The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Baking for a wedding

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Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss

Baking for a wedding

A distant relative asked me if I would provide the Challah for the blessing at her Son's wedding.
I would have complete freedom of choice for all the parameters, e.g. amount, shape, formula.
The 200 guests were to be seated at 18 tables.

After some deliberation I decided to bake 1 Challah for each table, and a special one for the head table.
I thought I'd get 4 X 500g into the oven, which would require 5 batches.

Then ...
I flicked through Hamelman's "Bread" while my dearest wife was watching. She spotted the Hungarian Wedding Braid. That was it! Had to do it now.

The recipe is calculated for a bread diameter of 40cm, too big for my domestic oven. I can accommodate just above 30 cm.
So I did some experiments with the Eggless Water Challah dough from "Inside The Jewish Bakery (ITJB)", an excellent dough to shape and very tasty, too.

I decided that for a 30cm Wedding Bread the best weight for a short strand was 50g, and the long strand would be 250g.

My oven can accommodate 2 of these: now I was looking at producing 9 batches for the Hungarian Breads, plus one for the top-table challah.

On Friday evening I scaled all ingredients for the 12 Kg of ITJB Bakery Challah - flour, water, salt, yeast, sugar, oil and packed them for each batch individually - with exception of the 70 egg yolks...

The next step was creating a spreadsheet that told me what I had to do in 10-minute increments.

For a considerable amount of time I would have 5 batches going simultaneously.

It turned out that the first top-table challah (12 strand double decker) didn't rise well (handling, I suppose), so I had to add another batch.

I started at 5am on Saturday, at my home in Brighton, and was ready to deliver in London by 6.30pm. Phew.

Now some pictures:

Shaping started with scaling the dough and shaping the strands: 7 for each bread, 2 breads in each batch:

To get the star-in wheel shape I had made a template, 30cm in diameter:

The first crossover

The second crossover -the star shape becomes apparent:

And the ring to complete the bread:

Proofing several batches at different stages:

Glazing with egg - I used 4 eggs for the glaze alone

Luckily I had Spock and Kirk with me ...

The pile of finished breads is growing

And boxed, ready for shipping

Not all breads fitted in this giant box ...

Then off to London with public transport

I have no pictures from the wedding (on Sunday) - but there was not much time to take pictures, the challahs were very well received.

Happy Baking,

Juergen 

 

Comments

Floydm's picture
Floydm

Very nice work, Juergen.

Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss

Very much appreciated.

Julie McLeod's picture
Julie McLeod

This is fantastic!  I love seeing the photos of the process.

Best wishes to the newly married couple too!

Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss

Thank you Julie.

It was incredible fun to make.

And I know the married couple are lurkers here ...

emkay's picture
emkay

Amazing work. Live long and prosper!

Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss

to you!

Thank you.

trailrunner's picture
trailrunner

A wizard of dough !  Wow...I am SO impressed and weren't the wedding party the lucky ones. Thank you for sharing the details on the shaping. I have been asked to make table decorations on bread and would love to use that gorgeous star. Delightful post. c

Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss

Well, it's practice. And it really pays off.

It is a lovely shape to make, very spectacular when you hold it in your hands.

But the 6-fold symmetry played some tricks with my brain...

Thanks a lot. J

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

We learn something new every day on TFL.

Happy baking

Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss

I ame a rare visitor on TFL these days,

but your creations always stand out. 

happy Baking, J

Breadandwine's picture
Breadandwine

What wonderful bread, thank you for sharing - not just the bread itself, but the whole process. I'm sure you've inspired many of us to greater things!

"...the challahs were very well received."

I'll bet they were! :)

Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss

often on the internet, and I am glad to be an inspiration.

Thanks a lot,

Juergen

 

chouette22's picture
chouette22

Wonderful shapes - so well done! And I enjoyed reading about the process and then packing up all the loaves for transportation. I know about that section in Hamelman's Bread, such great inspiration there. I have baked several shapes from there as well, among them this one, of which I also made four loaves, each one becoming easier than the last. 

But you knocked it out of the ballpark with 12kg of dough and nearly 20 loaves. What stamina!!! SO much work!

Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss

So far I have shied away from this shape due to its size and complexity.

Your presentation looks amazing, too.

Thank you very much.

Juergen

PS. I saw a professional Swiss baking book once, with lots of shapes. Weckmaenner, Nikolaus, animals etc. Do you

know which one it could be? 

 

chouette22's picture
chouette22

I am sure you wouldn't have any trouble with the 6-star if you tried it. It just needs full concentration (I needed to ban my family from the kitchen!).

Could it be “Schweizer Bäckerei” of the Richemont Fachschule? There are more publications by that school, so it could be one of its books. I don't know nor have them, so I cannot check.

On Plötzblog I also found these two:

“Flechtgebäck und figürliches Gebäck. Anleitung zur Herstellung in Wort und Bild” von Josef Stief (2000)

“Flecht- und Schaugebäcke” von Helmut Mühlhäuser

 

Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss

I will check out those books.

During my giant bake I had my attention-seeking 7 year old around ..

I managed to keep him busy with surplus dough for most of the time ...

What dough did you use for the 6-star?

 

chouette22's picture
chouette22

I took inspiration from a post by Txfarmer who had baked this 6-star using Maggie Glezer's "A Blessing of Bread” pumpkin challah recipe. I baked it with pumpkin for Thanksgiving (gives a beautiful orange-yellowish color) and then without as Christmas gifts for my three neighbors. 

SCruz's picture
SCruz

Absolutely beautiful. Can't wait to try it myself, thanks for the instructions.

A question. On challah it's the crumb that usually brings the swoon. Was the challah itself as good, in its own way, as regular braided challah?

Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss

I had some fears about the crumb getting too dry, but it was OK.

I did a test bake with Eggless Water Challah, because ti's easier to shape than the Bakery Challah.

And I think it is better suited for this type of shape. 

But the Bakery Challah didn't do badly at all. It is our go-to Challah at the moment.

If you want to try it - as mentioned above - there are some braiding errors in the pictures.

Did you spot them?

bakingbadly's picture
bakingbadly

Amazing! I'll try a pretzel version of this later. I was searching for an idea, a decorative bread for an upcoming party, and this may be it.

Thanks for posting!

Zita

Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss

Looking forward to some photos of yours.

Thank you,

Juergen