The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Happy Rosh Hashanah – A Holiday Challah

dabrownman's picture

Happy Rosh Hashanah – A Holiday Challah

We were going to make a multi-grain challah but, at the last minute, decided to do a more typical one.  It is white bread with saffron, honey, sugar, egg and oil.  Pretty standard except the honey sugar egg and oil are a little less than the standard traditional challah - if there is such a thing.


The unusual thing about this challah is it is a mixed up levain of YW, SD and poolish  Why do one when you do all three at once for the Holidays?  This levain was (2) 5 hour builds and then a 1 hour one before being retarded overnight in the fridge for 12 hours.


When it all came together the next morning we did 12 minutes of slap and folds and 2 sets of S&F’s before a 1 1.2 hour counter top bulk ferment.  We shaped a Franz Joesph roll, a small 4 strand braid roll where the ends were rotated around to kind of make an octopus looking thing. Then we did a big 6 strand challah that was supposed to be round but ended up kind of square of some reason that escapes my apprentice completely.


A good 2 ¾ hour final proof and the bread was egg washed and tossed in to the mini oven without much steam other than a ¼ C of water thrown in tot bottom.  We did 5 minutes at 400, and 5 at 375 F then rotated the lot and turned the oven to 5 minutes of convection at 375F.   Then we baked n additional 20 minutes at 350 F convection when the large challah was done at 195 F - 35 minutes total.  The small rolls were done in 20 minutes.


The small rolls didn’t brown as much but were nicely golden, shiny and blistered and the large challah was dark brown shiny and blistered.  All puffed themselves up well in the mini’s heat.   My daughter came home in the middle of the bake and said they smelled grand and wanted to eat one of the rolls but my apprentice defending them.


The bread should go well with tonight’s brisket dinner based on Aunt Beve’s recipe the is sweet and hot just kike she was in life,   Beverly passed away last year and we miss her way more than we can convey.

There is no question that this n=brad needed to proof another hour at least.   But, dinner nneeded a challah so it was baked off.  It wasn't horrible at all.  The crust was just terrific and the taste was wonderful but..... my daughter said 'this bread is dense' and she was right.  Instead of proofing to 85% it needed to go to 150%. time....when we have more time.  The dinner was great, The brisket was some of the very best - fork tender, jjuicy and flavorful - my daughter could not get enough of it.

And New Year's breakfast of French toast, a sausage, berries and a sliced peach.

The gravy from the braise  was so tasty with the Sambal garlic,  chili sauce in the heat background.  The brown sugar and tomato paste made for the sweet.  Sweet and hot just like Aunt Beve and just as tender  as she was.  No one except her brother could ever be as gracious.  This character trait runs intthe family through her children. .  She always made the best brisket.... that wasn't smoked.  Then the sunset made for a the perfect start for the New Year.

With a nice salad and the background of roasted veggie made up of eggplant, summer squash, mushrooms, yams, red and russet potato, onion and carrot with a splash of sweet and pan sauteed green beens and spicy gravy, the meal was simple and simply satisfying,

The best in life to each of you for the New Year!


Pinch of ADY plus

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gmabaking's picture

and beautiful breads. My goodness how do you get such crusts? Well I know how from reading your posts but your assistant must have an invisible magic wand that she wafts past the oven door. My rose/crown was about as square-ish as it was round but hopefully that won't affect the taste.

Is Aunt Beve's recipe a family secret, or would you be willing to share? It looks so good and that you did her proud!

Happy Rosh Hashanah to you and family, thanks for all the encouragement and baking ideas this year past.


dabrownman's picture

The crust in this case was due to 2 coatings of eggwash and baking to an inside temperature of 195 F  I donlt like to take enriched or sweet breads past that.  If I am going to bake a lower temperture all the wasy (350F) I used to put a little honey in the egg wash to get a darker color.

No,Aunt Beve's recipe is not a secret but, since it isn't in my cookbook,I will have to write it up for you today and post it here.  It isn't too dissimiler to many but Lucy got hold of it and turned it into her own.

Glad you were so easily encouraged.  all of GMA's have had a marked improvement in your baking skills and resulting product this year, as have mine - the greatest thing about TFL.

Glad you liked the post.  Happy baking in the new year.


isand66's picture

Happy New Year DA to you and your family.  Thank you for sharing your beautiful challah and tasty Brisket.  I'm sure your Aunt would be very pleased.

dabrownman's picture

to that growing list of apprentices too.  The brisket was delightful and the sauce tangy.  The whole meal was delicious.  We miss Beverly very much - she was an exceptional person.

Safe travels and happy non baking till you get home Ian.

Sjadad's picture

Looks like you went Challah crazy!  Very impressive and inspiring. Well done and beautifully baked.


dabrownman's picture

You really need to let these enriched dough proof until very puffy but, eventually you run out of time as dinner awaits and Rosh Hashanah without Challah is just not done.  Gad you liked the post and

Happy baking in the new year. 


gmagmabaking2's picture

Very nice... boldly baked and beautifully braided... and those blisters to die for... you are da bomb! in braided bread baking my friend.


dabrownman's picture

Years ago, when hydration were more sane, I used to braid all kinds of different breads - not just challah. Now the only time I braid is for easy, round challah at Rosh Hashanah because my braiding skills have waned horribly!.  That mini oven really puts the crust and blisters on any kind of bread.  Best kitchen appliance I have ever owned.

The crust was the best part of that challah and it will make some fine French toast this morning.

You Twisted Sisters and GMA's all made such great a looking Challaha this year - quite an assortment.  Very inspiring! 

Happy baking in a great new year to you and best wishes to yours!

bakingbadly's picture

Lovely challah, Dab. Never mind the density if the loaf is tasty. :)

I haven't experimented with 3 different types of preferments in a single loaf but I imagine some nifty things occur in the dough. I wonder, does each preferment complement the other, or would they counter each other instead?


dabrownman's picture

poolish, SD, YW was, I was surprised it took so long to proof.  I don't know if they decided to fight it out among themselves rather than doing their job or not!  I would think over time that one would win out.  When I mix SD and YW the YW cancels out some of the sour and this bread has so much sweet the sour would never come out :-)

Happy baking in the new year Zita

SylviaH's picture

for the New Year celebration!  How lovely you have braided each one.  It's been a long time since I've made a round braided sourdough Challah. They are so pretty and fun to make.  I do let my braids come to a full proof too..I get the best results that way.  

They look very delicious and your crust has a lovely tasty looking color.  They must have smelled devine baking with the brisket cooking, green beans, roasted potatoes and all.  I haven't made a dinner like that in a while and I love green beans with it too!  How we miss all those grand ladies but, we will always have the dinners to bring back their sweet memories.


dabrownman's picture

We have such sweet memories of Aunt Beve and we miss her. 

I haven't made challah with saffron for a while and quite taken back by its subtle fragrance and taste.  Nothing can replace it.  Under proofed for sure but not horrible.   The fine crust helped to pull the rest of bread to an acceptable level.  It made great french toast this morning as challah always does!

Green beans are required around here for the new year.  Green Beans, mentioned in the Talmud as "ruviah," are symbolic on Rosh Hashanah because their Talmudic name sounds like the Hebrew "to increase," and therefore indicates a desire for increased blessings in the new year.

May your blessings be increased in the new year Sylvia. and

Happy Baking


Mebake's picture

Lovely looking challas.. and meal DA!

Happy new year!


dabrownman's picture

An fine meal with family and friends is a New Years blessing for sure.   Glad you like the post and hope blessings are increased this new year for you and yours.  Can't wait to see you next bake Khalid and

Happy Baking in the new year,

trailrunner's picture

I had orders for 2 round braids but the folks are out of town so they won't get them till this Sunday...not sure the rules about that :) I will be using honey and golden raisins to make sure of sweetness.  Your Challot are wonderfully rich looking as are all your pics. c

dabrownman's picture

yours will proof longer than mine :-) We don't make challah often but, when we do, we want the outside to look like this one and inside to look like someone elses!  It tastes fine though.  Glad you like it and

Happy baking trailrunner

le boulonger86's picture
le boulonger86

I keep saying I must make a Challah and yours look so good .... you have inspired me da rather than talk ....... I'm gonna Bake !!!!!

Super Challah to go with Super food .... Aunt Beve would be Proud of you.

Happy Baking


dabrownman's picture

Challah recipe and you don't need all the different leavens.  SD, YW, poolish or instant yeast all work well.  Holiday sweet and I love the flavor tand aroma that the saffron brings to it.  Beve always got her challah at Prazel's in St Louis to go with her brisket.  Nothing else was good enough!

Bake a Challah once and you have French toast for life as you will make it again and again!

happy baking

breadsong's picture

Hi dabrownman,
You write so kindly of your Aunt - a lovely tribute to her and her cooking.
Your bread is also lovely - so shiny!
I think the braids look great, and I like the square shape...but maybe your apprentice can explain this one...
how I managed to get round bagel, but with a square center?!

Wishing you all the best for the New Year,
:^) breadsong

dabrownman's picture

poor Lucy has been trying to make square bagels with square holes ever since I can remember and failed every time..... Then you go and do square holes no problem :-)  My apprentice won't give up until she get those square bagels down and wants to know how you managed the square holes?  She is thinking you might be an alien like Empress Ying with out of this world baking powers :-)

Happy New Year to you and yours breadsong - enjoy this year's Kneading Conference and say hi to Empress Ying and Floyd for Lucy!  Now she thinks that the Kneading Conference is just a cover for aliens with out of this world baking talent to hang out together without arousing suspicion. 

breadsong's picture

Thanks for your funny note!
I will say Hi to Floyd, and txfarmer if I see her (not sure if she's attending this year).
It was lovely to see them both at last year's Conference!
I'm not in the same league as txfarmer and the other amazing bakers, attendees and instructors, that will be there...but will keep working to achieve alien status :^)
Maybe one year you can attend Kneading Conference West - we'd love to see what Lucy can do, in person!
Thank you for your New Year wishes,
:^) breadsong

Song Of The Baker's picture
Song Of The Baker

He bakes, he cooks, he photographs...he braids.  Is there anything this d-man can't do well?

Nice sheen and amazing brisket.


dabrownman's picture

last Friday. Love being able to Tzitzel around a little :-)  When you are retired you have all the time required to not quite master just about anything.... except typing.   My mother tried to get me to take typing in high school and I told her no way - I was going to have a secretary do my typing forme ....just like she did.     Little did i know that my secretary would be taken away and eventually be replaced by a laptop :-( Mother's are always right in the end and this is just another example to prove it!

Glad you liked the Challah John - can't wait to see you next bake!