Hello to all you Loafers!
This is my first blog entry and I thought I'd start out with my second most recent endeavor (I made sourdough bagels but didn't take any pictures!). I'd like to give a little preempt by saying that I am only slightly Jewish by blood and an Atheist at heart. That being said, if you have any Jewish blood or get Anthropological hard-ons, purchase Maggie Glezer's A Blessing of Bread NOW! This book is filled to the brim with traditional but well tested/formulated recipes and all the stories, traditions and techniques that go with them.
As soon as I opened this book I would be baking a lot from it and the real challenge was to decide which recipe to try first, as you can see I choose one the the numerous Challah recipes and being a sourdough sucker I landed her My Sourdough Challah recipe.
This recipe is a winner! The one thing that a wild culture really adds to this recipe is the extra oven spring achieved that allows for this nice tears along the braids, it's one of the few loaves that have made my jaw drop. For the sake of full disclosure, I've been professionally trained as a baker and have made Challah before but those recipes were either too high hydration or fermented to quickly with too little oven spring in order to achieve those distinct braids.
I did make 1.5 adjustments to the recipe and they were to replace some of the whole eggs called for with yolks and half of the oil with olive oil. I did this for color, added richness and to avoid that eggy flavor that comes with the whites (just not my cup o' joe). The results were wonderfully yellow tinted crumb that was soft and just begged for a little of that naughty butter as well as making incredible toast.
The flavor was a perfect blend of rich and savory, using a natural levain really didn't add a tang so much as it amped up the flavor profile of the wheat to balance the eggs, sugar and oil. From beginning to end this dough was a pleasure to work with and I encourage you all to buy this book if you haven't!
I am submitting this to Yeastspotting