The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

My Daily Bread-Challah

  • Pin It
ehanner's picture
ehanner

My Daily Bread-Challah

This being my very first attempt at Challah, and knowing up front that it was going to be a party gift no matter how it turned out, well I was concerned. Add to the fact that my only experience braiding is a few lame tries at pig tails and this is a 6 strand French Braid. My first braid is the loaf in the background,(any wonder why?)  The second try is much better which once again proves even a retarded man can learn to braid if he watches the video 25 times! :>)

I have enjoyed this soft and tasty bread a few times at parties over the years. Fresh off a few successful weeks of intensive learning here at "The Fresh Loaf", I thought I could trust myself to bake a better loaf than the local big box supermarket offers.  This was fun to make and all in a days work. I started last night at midnight with a preferment (actually the talk on the daily board has me confused about what to call it when you toss a pinch of yeast in a 100+% hydration autolyse and let  it sit overnight), and finished at 4:00 PM today. This is a cold start bake with the oven only energised for 40 minutes. It took me longer than that to figure out the braids.

Although the recipes are similar, I didn't use the one on the forum. Instead I used this one from Tracy. She has a well done video on her page and I thought a good formula for a 2 loaf batch. http://thsprague.blogspot.com/2006/09/video-braiding-six-strand-challah.html . The easy way would be to do a three strand braid and top it with another three strand braid, which is how most sites suggest. This was challenging on a few levels. Overall I'm happy with the outcome. I won't get to taste this for a few hours since I'm almost sure my wife would smack me if I took a little bite out at the end, now. So I'll have to report back later.

Eric

mse1152's picture
mse1152

Eric,

Those are gorgeous, and taking on the six-braid instead of just three is to be commended.  It's really fun to take on a recipe you haven't made before.

Sue 

Susan's picture
Susan

Good job!  You should be very happy with them.  Take the camera and have everyone pose behind your Challah!
Susan

weavershouse's picture
weavershouse

Those are so perfect. I've made lots of challah but never tried a 6 braid. Wow, great job.                                                                                                         weavershouse

smartdog's picture
smartdog

I posted my recent challah about a week ago, but looking at your lovely 6 strand braid is mind numbing. I did a 4 strand and thought I had outdone myself. Obviously not. LOL

Luv4Country Soaps
 
http://www.luv4country.com/catalog

browndog's picture
browndog

How pretty. Do you find it as hard as I do to cut into something so nice? I almost wouldn't care if I never got to taste it, so long as it sat around looking like that forever.

ehanner's picture
ehanner

Thank you all for your encouraging words! I was really proud of my 6 strand bread. When we got to the party tonight My wife and I and her family were a minority in a room full of people who know what Challah is supposed to look like. It was very pleasing to hear the complements coming from the Aunts of the Birthday girl. The 2 loaves were gone in a flash and I never got to sample it. So many people, so little bread. The chef from the catering company wanted to know where I bought it so I guess it was a hit. I'll have to make it again next week for us.

Now my wife wants to know if I can do her hair the same way!

Eric

caryn's picture
caryn

Wow!!!!  Your challah looked fantastic, and I don't know if I have ever achieved such a perfect looking loaf myself, and I have been making challah for years.

ehanner's picture
ehanner

Believe me it's beginners luck. My wife has made braided and figured loaves in the past around the Holidays and I always marvel at how nice they look. She is an artist so for her the finished product looks like a danish girl with braids or some other figure. It is such a nice pattern after the final rise.

Thanks again for your kind words.

Eric

tattooedtonka's picture
tattooedtonka

Well I did it.  After looking at so many Challah posts as of late I finally tried it.  And I wonder, did you have to unbraid and rebraid at any point during your trial?

I came into my office just before shaping and watched your attached video, just one more time.  Then I beat feet into the kitchen to shape.  I was doing good, and then about 1/2 way in, My one hand moved faster than my other and I had no idea what was next.  So I undid it, and tried again.  No not that way, undid it and then tried a third time.  This time seem to be it, and I labored on till the end.  Now I'm doing the last 60 minute wait before throwing 'er into the oven. 

Its not as pretty as yours but Im still optomistic.

TT

ehanner's picture
ehanner

TT,

If you look closely in the background the second loaf is lurking in mangleville. I finally gave up and resigned myself to the fact I'm missing the required genes to braid. Then when I looked at the second loaf I got new inspiration and watched the video a few more times so I would understand a pattern. Finally as they say in Boston "The sun dawns on Marblehead" and I think I can remember the three step pattern for the time it takes to walk to the kitchen. At last, I get through it to the end and declare victory. Yes I undid the first one a couple times.

If we renamed these "Worms" the outcome would be acceptable no matter how they looked.

Eric

ehanner's picture
ehanner

TT,

Being a gluten (or is that glutton) for punishment I decided to make another batch yesterday afternoon. We never got to taste the bread after giving it to the host. It just vanished off the table. I was a little worried about all the sugar and salt called for in he recipe. I cut into a loaf this morning and found it to be delicious. There is a very slight saltiness with the first bite so maybe I'll cut back just a little in the future.

My second braiding attempt was no better than the first. You are right about to many moving parts. By the end I was just trying to make it look decent. Oh well, it tastes great and doesnt look that bad after all.

Eric

tattooedtonka's picture
tattooedtonka

My finished product is on with latest bagel blog, not too pretty, not too ugly though either. 

My wife (being a Challah aficianado) said mine was o.k. but needed to be a little sweeter and a little yellower in the crumb department.  I used BBA's recipe, and saw that there was the option of doubling the sugar content (which I did not do).  And by the recipe from your video link above, the young lady used yellow food coloring in her dough.  So back to the drawing board for me.  I'm not defeated yet.

Nice to here your second batch was as great tasting as your first looked.  I'm sure it was just as superb.

Talk to ya later,

TT

ehanner's picture
ehanner

TT I followed the recipe in the link I posted. It did have 4 T sugar if I recall and 6 drops of yellow food color. Taste was great!.

 Good luck.

Eric

zolablue's picture
zolablue

WOW!  Eric, you made beautiful bread.  You are really baking some incredible things these days. 

I am ashamed to say I've not yet baked challah and really have to put this on my "to do very soon" list.  I'm a girl so, of course, I'm very good at braiding and having grown up with very long blonde braids...I'm partial to the style.  Well, not anymore, thankfully, I did grow out of them.  :o)  But I think that will be the easy part for me but we'll see.  I hope I can do as well as you have here.  I love good challah and it is supposed to make the very best French toast, too.

tigressbakes's picture
tigressbakes

They look gorgeous Eric!

ehanner's picture
ehanner

Thanks both of you for your kind words. They do bake up nicely and the trick about applying the seeds from that recipe is a keeper. I've never had much luck getting seeds to stick but these are glued on. When the dough expands they spread out giving a nicer look.

I have heard the same about french toast. I suppose the eggs in the bread give it a better flavor.

I'm going to be trying other specialty breads and showing them here. I want to do some theme cooking. For example I plan on creating a Mideastern starter and serving a BBQ lamb dish with flat breads in the original style. Maybe a Russian rustic sourdough and borsch soup. That kind of thing. The bread actually will be the tie in from dishes I have done in the past. The idea is to serve the meal as the early generations would have eaten it.

Anyway, thanks again. I sure am enjoying learning how to bake on "The Fresh Loaf".

Eric

weavershouse's picture
weavershouse

Those are picture perfect. Great job. Besides making great French Toast this bread makes the best bread pudding.   

Sounds like you have plans for some wonderful dinners. You have some lucky friends. If they don't appreciate it give the Fresh Loaf gang a call and we'll all be there.                              weavershouse