The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

challah

SumisuYoshi's picture
SumisuYoshi

Sourdough Pumpkin Cranberry Challah

When I was finishing off the last of the challah I made the week before I made this one, I was trying to figure out what to do with some leftover cranberry sauce and leftover pumpkin from other things I'd made, then the idea came to me, what about a challah made with two doughs? One with pumpkin puree providing much of the hydration, and one with cranberry sauce providing much of the hydration. I thought the colors and flavors would make a really interesting combination. And, while I was at it, why not make it with my levain? Having only made challah twice before, this may have been a bit ambitious, but why not! I decided to use the challah recipe in Bread Baker's Apprentice as a starting point, as I liked the loaf I'd made the week beforehand. I took a look at the hydration in the recipe and calculated out how much flour and hydration I wanted in the preferment, I had to estimate here as I didn't know what percentage of the pumpkin puree and cranberry sauce was water. The cranberry sauce definitely had a lower water content, and it also seemed to have somewhat of an inhibiting effect on the levain. I'm not sure why, but I have some ideas. It may have been the sugar and/or acidity levels of the sauce, or the lower availability of water because there was less water in the sauce. The more mundane reason, it could just be that I forgot to get the cranberry sauce to room temperature first (not to mention our house is colder than room temperature) so the cold starter and cold cranberry sauce may have just stayed cold much longer, as the cranberry dough did rise at the same speed as the pumpkin on the final rise.

Sourdough Pumpkin Cranberry Challah

Pumpkin Cranberry Challah Recipe

Makes: 1 large loaf or 2 small loaves

Time: 2 days. First day: Pumpkin and Cranberry starter. Second day: mix final dough, ferment, degas, shape, final rise, bake.

Ingredients: (baker's % are at the bottom of the post, or will be in a day or two for now they are here)

 

  Cranberry Dough  
Starter    
  Flour 4.5 oz
  Cranberry Sauce 3.5 oz
  Water 1.250 oz
  66% Levain .5 oz
Final Dough    
  Starter 9.75 oz
  Flour 6.5 oz
  Sugar .5 oz
  Salt .125 oz
  Vegetable Oil .5 oz
  Eggs 1 Large Egg
  Egg Yolks 1 Large Egg Yolk
  Water 1 oz.

 

  Pumpkin Dough  
Starter    
  Flour 4.5 oz
  Pumpkin Puree 3.5 oz
  Water 1 oz
  66% Levain .5 oz
Final Dough    
  Starter 9.5 oz
  Flour 6.5 oz
  Sugar .5 oz
  Salt .125 oz
  Vegetable Oil .5 oz
  Eggs 1 Large Egg
  Egg Yolks 1 Large Egg Yolk
  Water 1 oz.
  Ground Cinnamon 1/2 tsp
  Ground Nutmeg 1/8 tsp
  Ground Cloves 1/8 tsp
  Ground Allspice 1/8 tsp

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Directions:

  1. Mix the starters: ‘Cream’ the levain with the water and cranberry sauce, and water and pumpkin puree. Then mix in the flour until the dough forms a loose ball. Let rest 5 minutes, and then knead for 3 minutes to ensure adequate mixing. Place each starter in a lightly oiled container or bowl.

    Sourdough Pumpkin Cranberry ChallahSourdough Pumpkin Cranberry ChallahSourdough Pumpkin Cranberry ChallahSourdough Pumpkin Cranberry Challah

  2. Leave the starters to ferment: Leave the starters in a room temperature place to rise until nearly doubled, degas the starters and refrigerate unless you will be finishing the dough then. If refrigerating, remove from the fridge at least an hour before you start the final dough.

    Sourdough Pumpkin Cranberry ChallahSourdough Pumpkin Cranberry Challah

  3. Pre-mix ingredients: Stir together the flour, sugar and salt (and spices for the pumpkin dough), and mix the starter with the oil, water, egg and egg yolk (making it wetter so it will more easily mix with the dry ingredients).
  4. Mix everything into a dough: For both doughs: pour the liquid ingredients with starter into the dry ingredients and with a large spoon, dough whisk, or a stand mixer, mix until a ball forms, adding additional water or flour as needed.
  5. Knead to develop gluten: Knead for about 5-8 minutes, or until the dough passes the windowpane test. Once again, do this for both doughs. Once kneaded, place each dough in a lightly oiled container or bowl with a cover.

    Sourdough Pumpkin Cranberry ChallahSourdough Pumpkin Cranberry Challah

  6. Degas both doughs after they have nearly doubled: Gently remove them from their bowl or container, turn them out onto a lightly floured surface, and degas. After degassing, divide each dough piece in half, (or any other even numbered amount, or any other division you want, however you need equally sized pieces unless making a double braid) form into a rough boule and let sit a few minutes to relax.

    Sourdough Pumpkin Cranberry ChallahSourdough Pumpkin Cranberry ChallahSourdough Pumpkin Cranberry Challah

  7. Shape boules into strands: Roll the boules out into strands, spend a little bit on each one then move to the next so the first has a chance to relax, until you end up with strands an appropriate length for the braid you plan on doing.
  8. Braid loaf as desired: I’m horrible at braiding so I’m not going to try to give advice on it! After braiding, place the loaf on parchment paper on a baking sheet and brush loaf with 1 egg white whipped until frothy, saving the remainder for after proofing.

    Sourdough Pumpkin Cranberry ChallahSourdough Pumpkin Cranberry Challah

  9. Proof loaf: Place loaf on sheet in a food safe plastic bag, or spray some plastic wrap lightly with oil and cover the loaf with the wrap. Leave the loaf to proof at room temperature until about 1 and a half to twice its original size, about 1-2 hours depending on room temperature and your starter.
  10. Preheat oven to 350°F: Just before placing the loaf in the oven, brush again with the egg wash and top with any seeds or other garnishes you like. Place the loaf in the oven on the middle rack and bake for 20 minutes before rotating the loaf 180°, continue baking for 20-40 minutes until the loaf is golden brown and measures about 190°F in the center. When done, remove from the oven to a cooling rack, and let cool for 1-2 hours before slicing.

    Sourdough Pumpkin Cranberry ChallahSourdough Pumpkin Cranberry ChallahSourdough Pumpkin Cranberry ChallahSourdough Pumpkin Cranberry Challah

 

This challah was really awesome, great flavors, and great colors! You may want to increase the amount of the spices some, it was just barely enough in my opinion. But you don't want it to overpower the other flavors. I made some french toast with this bread, while we normally only use cinnamon, I added ground cloves, nutmeg, allspice, and ginger to the mix this time. It was like pumpkin pie french toast, but with a bit of fruity overtone from the cranberry. Definitely a good bread for the fall holidays.

Note: As with my last bread, this one can be made as a straight dough, rather than sourdough. Just mix everything in one step, add about 2/3 tsp yeast and add .3 oz. flour and .2 oz. water to compensate for the lack of levain.

And my second recipe submission YeastSpotting . I really enjoyed this one and hope other people enjoy it, or are inspired to their own creation!

 

Gunslinger's picture

Some of my sourdough loaves

November 22, 2009 - 8:15pm -- Gunslinger

I'm new here, and I see a lot of pics of folks' loaves of bread and thought I too would share some pics of some of mine.

I make all sorts of bread, but sourdough is certainly my favorite to work with. I have 4 starters including one wheat starter going all the time.

Here is the first sourdough challah I made. This bread has an awesome flavor.

mrosen814's picture
mrosen814

Here are some photos from last night's Rosh Hashana Challah bake! 

flour-girl's picture

fixing too-stiff dough?

June 18, 2009 - 6:57am -- flour-girl

Hi --

I made challah from the "Bread Baker's Apprentice" yesterday and was not at all happy with the dough. 

It turned out much too stiff. I kept adding drips of water, but was worried about adding too much.

I wrote more about it in this post at Flour Girl.

Anything I could've done to fix it?

Thanks and happy baking!

Heather/Flour Girl

Haley's picture
Haley

The other day, I tried making bread for the first time. I chose Challah. It looked so delicious. Was this a bad choice for a first timer??? I have no clue about what breads are harder to make than others. My husband and I were left with a flat, dense braided loaf of solid dough.

Today...I tried it again...I just got up and checked my second loaf...and it didnt turn out. Ugh. That's frustrating.

I might try this method out: http://www.motherearthnews.com/Real-Food/Artisan-Bread-In-Five-Minutes-A-Day.aspx

 

pmccool's picture
pmccool

I wanted to make a bread for a recent gathering of friends.  My preference was for something sweet but not a sticky, gooey kind of sweet.  After paging through a number of books, I came across a recipe in Beth Hensperger's The Bread Bible for a sweet vanilla challah that sounded like it would fit the bill.  The recipe called for just 1/2 cup of sugar in a two-loaf batch of bread, so it wasn't excessively sweet.  The flavor, though, was driven by 1-1/2 tablespoons of vanilla extract in the dough and another teaspoon of vanilla extract in the glaze.  How could it be anything but good?

The dough ingredients include:

1 tablespoon yeast (instant or active dry)

1/2 cup sugar

1 tablespoon salt

6-1/2 to 7 cups of flour

1-3/4 cups hot water (120 F)

4 large eggs at room temperature, lightly beaten

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1-1/2 tablespoons vanilla extract

The glaze ingredients include:

1 large egg yolk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon sugar

Process

Combine the yeast, sugar, salt and 2 cups of the flour; mix by hand or by mixer.

Add the hot water, eggs, oil, and vanilla.  Beat hard until smooth.  Add the remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time.  Continue beating until the dough is too stiff to stir.

Turn out on a lightly floured surface and knead until soft and springy and a layer of blisters shows under the skin, about 4 minutes.  (Note: I did not see any blisters forming, but kneaded until the dough was smooth and elastic.)  The dough needs to be slightly firm for free-form loaves.

Place the dough in a greased deep container.  Turn the dough once to coat the top and cover with plastic wrap.  Let rise at room temperature until doubled in bulk, 1-1/2 to 2 hours.  (Even with room temperature at a relatively cool 65F in my kitchen, it did not need this much time to double.  I could see this doubling in less than an hour with warmer, summer-time temperatures.)

Grease or parchment-line 1 or 2 baking sheets.  (I went with 2 sheets, not wanting to risk the two loaves growing together while they baked.  It turned out to be a good choice.  Note that Ms. Hensperger also offers the option of using springform pans.)  Gently deflate the dough.  Turn the dough onto a lightly-floured surface.  Divide the dough in 2 equal portions.  Roll each portion out into a smooth, thick strip about 30 inches long, with one end 2-3 inches wider than the other.  (Picture a shorter, thicker billiard cue stick.)  Roll to to lengthen and taper the thinner end.  With the wide end on the work surface, lift the tapered end and wind the rest of the dough around the thick end 2 or 3 times, forming a compact coil.  Pinch the thin end to the body of the coil and tuck it under.  Place the coils, with the swirl pattern facing up, on the baking sheet(s).  Cover loosely with plastic wrap and allow to rise until nearly doubled in bulk, about 30-40 minutes.  Because of the eggs, this loaf does not need to double completely; it will rise enough in the oven.  (And how!  It sprang up to double or treble its original height.)

Twenty minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 350F.  To make the vanilla egg glaze, whisk together the egg yolk, vanilla and sugar in a small bowl.  Beat until well blended.  Gently brush the dough surfaces with a thick layer of the glaze.  Place the baking sheet(s) on a rack in the center of the oven and bake 40-45 minutes, or until a deep, golden brown and the loaves sound hollow when tapped with your finger.  Carefully lift the turbans off the baking sheet(s) with a spatula and transfer to cooling racks.  Cool completely before slicing.

The finished bread looks like this:

Sweet vanilla challah

Sweet vanilla challah

Now, any bread smells good when it's baking.  This bread's fragrance while baking is over the top; our whole house was perfumed with vanilla. 

The flavor is also marvelous.  The crumb is fine-textured, smooth and moist.  It's good all by itself, with a dab of butter, with jam or marmalade, and toasted.  It will never last long enough to go stale, but it would make a wonderful base for either French toast or bread pudding.

The results were every bit as good as I had anticipated and a big hit with my friends.

Paul

davec's picture

My first challah

January 18, 2009 - 3:47pm -- davec

Several people posted videos on how to braid dough, and they looked so easy, I though, "Hey, maybe even I could do that."  So, I found a challah recipe here.  Unfortunately, now I can't find the one I followed.  Anyway, I was reasonably pleased for a first effort.

I used Maggie Glezer's approach to a six-strand braid.

 

Dave

 

ejm's picture
ejm

braiding

When I made challah earlier this year, I thought I did a 6 strand braid to wrap around the 6 strand woven ball. But it wasn't until I made festive bread this Christmas that I realized how to do 6 strand braiding correctly.

Braiding bread dough is really pretty easy. Even 6 strand braiding, once you get the hang of it, is pretty easy. But you don't have to tell anyone, if you don't want to. The final result is SO impressive!

The main reason that it's easy is that dough strands stay exactly where they are placed. This is a good thing. I highly recommend that you skip the step of practicing with ribbons or chords and go directly to bread dough. What does it matter if the braid is wrong the first time? The bread will taste just as good. And chances are, the braid will be JUST right!

6 strand braid © ejm December 2008
6 strand braid © ejm December 2008
6 strand braid © ejm December 2008
  1. Take the 2nd from left strand in your right hand and the 1st from the left strand in your left hand. You right hand goes all the way over all the strands to the right; your left hand goes over two strands to the center.
  2. Take the 2nd from right strand in your left hand and the 1st from the right strand (just a moment ago, this strand was the 2nd from the left...) in your right hand. You left hand goes all the way over all the strands to the left; your right hand goes over two strands to the center.
  3. repeat 'til finished. Tuck ends under.

braidingbraiding
braiding

This is what the finished braid looks like. Beautiful, isn't it? Note how the ends have been tucked under.

braiding

The bread recipe and more braiding photos are here:

I could never have managed this without looking at the following several times:

-Elizabeth

edit: I made a video of 6 strand braiding!

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