The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

challah

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mrosen814's picture
mrosen814

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




shalamis's picture
shalamis

Hello, am a novice bread maker and need some help with my second proofing for challah.  I'm fine until I proof for second time on a baking stone.  With braided dough it rises not only up but all over the stone.  Of course this doesn't happen when it's confined in a loaf pan.  How do I keep the dough from blobbing all over the place when it's not in the loaf pan?  The bread tastes good but is generally splayed out not very high.  Need Help to keep the blob from taking over my oven!!  Thanks.  Shalamis

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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