Maggie Glezer’s Sourdough Challah
DMSnyder was kind enough to share Maggie Glezer’s Sourdough Challah recipe in his blog a few years back, so how could I not want to give it a go. I love challah but have never eaten a sourdough one so this’ll be my first. I followed his posted recipe except for a few minor changes and one mistake. I don’t keep a firm starter so just used my 100% hydration rye starter. I also made this as one larger loaf rather than his two smaller ones. I also accidentally use olive oil instead of a neutral oil for more than half of the oil component. We’ll see if that has a negative effect on the flavour.
|The starter||Amount (gms)|
|Active sourdough starter||35|
|The final dough|
|Large Eggs||3 eggs + 1 egg for glazing the loaves.|
|Or Granulated sugar||60|
- The night before baking, mix the starter and ferment it at room temperature for 8-12 hours.
- In the morning, in a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, dissolve the starter in the water, then mix in the 3 eggs, salt, honey and oil until completely combined.
- Mix in all the bread flour until it forms a shaggy mass.
- Knead the dough on the bench or in a stand mixer until it is smooth and there is moderate gluten development. (Add small amounts of water or flour to achieve the desired consistency, better if you do not have to) The dough should be quite firm.
- Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl and cover it tightly. Ferment for about 2 hours. It may not rise much.
- To make one loaf, divide the dough into two equal portions, and divide each portion into the number of pieces needed for the type of braiding you plan to do, so divid each by 3 to make 1 six strand braided loaf.
- Form each piece into a ball and allow them to rest, covered, for 10-20 minutes to relax the gluten.
- Form each piece into a strand about 14” long. (I like Glezer’s technique for this. On an un-floured board, flatten each piece with the palm of your hand. Using a rolling pin, roll out each piece to about ¼ inch thickness. Then roll up each piece into a tight tube. Using the palms of your hands, lengthen each piece by rolling each tube back and forth on the bench with light pressure. Start with your hands together in the middle of the tube and, as you roll it, move your hands gradually outward. Taper the ends of the tube by rotating your wrists slightly so that the thumb side of your hand is slightly elevated, as you near the ends of the tube.)
- Braid the loaves. Braiding somewhat loosely, not too tight. Photos below are braided a bit too tight.
- Place each loaf on parchment paper in half-sheet pans (I used a quarter-sheet pan for each loaf.) Cover well with plastic wrap or place the pans in a food grade plastic bag, and proof at room temperature until the loaves have tripled in volume. (Glezer says this will take “about 5 hours.” I proofed in the oven with the light on and it took about 4 hours.)
- If it’s almost tripled and when poked the dough only springs back a little, preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F. Gauge the dough again. Stick a finger lightly in the dough. If it makes an indentation that doesn’t spring back, the dough is ready to be baked. If not, wait a bit more.
- Pre-heat the oven to 350ºF with the rack in the upper third of the oven about 30 mins before final proof is complete.
- Brush each loaf with an egg lightly beaten with a pinch of salt.
- Optionally, sprinkle the loaves with sesame seeds and/or poppy seeds.
- Bake until done – 25-40 minutes rotating half way. If baking as one large loaf may take a bit longer, bake until sounds hollow or reaches 190ºF in the middle.
- Cool completely before slicing.