The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Extra-Rich Challah Bread

Extra-Rich Challah Bread

TwoBreadedBoy's picture
TwoBreadedBoy

Description

Challah is made with eggs, which symbolize wealth and fertility. This is because, on Shabbat, we are all rich. At least, that's what Claudia Roden's Book of Jewish Food has to say on the matter. This got me wondering how one could add to the richness of this bread without adding dairy, which would render the bread unfit for a meal containing meat (and thus unsuitable for accompanying a hearty bowl of chicken soup). If I couldn't add butter, I'd add an animal fat instead. That's how this bread came to be and why it's still a favorite of mine for when really I want to impress.

Summary

Yield
Smallish loaves
Prep time2 hours, 30 minutes
Cooking time45 minutes
Total time3 hours, 15 minutes

Ingredients

500 g
Strong Flour
175 g
Chicken broth (Low sodium, or adjust salt content accordingly)
2
eggs
80 g
Shmaltz (Chicken, duck or goose fat)
15 g
salt (If the shmaltz is salted, reduce the salt quantity accordingly)
50 g
Sugar
2 1⁄4 t
instant yeast (1 Packet)

Instructions

The first secret to this challah's texture is the Tangzhong roux, a technique used in many East Asian breads. This cuts down on the amount of fat needed (I do not, in fact, intend to kill my dinner guests). It also lends an almost cake-like, soft consistency to the bread, if that's the texture you prefer.

Making the roux is easy:
Mix 45 grams of the total flour with all of the water, whisk to remove lumps and heat on medium low, until the mixture attains the consistency of pudding. Allow this to cool to room temperature.

Next, we make the dough:
Mix the roux and the other wet ingredients, add this to the mixed dry ingredients and knead for 10 or so minutes.
Let rise until tripled in size

Shape this however you like, either with the braid typical of Shabbos challah or the round Rosh Hashanah shape. I sometimes make mine as the one pictured above, using the swirled shape of Hokkaido milk bread, but braided.

To avoid tearing, give the pieces of dough 10 minutes to rest before rolling them out to be braided.

Let this proof until tripled in size. Finally, glaze with an egg wash (1 egg, 1 tbsp water) and bake 35 to 45 minutes at 350 F for one large loaf, or 25-35 minutes for 2 smaller loaves. For best results, bake 10 minutes, let cool and finish baking right before serving.

Comments

Lechem's picture
Lechem (not verified)

That is a very adventurous enriched Challah. Chicken broth and schmaltz in the dough who would've thought. And it works perfectly. Looks wonderful. 

lechemtov's picture
lechemtov

so interesting; cant wait to try it out.