Rosh Hashanah Challah
Baking Challah is a weekly thing in my kitchen. I have blogged about it extensively. For the holidays I did something a little "special" inspired by a long ago post by Mariana (I think).
Rosh Hashanah Challah (yud bet)
Maggie Glezer in "A Blessing of Bread" describes this as a yud (ten) bet (two), an originally Hasidic bread that represents the twelve tribes. I added double twisted ring on the outside symbolizing the world, unity, or the circle of live (the completion of a year), take your pick. The resulting Challah is thus also round, a traditional shape for the holidays.
A particular challenge came with the fact that no recipe I could find would tell me what size/weight to make each of the twelve balls and how much was needed for the two outside ropes. I started with my own recipe of a 1.7lb Challah that I make each week. Figuring I could do with a larger bread (guests for dinner tonight), but not being sure how much dough I would need, I made 3lb of dough starting last night (overnight ferment in the fridge). I also added raisins.
In the end I decided to make the balls 2.5oz each (30 oz) and use the remainder for the two ropes: 9oz each. Once I shaped the balls and placed them on parchment in two triangles of six (bases touching), I used a tape measure to figure out how long my outside ropes needed to be: 40 inches. Now I was very happy with my new 36" maple countertop (see other posts). I could just roll these out on the diagonal. Without it, on a smaller board, or the tile countertops this would have been a no-go. Stretching/rolling the dough that far requires a little patience and one or two rests before you get there. I was in a hurry because my wife needed the oven and broke one of the two, but with some repair its not too bad. The "break" is on the back left in the picture. So, all this worked out perfectly so you can use these ratios: 60-65% of the dough for the 12 balls, the rest for the ropes.
Taste was delicious, but my formula has now proven itself many times so I was not worried about that. Next challenge will be bread sculpting for Halloween. Don't know yet what will top last year's pumpkin and turkey.