The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

challah

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BLHNYC's picture
BLHNYC

challah

Hi Everyone-


I took advantage of the glorious snow day here in NYC and made my first challah this morning (from Malgieri's How to Bake). While it tastes delicious, it was a little flatter than I had expected. I'll tell you what I did and maybe someone can tell me how to make it higher rather than longer/flatter. This loaf, by the way, was practice for one that I want to make for a shiva call next Tuesday. I want that one to be beautiful and not just delicious!


I shaped three cylinders about 15 inches long and braided them directly onto a sheet pan. Then I left it for the second rise. It rose up slightly, but mostly spread out. By the time it was ready to be baked, it was about the length of the pan. After baking, it really didn't rise upwards and ended up being about 13 inches long (the pan length) and only about 5 or so inches high.


What can I do better? Should I shorten the length of the three cylinders?
Thanks in advance!


Beth

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

Sounds like you just made your braids to long! For a three strand braid.  Try shortening your 3 pieces into fatter sections tapering to a slimmer more pointed tip and start braiding from the center down to one end and then flip it over and braid from the center down to the other end let it fully proof...makes a  nice braid and you can find many braid techniques in books and on this site or google.


Sylvia

BLHNYC's picture
BLHNYC

Thanks Sylvia. I am going to try the bread again on Sunday and will see if shortening the cylinders makes a difference!


Beth

waltgray's picture
waltgray

I find when making challah that because it is a heavy dough it needs a little more flour.  Not so much as to make it dry but somewhat thicker.  It will require a little longer to rise, but careful not to over proof.

Janknitz's picture
Janknitz

It MIGHT be your bread formula results in a dough that is too soft--I don't have that reference so it's hard to tell.


But, certain braids give the challah more body--they just look nicer.  I like two particular ones for the lovely shapes they create--one is a six strand braid, the other is a four strand.  Google six or four strand challah for directions.  There are many variations, but look for one that makes sense to you.  If you are a visual learning, check out You Tube.  You can see my six strand here. 


When you braid, try to keep things pretty tight--a loose braid will spread more.  If you are doing the three strand braid, start in the MIDDLE.  That way both ends will look nice. 


After you braid, give the dough its first egg wash and then allow it to rise.  Give it a second egg wash and sprinkle seeds, if any, right before baking. 

Edith Pilaf's picture
Edith Pilaf

This is a great video, which is how I learned to perfect my braiding technique:


http://www.finecooking.com/videos/braiding-challah.aspx


The six strand is not difficult once you get the hang of it, and it looks beautiful.  Glezer's challah recipe is also good, and is posted on the same website.


 

BLHNYC's picture
BLHNYC

Thanks- the video was very helpful. I am excited to try the six strand braid.

BLHNYC's picture
BLHNYC

Thanks everyone-


I actually think you are ALL right! I think the cylinders were too long. I also think I didn't use enough flour and needed to knead it/fold it more. I will also be sure to use a tighter braid next time.


Thanks for all of your help! I will let you know if I am successful the second time around. At least it tastes good, right?


Beth

BLHNYC's picture
BLHNYC

So here is my second attempt at baking challah. This one is MUCH better because of all of your suggestions. Now I just need to perfect the braid- which I will try again tomorrow.


Thanks everyone!
Beth


 


challah