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Challah Dough Consistency - Impact On Texture of Baked Challah

PrimeRib's picture

Challah Dough Consistency - Impact On Texture of Baked Challah

I am getting into challah, and most of the recipes I see say to knead until tacky. My research reveals kneaded dough can fit into 3 general categories:

dry - dry to touch.

tacky - dough sticks to hand but releases when pull hand away.

sticky - some dough sticks to hand after pulling hand away.

I understand the definitions.  My question is what is the result in the texture of the finished challah if the dough is dry, versus tacky, versus sticky?  Thanks.

Yerffej's picture

A mostly accurate generalization would be that,  the dryer the dough the denser the finished product.


MiriMiri's picture

Hi, this isn't related to tackiness vs. firm, but just on kneading in general. I just bought "Breaking Breads" by Uri Scheft and he perfectly describes the texture of a good challah: "When you break into a loaf of challah, it should pull apart almost like cotton candy coming off the paper cone. There is a soft and tender threadlike quality to the crumb of a well-kneaded challah. It is layered with sheets of tender gluten, so it can be almost unraveled rather than broken apart like a loaf of sandwich bread. There are three ways to achieve this: 1. Underknead.... with most dough, you want to be able to stretch a small corner to a thin sheet without it tearing (this is called the windowpane test). With challah, you don't want the gluten to get that strong--so knead only as instructed. 2. Underproof. Slightly underproof the challah, meaning that when you press a finger into the rising dough, the depression that's left fills in about halfway... 3. Use high heat to seal in moisture... You don't want challah to have a hearty, thick, and crisp crust--you just want the crust to be substantial enough to lock in the moisture during baking but soft enough to easily rip by hand when eating."