The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

How To Stop Challah Splitting While Baking?

  • Pin It
Nmc_12's picture
Nmc_12

How To Stop Challah Splitting While Baking?

I am a novice baker who enjoys baking challah for my Temple. Can anyone please offer advice how I can prevent my challah from "splitting" while baking and how I can get that nice golden crust without the "pool" of scrambled eggs around the base of the loaf?

golgi70's picture
golgi70

I think the splitting is frounnoticed being proofed enough. do you have a picture?  Challah needs a good final proof to avoid this common problem.

Scrambled egg is applying to much egg wash. Carefully snd lightly brush loaf with egg wash right before baking. I like to thin my egg wash with a touch of water so a light cost is easy to apply. locus on the top and don't put too much effort to wash every nook. If you do you can accidentally pool up at base and then u get scrambled eggs. 

 

Hope this helps

josh

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

egg wash right after shaping and a second time before baking, the first wash makes it easier to apply the more delicate second wash before baking.  

Nmc_12's picture
Nmc_12

Josh & Mini Oven...my recipe is easy...In Bowl #1: (1) 5 pound sack of Better for Bread Flour + 2 cups.. Bowl #2: 4 cups warm water + 1 tablespoon sugar + 3 tablespoons active dry yeast...Bowl #3: 6 large eggs, 2 cups sugar, 1 1/2 cups canola oil & 2 tablespoons Kosher salt. 

When the yeast has done its thing, I pour it into bowl #3 and use hand mixer to combine...then I make a well in the bowl with all the flour, pour the liquid into the flour and mix by hand until it's all combined and a little shaggy looking. I cover the bowl of dough and throw it in 150 degree oven for 2 hours. After 2 hours I gently remove the bubbles from the dough ball and redistribute that yeast so I can let it rise a 2nd time for 1 hour. After that, I divide the dough ball in half and I form 2 giant 6 braid challah loaves. 

This is where I believe I have been messing up (as Josh suggested). I wasn't sure how long I should have let the loaves "rest" (or proof again?) before I egg washed them and how long after I egg wash before I put them in the oven. Maybe I could even forgo the second rise and just form the loaves and let them have an hour that way? Or should I add another hour to the process following that second rise but after I form the loaves and prior to putting them in the ovens? 

i've been baking one loaf per oven @ 350 degrees for 1 hour. I'm not sure how to post a picture here. I have one I could share if you could tell me how to do it...

Thank you both for all of your help!

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

to bowl #1  and whisk it in to blend before adding liquids.    Proofing at 150°F seems too warm to me unless you shut off the oven and control temp so it doesn't get above 90°F.  Too hot a proof could be giving you a uneven rise and cause splitting of the loaf.  Try proofing at a lower temp and a longer final proof.  The first proof should just double and the second one as well. Watch the dough not the clock.

Nmc_12's picture
Nmc_12

Thanks Mini Oven! I will definitely move the salt to the bowl with the flour (I understand salt kills yeast). I was heating the oven to 150 and then turning it off prior to putting the dough in but I will try setting it at 100 and then turning it off so as not to "rush" that proofing too much! Would you recommend following the 2nd rise that I form the loaves and then let them "rest" again for another 45 minutes to an hour before baking @350? The last thing I want to do is let them proof TOO much but I'm obviously not proofing them enough (at this point).

Many Thanks again, Netha

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

you never did say where the loaf splits...     

My concern with the salt was coating salt crystals in oil first...   but you could also mix it into the liquids in bowl #2

Nmc_12's picture
Nmc_12

Oh sorry. I couldn't figure out how to attach a picture here but my loaves are splitting usually along one braided side. I never thought about the oil coating the salt! i should have paid better attention in chemistry class!

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

is more than likely under-proofed.  Or a crowed oven, but you did say the loaves were being baked one after the other.  Are both loaves split the same or one more than the other?

http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/25962/perfecting-challah

Nmc_12's picture
Nmc_12

I have 2 ovens ...both loaves are baked at the same time. And yes, both split about the same...right along one side of the loaf. I'm dying to try these suggestions out and will bake a loaf in the next day or so. I will promptly report back. I'm thinking it is exactly what you and Josh suggested. My dough (although soft and tender) holds together very well and is very easy to braid. Even my "ugly" split loaves are sweet and soft with a nice balance of flavor. It just HAS to be my technique because the lady who gave me the recipe has been making it for many years and she never has a problem with splitting. For MANY years I baked bread that could only be used as doorstops! In the last year I have conquered my fear of yeast and provided people with something edible (although not always pretty) and my husband has been thrilled at the fact that not only does the house smell like a bakery, but our garbage-can no longer needs a forklift in order that our trash-men lift the 10 ton bricks I use to bake into their truck! I will NOT give up now! I'm so filled with hope since your response I might just bake a loaf tomorrow to see what happens!!! Thank you ...I shall return!!!! L'Shalom---- Netha

Nmc_12's picture
Nmc_12

Mini...I went to the link and I had to look at that picture 3 times and ask myself if that was MY bread (but my name isn't Sadie! haha) That is EXACTLY how my challah comes out!! Thank you!

varda's picture
varda

Hi.   I have had this problem recently.   Got a lot of good advice in this post:  http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/33847/challah-splitting    Main think that helped is a lot longer first and second rise (bulk ferment and proof) than I had been doing.    Hope this helps.  -Varda

Nmc_12's picture
Nmc_12

Varda, thank you very much. I've received such great advice here...I have found my favorite go-to website with this forum. I'm in the process now of baking a loaf of challah - I couldn't wait until Friday to see if I could make this a success & I'll report back shortly! I'm keeping my fingers crossed!!!

Netha

Maverick's picture
Maverick

Let us know how the new Challah turns out. I often see this happening when the braids are too tight. You may have seen my comment in one of the other posts, but I think that a 6 braid Challah looks really nice and recommend trying it. If you do get the "splitting" it won't be on top and as obvious. Really try to keep the braid loose and remember that the braids will puff up and fill in the spaces. It is tempting to braid too tight but this will cause the splitting you are experiencing.

Nmc_12's picture
Nmc_12

Thank you Maverick. Apparently my errors were a combination of braiding too tightly, definitely NOT proofing the dough long enough and slopping too much egg wash on the bread. Everyone here has been a saving grace for me! I baked a loaf of my sweet challah the day before yesterday and I could not have been more pleased. I plan on making a giant loaf for our Shabbat services this Friday and will snap a picture to post here as a huge "thank you" to everyone here...let's HOPE it will come out again!!! I'm so very happy I found this website!  

Netha