Things.
Any way, it may look like it got hit with the ugly stick, but this is the most flavorful Challah I've ever made or tasted by far. The idea came to me the other day to try and do something new and different to a traditional challah to boost the flavor. I figured what better way to accomplish this lofty goal than to add a cooked porridge and also a hefty dosage of fresh milled high extraction whole wheat.
The taste is over the top on this one. You don't even need the butter or cream cheese and it will make killer French Toast for sure.
Here's how I made this disfigured concoction :). I rolled 4 equal pieces of dough into spiral balls and placed a cross over them. Next went the main dough ball.
Download the BreadStorm File here.
Mix all the levain ingredients together for about 1 minute and cover with plastic wrap. Let it sit at room temperature for around 7-8 hours or until the starter has doubled. I used my proofer set at 83 degrees and it took about 4 hours. You can use it immediately in the final dough or let it sit in your refrigerator overnight.
Add about 3/4's of the milk called for in the porridge to the dry ingredients in a small pot set to low and stir constantly until all the milk is absorbed. Add the remainder of the milk, plus the ricotta and keep stirring until you have a nice creamy and soft porridge. Remove from the heat and let it come to room temperature before adding to the dough. I put mine in the refrigerator and let it cool quicker.
Main Dough Procedure
Mix the flours, egg yolks and the water for about 1 minute. Let the rough dough sit for about 20 minutes to an hour. Next add the levain, cooled porridge, butter, honey and salt and mix on low for 5 minutes. Remove the dough from your bowl and place it in a lightly oiled bowl or work surface and do several stretch and folds. Let it rest covered for 10-15 minutes and then do another stretch and fold. Let it rest another 10-15 minutes and do one additional stretch and fold. After a total of 2 hours place your covered bowl in the refrigerator and let it rest for 12 to 24 hours. (Since I used my proofer I only let the dough sit out for 1.5 hours before refrigerating).
When you are ready to bake remove the bowl from the refrigerator and let it set out at room temperature still covered for 30 minutes. Remove the dough and shape as desired.
The dough will take 1.5 to 2 hours depending on your room temperature and will only rise about 1/3 it's size at most. Let the dough dictate when it is read to bake not the clock.
Around 45 minutes before ready to bake, pre-heat your oven to 515 degrees F. and prepare it for steam. I have a heavy-duty baking pan on the bottom rack of my oven with 1 baking stone on above the pan and one on the top shelf. I pour 1 cup of boiling water in the pan right after I place the dough in the oven.
Right before you are ready to put them in the oven, score as desired and then add 1 cup of boiling water to your steam pan or follow your own steam procedure.
Lower the temperature to 450 degrees. (I lowered the temperature for the last 15 minutes to 425). Bake for 35-50 minutes until the crust is nice and brown and the internal temperature of the bread is 205 degrees.
Take the bread out of the oven when done and let it cool on a bakers rack before for at least 2 hours before eating.