The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Big Challah

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davidg618's picture
davidg618

Big Challah

After practicing daily with my six-string braiding crutch

Today I built and baked a six-strand challah

Nailed the braiding, but I hadn't expected (hadn't thought it through) how big this loaf would turn out: it's resting on a 17" drying rack.

The formula is from Ciril Hitz Baking Artisan Bread. Total dough weight was 1172 grams (about 2.5 lb). I use grams to measure ingredients, and calculate bakers' percentage for its accuracy and ease, but, being American, casually, I think and "sense" in pounds and ounces, except this time.  And Master Baker Hitz' directions state "Makes 2 3-strand loaves, or 1 5-strand loaf"; surely 6-strand would be even smaller? With only two of us, both wedded to doughs leaner than challah--I prefer sourdoughs, my wife baguettes--this giant will be rock-hard stale before we eat a fifth.

No problem. We love challah as the base for French toast. We have a recipe for "Baked French Toast". We're going to let this loaf sit uncovered for two days, cube it and make it the prime ingredient. Done, breakfast-for-two sized portions will be frozen.

David G

Comments

agentmorgan's picture
agentmorgan

Very impressive. Well done!

mrosen814's picture
mrosen814

Looks great!! I am yet to bake a 6-braided challah. 

davidg618's picture
davidg618

Try practicing with a string model. For about a week I carried one around in my pocket, and braided it whenever I had a few minutes--TV commercials are perfect. When I got to the point I could do it, almost automatically, I baked this loaf. Braiding it went like clockwork.

David G

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

going big recently David and this was a big success!!!  Very nice challah.

davidg618's picture
davidg618

Yes, but I didn't plan this one! I got so focused on braiding I had a big surprise. That's it for a while, I'm back to baking 1# SD loaves, and mini-baguettes this weekend.

David G

varda's picture
varda

is really paying off.   Beautiful Challah.    The last time I did a braid (only 4 strands) I sat there practically paralyzed in front of the diagram, not knowing which strand of dough to move next.   And lovely egg-wash as well.   Did you put on two coats?     -Varda

davidg618's picture
davidg618

Furthermore, I've changed egg wash to yolk only, plus a couple tablespoons of water wisked, lightly, together. For this particular case, since the dough was stronger--I had to let the strands relax three times while I rolled them to the desired length--I sprayed the loaf with a mist of water, and covered it until it was nearly fully proofed. Then I applied a first coat, waited a final ten minutes, and applied a second coat. I've found from previous bakes two coats gives a beautiful shine, which I like on challah.

David G

gmagmabaking2's picture
gmagmabaking2

What a great looking BIG loaf of bread you made... sounds like it will supply you in French Toast for a while. Beautiful.

Syd's picture
Syd

Beautiful braiding.  Your practice paid off!

Syd

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Challah is one of my favorites for French toast! (Just toast with butter, too.)

David

davidg618's picture
davidg618

I bake challah especially for French Toast. I'd never baked it before joining the TFL. It's become my favorite sweet dough bread, and I've been a Portuguese Sweetbread fan since the 1950's. I really like the ITJB Sweet-and-Rich version, but next time I'm going to tweak its hydration slightly lower, and, like this dough, develop its strength more. I had some difficulty braiding its relatively slack dough, but its flavor is worth a revisit.

David G

davidg618's picture
davidg618

For your encouraging words. I got a great chuckle out of this bake, the oven spring just kept going and going and...

David G

nycbaker11's picture
nycbaker11

As far as egg wash, did you add anything to it? It has a lot of shine.  Can you show us the braid technique you used.

Beautiful Challah, enjoy!

 

Ray

davidg618's picture
davidg618

must have forgot to hit reply.

davidg618's picture
davidg618

As to egg wash, see Varda's posting above in this thread, and my reply to her question.

Here's a couple of links that should help with the braiding

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4TOKt18P7z4  and

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MQSf27mTAto

Note: In the second video, 6-Strand braiding, the first move "1 over 6" is not repeated, only the sequence "5 over 1, 6 over 4, 2 over 6, and 1 over 3; and repeat until you reach the ends.

David G

breadsong's picture
breadsong

Hello David,
What a pretty loaf! The shine is amazing.
:^) breadsong

davidg618's picture
davidg618

Two coats is the reason.  This time, because the dough was a little stiff, I misted the loaf with water, and covered it with plastic wrap during all but the last ten minutes of the final proof time (1-1/4 hr.). Ten minutes before baking I applied the first coat, and the second just before loading into the oven. But I've also put the first coat on at the start of proofing, which proceeded with the loaf uncovered, and applied the second coat just before loading. Both ways produces this marvelous shine.

I used to make egg wash by beating a whole egg and a Tbs. of water. Recently, I've changed to using only the yolk and 2 Tbs. of water. I think the yolk and water wash results in a slightly higher shine, but I've compared past and recent photographs--the breads are long gone--and the difference is only slight.

Thanks for the thumbs-up.

David G