Challah Bread

I needed a little bit of a detox after the kouign amanns, so I didn’t do nearly as much baking in the last 2 weeks. A small group of us held a virtual bake-off for the kouign amanns – it was supposed to be a dinner party, but you know, pandemic – and decided to keep it going and do a biweekly challenge. This week’s challenge was challah bread. I’d never actually had challah bread before, so I didn’t know exactly what I was shooting for. I looked at some recipes, and finally found one King Arthur Flour that wasn’t made for feeding a small village! I went with a four strand braid, and am really excited at how nicely it turned out!

challah

I halved the original recipe and made a few tweaks based on what I had available and put my altitude adjustments in italic. If you want a fat loaf or two loaves then you can probably stick with the original proportions. I live alone, and I would like to fit my jeans at the end of this quarantine 🙂

Also, here is a rough timing breakdown so you can pace appropriately. It will vary a little bit but should give you a decent sense of how long things will take. The active working steps are in bold.

15 minutes: combine ingredients
2 hours: proof
20 – 40 minutes: braid dough (with intermittent resting) 
2 hours: proof
30 minutes: bake (375 F)


CHALLAH BREAD (adapted from here)

INGREDIENTS

  • 57 mL water – (I added 10 mL) 
  • 37 g vegetable oil
  • 42 g honey*
  • 1 egg
  • 242 g flour (I used 235 g)*
  • 0.75 tsp. salt
  • 0.5 tbsp. instant yeast OR 13 g fresh yeast (I used 10 g fresh yeast) 
  • egg wash: 1 egg

DIRECTIONS

  1. Mix all of the ingredients together in a bowl until well combined.
  2. Knead the dough on a clean surface until gluten is developed.
  3. Form a boule and set on a lightly floured surface. Cover the dough, and let it proof at room temperature for ~2 hours. It will not necessarily double in size but it will grow.
  4. After the dough has proofed, deflate it, and lightly grease your working surface.
  5. Divide the dough into four equal portions (or however many strands you want the bread to have) and roll each portion into a little log.
  6. Let the dough rest for ~10 minutes, and then roll each log out a little more.
  7. Repeat the resting and rolling process until each log is an appropriate length (mine were ~12″ long) and then begin braiding them together. I used this video as a reference.
  8. Put the the braided loaf on a lined baking pan, cover, and let proof for ~2 hours at room temperature.
  9. Near the end of the proofing period, preheat the oven to 375 F.
  10. Mix one egg for an egg wash, and brush the entire surface of the loaf.
  11. Bake the loaf for ~30 minutes. Cover the top with aluminium foil once the top is sufficiently golden (10 – 20 minutes).

Notes:

  • I used cinnamon honey and it imparted a lovely cinnamon flavour to the bread!
  • The original recipe called for all purpose flour, but I used bread flour.
  • When braiding the dough, leave it a little loose so that it has room to expand.

 


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