My Failed Attempt at Peter Reinhart's Whole Wheat Challah
I'm a novice weekend baker who's been, of course, baking for about two (frustrating) months... Having said that, prior to my not-so-successful challah, I had never handled whole wheat flour, used a soaker or preferment (and thus the "delayed fermentation method"), or even braided dough strands. So, it was reasonable to expect that I'd encounter a few problems during the bread making process...
Pictured above is the semi-soft crumb of the whole wheat challah. Yes, I know, I know, challah isn't traditionally made with whole wheat flour, but I had both the flour and Peter Reinhart's book (Whole Grain Breads) on hand. I simply couldn't resist!
Truth be told, I was shocked that my challah was packed full of flavour! Well, not to the extent that I anticipated. Wafting a strong wheaty aroma, the crumb had a mild and pleasant tang, which complemented the faint buttery taste. Although, I may be confusing egginess with butteriness.
You see, until recently I had not ingested and indulged in any whole wheat breads that weren't mass produced and commercially packaged. Never will I purchase such an inferior loaf again!
I was too ambitious, perhaps too foolish as well. I wanted to transform my dough strands into a six-braided challah. But as soon as I arrived to the braiding, my mind had succumbed to a deep void, which quickly filled with a combination of confusion and self-pity.
So, I did what I had to do. I developed and implemented my own braiding technique on spot, as depicted above.
Now how did this happen? Well, I'll tell you how... utter cluelessness. I had forgotton to factor in the dough's expansion into my calculations and, well... the consequences are quite clear, haha.
Reluctantly, I crammed my poor innocent loaf into the sheet pan. If you're curious or wondering, I bake with a microwave convection oven, which by the way won't fit in any pans larger than 9 x 11.5 in.
After being baked at 150C / 302F for a total duration of 55 minutes, what emerged from the oven was a slightly arched, matte brown challah.
I tell ya', my emotions fluctuated between joyful and upset, like a roller coaster ride, throughout this baking incident.
If you're interested in further details about my challah (doesn't contain baker's percentages, unfortunately), please visit my blog: www.BakingBadly.com . There, I document nearly all of my baking "experiments", many of which are considered failures--personally speaking. Also, I'd appreciate any feedback about my blog, whether negative or positive. (Is the font too small? Color scheme too attrocious? Photography too dim? Any comments will help, really.) Thank you kindly in advance!
On a further note, critiques pertinent to my baking techniques and methods are also welcomed. I've had individuals tell me that I'm not a good baker, plus other nasty comments, so I'm well adapted to harsh criticism.
Anyway, thank you all for taking the time to read about my... baking misfortunes, haha.
:) Stay well and happy baking!