The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Maggie Glezer’s Sourdough Challah

Benito's picture
Benito

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.

Ingredients 
The starterAmount (gms)
Active sourdough starter35
Warm water80
Bread flour135
  
The final dough 
Warm water60
Large Eggs3 eggs + 1 egg for glazing the loaves.
Salt8
Vegetable oil55
Mild honey65
Or Granulated sugar60
Bread flour400
Sourdough levain200
  

Procedures

  1. The night before baking, mix the starter and ferment it at room temperature for 8-12 hours.
  2. 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.
  3. Mix in all the bread flour until it forms a shaggy mass.
  4. 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.
  5. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl and cover it tightly. Ferment for about 2 hours. It may not rise much.
  6. 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.
  7. Form each piece into a ball and allow them to rest, covered, for 10-20 minutes to relax the gluten.
  8. 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.)
  9. Braid the loaves. Braiding somewhat loosely, not too tight. Photos below are braided a bit too tight.
  10. 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.)
  11. 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.
  12. Pre-heat the oven to 350ºF with the rack in the upper third of the oven about 30 mins before final proof is complete.
  13. Brush each loaf with an egg lightly beaten with a pinch of salt.
  14. Optionally, sprinkle the loaves with sesame seeds and/or poppy seeds.
  15. 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.
  16. Cool completely before slicing.

Comments

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

That loaf deserves congratulations! It looks just perfect.

How the olive oil effects the flavor depends on the oil's flavor. It will probably make a difference, but I doubt it will be "bad." 

I'm waiting to see how you like the flavor.

David

Benito's picture
Benito

David, I can’t thank you enough for sharing this recipe.  I’ve never had such a good challah before, I think I love it even more than ever.  Fortunately the olive oil doesn’t detract from the flavour of it.  Despite my starter being past peak by the morning, there is no acid tang in this at all.  The crumb is so moist and tender and shredable, so so good.  This will not be the last time I make this awesome bread.  I will not be buying supermarket challah ever again.

Benny

pmccool's picture
pmccool

Looks like you scored a home run in your very first time at bat with this recipe.

Paul

Benito's picture
Benito

Thank you Paul, I guess I got lucky, my first time with recipes usually leave me with a list of things to improve upon.  This one just went well and the olive oil didn’t’ detract from it whatsoever fortunately.

Benny

Abe's picture
Abe

And that's "perfect"! A fluffy crumb with a lovely dark crust and excellent plaiting. Looks delicious. 

Benito's picture
Benito

Thanks Abe, I’m still so surprised that I got it right the first time around.

Benny

Ilya Flyamer's picture
Ilya Flyamer

That's beautiful Benny, and just in time for Shabbat! :) 

Benito's picture
Benito

You’re right Ilya, just in time and I didn’t even realize it.

 

isand66's picture
isand66

You certainly did this formula justice.  Great braiding to boot.  I use olive oil all the time in my bakes and you never really taste it much unless using a strong flavored version.

Happy Baking.

Ian

Benito's picture
Benito

Thanks Ian, I was a bit worried.  I made the Pompe d’Huile before Christmas and that requires olive oil and you could really taste it which was the idea.  But with this recipe there is much less oil in it per gram of dough so I really couldn’t taste it so I shouldn’t have been so worried.  I only have extra virgin olive oil and I do like the sharpness of it but didn’t want it in challah.

Happy baking.

Benny

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

It's as beautiful as the crust. I'm so glad you like the recipe and the bread's taste. As you know, I recently made the yeasted version. It is delicious too. I need to return to the sourdough version soon.

Happy baking!

David

Benito's picture
Benito

Thanks David, nice to know that you like my bake of your recipe.  This will be my go to challah now that I know I can bake it, I’ll be baking this often I think.

Happy Baking.

Benny

Bread1965's picture
Bread1965

Benny.. you're taking it to a new level! Good for you! Nice bake!

 

Benito's picture
Benito

Thank you Frank, glad I finally baked a challah, I was lucky to have found David’s post right at the right moment while looking for recipes.

Benny