May’s Daring Bakers’ Challenge was pretty twisted – Ruth from The Crafts of Mommyhood challenged us to make challah! Using recipes from all over, and tips from “A Taste of Challah,” by Tamar Ansh, she encouraged us to bake beautifully braided breads.
Second time around at the Daring Baker, and this happens to be one of those happy coincidence, Challah was on my "to-do" list for a while, as I kept seeing it in many bread recipe books. I'm used to braid brioche here, but mostly just two or three strand braid.
So trying out the 4 and 6 strand braid has been a fun challenge, I've check some tutorial over the internet, and it does make a pretty loaf in the end, even if I can still work on my braiding skills in the future.
Though I'm not a religious person, I love food that comes with an history, a tradition or even a legend. In a time where so many people focus on the differences between cultures, maybe we should see more what we have in commun and unites us. Bread is one of those things, a landmark, a standard on every table around the world in various and beautiful forms, like this challah.
Challah Honey White (from Tammy’s Recipes)
Servings: 2 loavesIngredients
1 ½ cups (360 ml) Warm Water, separated
1 Tbsp. (15 ml) (15 gm/½ oz) Sugar
2 Tbsp. (2-2/3 packets) (30 ml) (18 gm) (2/3 oz) Dry Active Yeast
½ cup (120 ml) Honey
1 Tbsp. (15 ml) Oil (light colored vegetable oil, or olive oil if you prefer)
4 large Eggs
1 ½ tsp. 7½ ml) (9 gm) (1/3 oz) Salt
5 cups (1200 ml) (700 gm/25 oz) all-purpose (plain) Flour, plus more as needed (up to 8 or 9 cups total)
1 Egg beaten with 1 tsp. water
1. In mixer bowl/large mixing bowl combine ½ cup warm water, 1 Tbsp. sugar and 2 Tbsp. yeast. Allow to proof approximately 5 minutes until foamy.
2. To the yeast mixture add the remaining water, honey, oil, eggs, salt and 5 cups of flour. Knead (by hand or with your mixer’s dough hook) until smooth, adding flour as needed. Knead for approximately 10 minutes.
3. Transfer dough to a clean, oiled bowl, turn to coat or add a bit more oil on top. Cover bowl with a kitchen/tea towel. Leave to rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 ½ hours.
4. Punch down the dough, divide it into two sections. Use one half to make each loaf (shaped or braided as desired).
5. Place loaves on parchment lined or greased baking sheets, cover with a towel, allow to rise 30 minutes.
6. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
7. Brush tops loaves with egg wash. (Sprinkle with seeds or toppings here if wanted.)
8. Bake loaves 30-40 minutes until done.
9. Cool on wire racks.