Monday, June 13, 2011

Homemade Challah

Challah is one of my most favorite things on this earth. Next to my family, friends, etc., of course. But seriously, challah is probably the yummiest bread I know. If you don't know from challah, you are missing out. Get yourself out to a good deli or bakery and grab a loaf. Sweet, rich and soft egg bread, challah is the perfect breakfast toast, the best pb&j bread and hands down the best French toast bread - it's not even a contest.

In my continuing quest to make my own bread, I made some challah a few weeks back. It wasn't quite as good as the bread my Grandma Bea gets for me when we visit, but it was a close second. It's really easy to make and looked gorgeous. This would be super fun to do with little ones too.

This recipe should make 2 loaves.

-In a large bowl mix 2 eggs, 1/4 melted butter, 2 1/4 cups lukewarm water, 1/4 cup honey, 1 1/2 tbsp yeast
-Add 3 1/2 cups flour and mix until combined. The dough will be wet and shaggy.
-Let rise for at least 2 hours.

This is what the dough looks like just mixed. (Nice bread bucket, right?) It expands quite a bit, so make sure you use a big bowl or pot to avoid a dough fiasco on your counter.

-At this point, you can make your bread, or refrigerate the dough for up to 4 days. I recommend refrigerating the dough for at least a couple of hours - cold dough is just easier to work with.

-When you are ready to bake: Divide dough in half. Divide each half in to three pieces and roll into long ropes - about 12 inches each. You will need to flour your hands and work surface to keep from having a sticky, frustrating dough mess. Line up the 3 pieces of dough and starting from the center braid out to one end and then repeat so that you have one big braid. Pinch the ends together. Place braided loaves on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Let stand for at least an hour.

 I don't usually do the step-by-step photo thing, but I was 
pretty proud of myself during this cooking endevor.

-Heat oven to 350. Brush the tops of the bread with egg wash. Bake for 25-35 minutes.

 I made one plain loaf and for the second loaf  I improvised a cinnamon raisin version. I just rolled out each strand of dough, sprinkled with cinnamon sugar and about a 1/2 cup of raisins. I closed up each strand and then braided as usual. It was fabulous!

One more tip: This is a dough scraper, a tool I had never even heard of until a month ago. If you ever make anything involving dough, you should invest. And by invest I mean plunk down the whole 5 bucks that this costs. It is great for cutting, measuring, dividing and, clearly, scraping up dough. Amazing gadget that I wish I had owned before a month ago.

No comments:

Post a Comment