My Daily Bread-Challah
This being my very first attempt at Challah, and knowing up front that it was going to be a party gift no matter how it turned out, well I was concerned. Add to the fact that my only experience braiding is a few lame tries at pig tails and this is a 6 strand French Braid. My first braid is the loaf in the background,(any wonder why?) The second try is much better which once again proves even a retarded man can learn to braid if he watches the video 25 times! :>)
I have enjoyed this soft and tasty bread a few times at parties over the years. Fresh off a few successful weeks of intensive learning here at "The Fresh Loaf", I thought I could trust myself to bake a better loaf than the local big box supermarket offers. This was fun to make and all in a days work. I started last night at midnight with a preferment (actually the talk on the daily board has me confused about what to call it when you toss a pinch of yeast in a 100+% hydration autolyse and let it sit overnight), and finished at 4:00 PM today. This is a cold start bake with the oven only energised for 40 minutes. It took me longer than that to figure out the braids.
Although the recipes are similar, I didn't use the one on the forum. Instead I used this one from Tracy. She has a well done video on her page and I thought a good formula for a 2 loaf batch. http://thsprague.blogspot.com/2006/09/video-braiding-six-strand-challah.html  . The easy way would be to do a three strand braid and top it with another three strand braid, which is how most sites suggest. This was challenging on a few levels. Overall I'm happy with the outcome. I won't get to taste this for a few hours since I'm almost sure my wife would smack me if I took a little bite out at the end, now. So I'll have to report back later.