The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

I seen to have lost the definition in my braids

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CaptainBatard's picture
CaptainBatard

I seen to have lost the definition in my braids

I made the beutiful challah that David posted.....and I seen to have lost the some of the definition in the braids......I wrote a message to him and he suggested that I would be better off if i put question out in the forum...I thought forming the strands was ok...pretty tight....i did not make the braids tooo tight.... and i thought it proofed OK...i did sub eggs for oil (i was out).....and I also had the same problem when i made BBA semolina......is it a matter of over proofing, too much steam, ????


it looks a better in the photo..


Thanks


Judd


 



JoeV's picture
JoeV

I don't see anything wrong with the braids, but I know what you mean about some challah having more definition to the braids. This can be more from the number of strands being braided, than the actual proof time. A 6-strand braid is going to be more pronounced (knotty) than a 4-strand, as seen here...



I have found that it is best to not overwork challah dough, and as a matter of fact, I don't even degass after the first rise. I simply dump the dough on the counter and cut the number of peices I need for braiding. I then roll out the strands, braid and get it covered. I like to proof the formed loaves to 1-1/2X, then let the oven finish off the rise with oven spring.


Hope this helps.


Here's another shot I found of a 6-strand challah


CaptainBatard's picture
CaptainBatard

Iwill try to proof less and rely on the oven spring more...maybe a sixer will help!


thanks

mrfrost's picture
mrfrost

Keeping the ropes dusted with flour prior to braiding purportedly helps in keeping the braids distinct.


Gil Liss challah making. See this part at about the 2:20 time point of the video. Part 2:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s0WmCsdHV50&feature=related


He seems to be so good at it that it seems almost effortless.

CaptainBatard's picture
CaptainBatard

good pointer... I will have to try take...he makes the 6er look easy...


Judd

CeraMom's picture
CeraMom

What was your wash?


Traditionally ( as far as I know from my Jewish background ) challah should be brushed with egg white to get the deep brown crust AND the definition in the braiding. Be sure to get into all the cracks and crevices.

CaptainBatard's picture
CaptainBatard

I follow Davids lead with a whole eggs with a pinch of salt...i will have to try just egg whites...

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

Your challah looks very nice.  Showing a golden color between the braids without being blown apart. 


The lines on ropes can come from stretching the ropes to much and you will loose the smooth roundness on the rope.


Braiding loosely and letting my loaves fully proof gives the best look IMHO.  If they are under proofed, the ropes can blowout and stretch apart giving a slashed look rather than braided ropes and takes away from the gently rounded, braided rope appearance.


On the Silican loaf it appears the seams might have seared together a little more taking some away from the definition.  This happens to me when my dough is usually pretty hydrated and has warmed up in the shaping..then the seams start blending together..I think it helps to flour your hands and run them along the ropes.  Adding just little flour helps keep the rope strands from blending.


I like to use a double egg white wash.  I usually mix one egg white with about a Tablespoon of water making sure to remove any little solid pieces of white.  I brush the first coat all over and let it dry a little before adding the second wash.  Adding the seeds to still wet second wash.


It has taken me time and practice but this is the look on my braiding I like best.


David's formula  used for my Sourdough Challah loaves.



 


Sylvia


 


 


 


 


 


 


t

dghdctr's picture
dghdctr

Hi Judd,


As others have already stated, your Challah looks good.  If you enjoy eating it just as it is, I wouldn't change a thing.


If you feel you need more definition, the solution is probably related to strengthening (or reducing the slackness of) your dough.  Challah is often made with some high-gluten flour, but if you have KA's "Bread Flour" available, it will possibly absorb more water and leave you with a firmer dough.  While the dough should be firm, it should not be crumbly -- it should be supple and come together without difficulty.


If your flour is already a higher-protein type, then slackness could be caused by either a lot of sugar or a bit too much water.  Reducing (or adding) water is easy, of course.  Ideally, the dough should be moist enough that it doesn't skin over easily as you work with it, but it also should require no flour at all on the bench.  If the dough sticks to the bench, there's a good chance that you can safely subtract a percentage point or two from your dough's hydration.


You can minimize the slackening effects of sugar (only if you need to) by adding the sugar in two or three stages during the mix cycle.  Add maybe half of it at first, mix 3 or 4 minutes on low speed, and then add the rest in either one or two more increments.  That allows your gluten network to establish strong bonds before the sugar crystals start drawing water away from the dough.


Solutions to the questions you've posed often require several tries and copious note taking.  I hope this helped a bit.


--Dan DiMuzio

CaptainBatard's picture
CaptainBatard

I did use KA bread flour.... you made an excellent point about the sugar....I think the next time I will add the sugar and honey in stages ...and see if that helps...


Very constructive...Thanks


Judd

CaptainBatard's picture
CaptainBatard

for your words of experience...the braiding of the round loaf is my next try...


Judd


 

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

Started it all for me..first experience I think it was for me forming a rope!


Dan set me on the right road to braiding when I didn't think I had enough definition in his  'Sicilian semolina bread' I made from his book 'Bread Baking An Artisan's Perspective' that is S or scrolled shaped.  He said he liked the way it looked and that meant a lot to me because I realized then I needed only a slight definition between the ropes. 



Sylvia

CaptainBatard's picture
CaptainBatard

To me it is a matter of what you perceive looks right.......sensory aesthetics also really comes into play....but in the end it gets eaten....   :)


That cumb looks tender...


 


 

shuttervector's picture
shuttervector

Judd,


I have been trying various recipes and yesterday I tried PR's Bread Bakers Apprentice and finally have baked a challah that looks like one from my childhood. Maybe what I did differently was simply to really wait until the boule doubled in size rather than rushing in and trying to divide the dough into three. This seemed to produce tubes that held the rolling out into coils. Although PR's recipe says that dough will double in size in one hour after the boule stage, I had to wait three hours and it was well worth it. I cannot figure out how to upload my photo.


Dorothy, shuttervector


 


 

CaptainBatard's picture
CaptainBatard

check your mail box...hope it helps...


 

Doc Tracy's picture
Doc Tracy

Here is my first braided bread. I'm Finnish so I made traditional Finnish Pulla on Christmas day for the family. What a special treat and I surprised myself by getting it to come out quite nicely. Found the pulla dough to be very easy to work with to learn to braid.


I did a 3, 4 and 6 strand braided loaf.  Not as pretty as the best challah braiders but I was happy for a first time try. I'll keep baking this bread for special occasions as it is a delicious, slightly sweet bread with a hint of cardomom. I put a very light powdered sugar glaze with a hint of rose water on top after it cooled.