Sunday, May 27, 2012

May 2012 Daring Bakers' Challenge: Challah

Today is the day I get to share my first Daring Bakers' Challenge!  The May 2012 challenge came from Ruth over at The Crafts of Mommyhood.  Ruth's challenge was to make challah.  When is saw that this was the challenge I got pretty excited.  This was something that I knew about since I am Jewish, but I had never made it before from scratch.  I couldn't wait to get started.  Ruth provides some awesome history on challah bread as well as examples of different ways to braid the challah.  The only mandatory items were to make an enriched bread and to braid it.  I decided to make a more traditional honey wheat challah and then a less traditional blueberry challah.  Most challah recipes make two loaves as it is tradition to provide two loaves of challah on Shabbat so that you have enough for all of Shabbat (you can't "do work" on Shabbat, so you need to get all the preparations done before).  Therefore, I ended up with four loaves of challah.  I'm going to have to think of some fun ways to use up all this bread!

I decided to have a traditional Shabbat dinner for my family and I did it all.  I made the challah, an awesome apricot chicken dish, and some yummy homemade pasta with a white wine mushroom and broccoli sauce.  We gathered around the table, poured the wine, lit the candles, said the blessings, and dug in!

Honey Whole Wheat Challah (adapted from Ruth's Go-To Whole Wheat Challah which was adapted from D's Whole Wheat Challah)
Before Rise
After Rise
Oven Ready- 6 Strand Braid and 4 Strand Round

 Ingredients:
4 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
1 cup warm water
1 tbsp honey
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
3 large eggs
2 cups white whole wheat flour
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
2 tsp salt
extra flour for kneading
Egg Wash:
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 tsp brown sugar
-beat all the ingredients together in a small bowl

Directions:
1. In a large mixing bowl, mix warm water with honey.  Mix in the yeast and let it sit for 5 minutes, until foamy.  Mix in the brown sugar, butter, and eggs.  Mix in the flour and the oats.  Mix until just combined and then mix in the salt.  Knead the dough in a stand mixer with the dough hook for 5-10 minutes and add flour as needed (haha no pun intended!) The dough should be smooth and elastic. Form dough into a ball and place in an oiled bowl.  Cover the bowl with a clean towel and place in a warm, dry place (I put mine in the oven with the light on).  Let the dough rise for 2 hours.
2.  After two hours, punch the dough down (literally punch it) and then recover with the towel and let rise for another hour.
3. After an hour, punch the dough down again and divide it in two.  Braid the challah as you want and place on a parchment lined baking sheet. (I braided one loaf with the six strand braid method and the other with the four strand round method).  Then cover the two loaves with a towel and let rest for about another hour.
4. Preheat the oven to 350 and once the loaves are ready, brush with the egg wash and bake for 30-40 minutes.  The challah is done when it is lightly browned and sounds hollow when you tap it.
Enjoy :)

Blueberry Challah (adapted from The Challah Blog)

Ingredients:
3/4 cup warm water
2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
1 1/2 tbsp agave nectar
2 large eggs
1/4 cup canola oil
1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 cup white whole wheat flour
extra flour for kneading
1 1/4 tsp salt
frozen blueberries (or dried-I think dried would have worked better)
Egg Wash (same as above)
Before Rise

After Rise

3 Strand Braid

Just out of the oven

Directions:
1. In a large stand mixer, mix water with agave nectar.  Mix in yeast and let sit for 5 minutes, until foamy. Mix in the eggs and oil.  Mix in the flour.  Once flour is incorporated mix in the salt.  Switch to a dough hook and knead for 5-10 minutes or until dough is smooth and elastic, add flour as needed. Form dough into a ball and place in an oiled bowl.  Cover the bowl with a clean towel and place in a warm, dry place.  Again, the oven is good.  Let the dough rise for 1 1/2 hours.
2.  Once the dough has risen, turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead in the blueberries.  Divide the dough in two and shape both loaves as desired. (I braided both loaves with the traditional three strand braid method).  Place the loaves on a parchment lined baking sheet and cover with a towel.  Let rise for another 30 minutes or so.
3.  Preheat the oven to 350 and brush the loaves with the egg wash.  Bake for about 30 minutes and check often to ensure the dough isn't getting too brown too fast.
Enjoy :)


14 comments:

  1. Yum! Looks really good! I've never had challah but I have a feeling I would love it.

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    1. It's so good! Plus, you can make amazing french toast with the leftovers!

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  2. I know exactly what you should do with leftovers....FRENCH TOAST! orrr BREAD PUDDING!

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    1. That is exactly what I am going to do!!!

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  3. Looking forward to make one. hope it's going to look as good as yours.Meriem

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    1. Thanks! Let me know how it turns out :)

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  4. Beautifully done!!! I love the round loaf...I'm going to have to figure out how you braided that one :)

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    1. Thank you! It was really very simple and I just googled 4 strand round braid :)

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  5. I have never tried making a Challah before, I'm not sure why since I adore making bread! Your post has inspired me to give it a try this week. And since I have a fantastic recipe now! Thank you! =]

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    1. I love making bread and this was especially fun! I hope you enjoy it :)

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  6. Thanks for the shout-out! I love how blueberries turn things blue... I'll definitely have to try using frozen sometime. Did you flour them before adding in?

    Amanda from TheChallahBlog.com

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    1. I didn't and I probably should have...it was very yummy tho and thank you for the inspiration!

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