Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Making Challah Bread

As it turned out, yesterday, I did not make bread sticks. I made Challah
bread, instead, and I had a friend on FaceBook tell me this morning that it
looks very nice. So, I thought I would not only share the pic, but the story
about it with you.

Around 3PM yesterday, I pulled up my recipe and began. Instead of giving you
the actual recipe first, like I did yesterday, I'll just give it to you as I
tell it. Ok?

So, anyway, in to a large bowl, I poured

2 cups of very warm water
2 tsp active dry yeast

I let it set for a few minutes, while I gathered up the rest of what I
needed. About 6 to 10 minutes later, I added to this mixture

1 tsp salt
1/2 cup regular white sugar

Then, I stirred it.

Next, I added, 1 cup at a time

3 cups of unbleeched all purpose flour

Some say you need Pilsbury or Hudson Cream, or King Arthur, but I'm poor so
I just have Kroger unbleeched flour that costs about $1.99 for a 5 pound
bag.

Anyway, I mixed well after each addition of flour. Then, when all 3 cups
were mixed in, I added

1 egg that I did not bother to beat
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

and mixed well.

Then, mixing after each cup, I added 3 more cups of flour. Then, I abandoned
my spoon and started mixing by hand. I ended up having to add another cup,
which makes a total of 7 cups of flour.

After mixing well, I put it on my board and kneaded for a good while. Then,
I placed it in a bowl greased with the extra virgin olive oil and turned to
coat all sides of the dough. Then, I wet a towel in hot water, rung it out
and placed it over the bowl to let the dough rise.

After an hour or so, when the dough was doubled, I dumped it bak on to my
board and separated it in to 4 balls, 2 larger than the other 2. Whatever
dough I wasn't using at the moment, I put back in the bowl under the wet
towel, cause I'm slow and didn't want the dough to dry out.

So, I took one of the larger balls of dough and separated it in to 3
sections. I rolled each section in to a long snake about 16 inches. It took
some doing, cause I'd never done that before. I will caution you to make
sure you have plenty of dough, because it will break if you are trying to
use too little.

I had my 4-year-old to hold the 3 together at one end while I started
braiding. This was the bottom of one loaf, and so I did it again with the
other larger ball of dough.

When the 2 bottoms of the loaves were placed on a parchment paper lined
baking sheet, I took one of the smaller lumps and pulled it apartin to 3
sections, braiding it the same way I did the bigger one. When it was
braided, I put it on top of one of the ones in the pan and made the top of
the second loaf. When both top braids were on the others, I tucked in the
ends, hoping it would not turn out ugly, as most of my bread does. It might
taste good but doesn't always look its best.

So, I covered the dough with a dry towel and let it rise while the oven was
warming to 375 degrees. The recipe called to bake it for 35 minutes, but
mine was done at 25, instead. And, as you can tell from the picture, it
worked.

When it comes to the taste, well, you could taste the yeast like you can in
my french bread, but this Challah bread is not something I would want to eat
soup with. It's sweet, note the 1/2 cup sugar, but it is so soft and chewy.
I would eat it as sandwich bread. I'm also thinking that next time I make
cinnamon rolls, I'll use this dough instead of the classic white bread
recipe I had been making them from. It might make a good pizza dough, as
well, but I'm not so sure I'd want my pizza that sweet. Pizza, IMHO is
supposed to be savory, not sweet. Anyway, it's very tasty with peanut butter
or just plain butter on it. It's good fresh or the next day, but pretty
crumbly the day after.

Was it good with spaghetti? Well, it came out of the oven just as we were
sitting down to eat the spaghetti, so we didn't eat them together, but it
was a wonderful after dinner treat. Notice, I didn't call it dessert, for it
wasn't sweet enough for that. I'll definitely be making it again. Wonder if
I could get good directions on how to make a round braided loaf. :)

So, I neglected to mention the spaghetti and meatballs from yesterday's
post, and that is because they did not turn out as well as I had hoped. I
don't know if hamburger does not like the slow cooker, or the sauce didn't
agree with my taste buds, or what, but I didn't like it. Neither did my
husband, but the girls ate some without complaint. At present, I have the
rest of it in a container in my fridge awaiting a new home with my
grandmother, who hopefully will like it better than we did. :)

And, just as a side note, and so you won't think I'm a total couch potato, I
did get my floor swept today. :D

1 comment:

  1. Your Challah looks amazing Shannon! Do I dare try it? ;) The mess that I would make scares me more than any thing!

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