The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Trying Wheat Challah Bread...could use some insight.

blk43's picture
blk43

Trying Wheat Challah Bread...could use some insight.

I've been making Challah for a few months using all purpose flour.  I notice each time that the dough rises differently.  Today I did a half white flour and half wheat flour using all oterh ingredients the same.  There was virtually no rise at all after two hours  then another one and one half after braiding.  The bread was quite dense, good flavor but somewhat dry. 

 

Any ideas about what I might be doing to stifle the rise and how to get a bit more moisture into the end product?

Bruce

richkaimd's picture
richkaimd

My experience with making lots of challahs using lots of different flour mixtures suggests this:

If it's not rising, and assuming you are absolutely certain that your yeast is alive and that the temperature is reasonably warm in space where you're letting it rise, then you probably didn't wait long enough.   In my experience, whole wheat doughs take longer to rise than all white flour doughs in the same environment.  So, you might try the same flour mixtures, making sure you knead the dough to pass the windowpane test, and then be sure the environment is above 70-75 degrees.  Then give it enough time to almost double, as you would with an all-white dough.   As long as it's rising, just wait.  It'll get there.  You might also try allowing your flour/liquids mixture to sit for 20-30 minutes before adding the salt and continuing along with the kneading process.  This process (autolysis) may help the gluten formation.

As for the crumb being dry, as long as you followed the recipe correctly (certainly we've all messed up now and again), the most likely cause for the dry crumb problem is baking the loaf too long.  Do you check the internal temperature of your loaves with a thermometer?  I take my loaves out when they reach a little over 195 degrees F.

 

 

breadmantalking's picture
breadmantalking

I would add another comment. Again assuming the yeast is alive etc., it could simply be a matter of not enough water. You mention that the dough was very dense. Whole wheat flour absorbs (and requires) more liquid than AP flour. It could be that the flour was not fully hydrated, the yeast not fully activated and so it did not rise enough (or at all). I bake challah bread every week, both with AP flour and with a 50-50 mix. The mix always uses about 15-20% more water! even with everthing left the same. Here is a link to the challah on my blog. Just substitute half the white flour for whole wheat then add in about 40-50 ml (about 2 oz.) water to make a soft, supple and slightly sticky dough. Do everything else as before and you should get some great challah!

David

breadmantalking@gmail.com 

breadmantalking.blogspot.com

blk43's picture
blk43

I really appreciate you comments and will try your suggestions asap.  Happy Holidays!

Bruce