The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

L'shanah tovah

dolfs's picture
dolfs

L'shanah tovah

Today I baked a traditional (i.e. round) Challah for the new year's celebration.

Round Holiday ChallahRound Holiday Challah

Certainly not my best ever, but it'll do!

--dolf

Comments

zolablue's picture
zolablue

Really lovely bread, Dolfs.  To everyone, have a great holiday.

susanfnp's picture
susanfnp

Yes, beautiful challah. I think I like the round shape the best and and I didn't realize that was the most traditional.

Susanfnp

http://www.wildyeastblog.com

dolfs's picture
dolfs

I'm not Jewish, but my wife is and she tells me round is traditional for Holidays, "normal" for all other occasions (Sabbath). For that one I usually make a six-braid but to get a six-braid into this round shape is dang hard. 
--dolf

mariana's picture
mariana

 

Hi dolf,

 

how did you shape your challah? It is braided and round at the same time. How is that possible?

 

Also, which recipe do you prefer to use for your dough? I liked RLB's recipe because it uses sourdough, which always is a problem in my kitchen (too many leftovers), and bread keeps better when a piece of sourdough is incorporated. Your loaf looks light, so I would like to know how you do it. Thanks.

 

mariana

dolfs's picture
dolfs

Despite what you think, this Challah is braided, and round. Basically I do the round Challah only with a 3-braid, although I prefer to make my regular Challah as a 6-braid. I start as I would for a regular 3-braid (from the middle), but leave the last little bit on each end unbraided. I then curve the whole structure in a round and finish braiding the ends into each other. It’s a bit of a brain puzzler, but if you look carefully you will figure out how to do that. A 4, 5, or 6-braid is much harder to get in a nice round shape, and it is pretty much impossible to braid the ends together in anyway that looks like it should.

No matter what, however, where the ends meet the Challah does not look as good, so I skillfully :-) had that part in the rear for the photo. The other thing to remember is that to make a round Challah you need much longer braids than you otherwise would (and because of the limited size of my work surface that is a problem for me). In this particular Challah, made from 2 lb of dough, the braids turned out thicker than I wanted, and the round smaller than I wanted, because I did not (could not) roll the braids out longer and thinner. The other things to watch out for (and I did not do a great job here), is to let a Challah fully proof before baking. The reason is that after the last application of the egg wash, just before baking, you do not want anymore expansion because it causes the light bands where things stretch between braids. If you do not wait, the oven spring will do this for you (doesn't taste any less though!).

Yes, the Challah is nice and light. It is a recipe that started from the Joy of cooking (way back before I had "real" baking books), and I have modified it over time to get to a light and tasty Challah with (I believe) excellent texture. I will get the recipe together and post it.



--dolf

My Bread Aventures 

dolfs's picture
dolfs

Here is a link to the recipe as it appears in my spreadsheet. Here is some more explanation:

  • I prepare the final dough the night before baking and let it do its bulk ferment in the refrigerator. It will improve dough quality, flavor, and your baking schedule
  • The measurements for egg and egg yolk are difficult to implement as eggs don't come in grams. I use the guideline that a "large" egg is 50g. That means in this case you would have needed 2.5 eggs plus two yolks, so I rounded it up to 3 eggs and 2 yolks. This makes for slightly more wetness, so you may need to add some flour.
  • I am a diabetic so I try to reduce sugar. In this case by half. If you want to use just sugar, change the overall percentage to 9.94% (or 10%). Likewise if you want to use just Splenda, use 1.24%. Notice that changes like this change the overall formula percentage and thus the individual ingredient weights (not percentages) if you want to keep total dough weight the same.
  • When preparing I first mix flour, liquids and eggs and perform a 30 minute autolyse. Then add rest and knead (hand or machine) until you have a smooth, soft, silky dough that passes the window pane test. The dough should clear the sides of the mixer bowl and should just be on the edge of feeling tacky or not. For me and my KA mixer that means about 2 minutes on speed 1-2 and then 4-5 minutes on speed 4.
  • Final dough goes into an oiled proofing container and into the fridge right away. In the morning, take it out and let warm up and complete its bulk ferment until doubled in size, approx 2 hours for me (my fridge is quite cold).
  • Divide into three and roll long braids, dusting each braid with a little flour. If they won't go full length without springing back, given them a 15 minute rest and continue.
  • For a 3-braid, start in the middle. Pickup the braid (so far), transfer to peel or cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and curve into a round. Braid ends together.
  • Brush generously with egg wash from 1 wipped egg, a little water and a pinch of salt. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled (ideally until it will go no more).
  • Brush with egg was again and sprinkle with sesame or poppy seeds.
  • Bake in preheated oven at 325F for 20-30 minutes until internal temperature reaches 197F.

A hint which I found somewhere (don't remember) about applying the seeds: You can just sprinkle them, but you'll end up wasting a lot (bouncing and falling off) and it won't look as pretty. Instead put seeds in a bowl and dip your fingertip in the egg-wash, and then in the seeds. Next, roll your seed covered fingertip across the surface of the bread. Seeds will release onto the bread easily. Repeat until covered as desired.


--dolf

My Bread Aventures
KipperCat's picture
KipperCat

That looks so good!  As did Mariana's. What a treat to see the two shapes.  I've never tasted Challah, but want to one of these days.

Happy Holidays! 

mariana's picture
mariana

 

Dolf, wow! you surprized me. I have never thought about braiding two ends toghether. I will figure that out even if I have to practice first on shoe laces : )

 

You provided excellent explanations, just wonderful. My husband, for whom I bake breads is also diabetic, so lower sugar is good.

 

I can't open your spreadsheet. Is you recipe like in the Joy of Cooking but with half of sugar, or have you changed proportions in other places as well?

 

Thank you. I want to bake it.

 

mariana

dolfs's picture
dolfs

I've changed the recipe more than just substituting Splenda. The spreadsheet is really just a PDF version of it (in other words, you can't fill in amounts and recalculate), and it opens just fine when I click the link. What happens, or goes wrong, when you click the link?  If you still can't open it, here is a synopsis:

  • 100% bread flour (I use KA)
  • 15.04% Water
  • 15.04% Milk (I used non fat)
  • 1.56% Instant Dry Yeast
  • 2% Salt
  • 25.4% Egg
  • 8.63% Egg Yolk 
  • 4.97% Sugar
  • 0.62% Splenda 
As I mentioned you sometimes end up adding a little more egg.



Diabetic info: I've come to find that in many recipes where sugar is used, its sole purpose is to sweeten the result. Not, as I used to think in the beginning, to provide food for yeasties. With that in mind, you can substitute Splenda as much as you like.  In some other recipes, where for example molasses is used, this is not possible as the molasses contributes more than just sweetness. The only reason this recipe does not use a full substitution is that my wife claims she can still taste the Splenda (although not anywhere near as strong as like other sweeteners). This compromise seems to work for us. The other things is that whole wheat breads, with their low glycemic index, are better for diabetics to begin with, hence my recent enthusiams for Reinhart's WGB.


--dolf

My Bread Aventures 
mariana's picture
mariana

 

Dolf,

I baked your challah today and it is supertasty, DELICIOUS!  I now regret not having baked it earlier, making it our daily bread. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for this gorgeous recipe. My gosh, you are a genius, Dolf. You are.

I put the entire amount of sugar as sugar and it doesn't taste overly sweet at all. It simply tastes heavenly - not eggy, not sugary, not oily - just an outstanding loaf of very delicate white bread, the best. I am not sure my husband will be able to detect sugar.   We'll see.

Thank You!

 

mariana

dolfs's picture
dolfs

But no need to call me "genius". May be I was just lucky when I messed with the original recipe!


--dolf


See my My Bread Adventures in pictures

mariana's picture
mariana

 

Dolf, I was lucky that you published this recipe and that you patiently converted it into grams, oz, and volumes. So nice of you! If you have some other recipes as lucky as this one, please, share with me. I am very impressed by this one. My family loves your challah!

 What are you baking now?

thanks!

mariana

dolfs's picture
dolfs

Just slammed together an Indian inspired one pot dish with potatoes, cauliflower, green beans, onions, chicken, yoghurt and curry. Family's got to eat something besides bread!

I'll be putting a Challah together this weekend, but probably not much else. Work is busy and I am putting together an Earth to Hearth series of lessons for my contribution to my son's Kindergarten class. We'll be baking bread of course! 


--dolf


See my My Bread Adventures in pictures