Monday, March 29, 2010

My First Challah

OK, I get that it's Passover and one is not supposed to be eating the most delicious leavened bread ever, but I just got the Peter Reinhart Bread baker's apprentice book today (from a most delightful friend), and a proper bread knife, so I had to make some bread that I could eat today. Plus, I'd been away from blokey for 4 days, and it's good to give the fella reminders of why it's so awesome to have me around. This was the only loaf that looked yummy and only required about 4 hours. Granted, I started this around 7 so we sat down to eat at midnight, but he's on Hawai'i time most of the week, so it worked out well.
I made a few variations. Like, I subbed one cup of whole wheat for a cup of unbleached flour. I have no instant yeast, and so I multiplied the amount by 1.333 and used the regular yeast. I used 3 eggs instead of 2 eggs and 2 egg yolks. I didn't quite cook it for 40 minutes. I fugded the rising times and failed to do an egg wash (I'm stingy with my cage free vegetarian fed eggs). Instead, I sort of did an olive oil rubdown instead. (Try not to think too hard about it).

"I can't believe it's Passover" Challah bread (adapted from Peter Reinhart)
3 c. of unbleached white flour (King Arthur, if possible)
1 c. of whole wheat flour
2 Tbs of sugar
1 tsp of salt
about 2 tsp of active dry yeast
3/4 c. plus 2 Tbs of lukewarm water (90 degrees. I just mixed boiling water with Brita water and tested it with my wrist)
3 eggs
2 Tbs. of olive oil

Mix all the dry ingredients in a big bowl. Mix the wet ingredients in a smaller bowl. Combine the two and start kneading away. You may need to add more flour, but it will be a pretty wet dough. Knead for 6 minutes if you've got a dough hook. I do not, so I did it for 10. The book said that the bread should pass the windowpane test. (Not even close for me. But we had to run to the store before it closed for split peas, so I covered it with a cloth napkin and hoped for the best, and ran off.)
One hour later, punch down the dough and form into a ball, cover, and let rise another hour or until 1.5 times larger.
after second rise

After second rise, divide the dough into 3 balls. The book says to look it hang out for 10 minutes, but I was impatient, as usual. Roll the balls into rolls that are pretty long and thin (as long as you can make them on your cutting board). Pinch the three rolls on one end on a cookie sheet, and braid the rolls, like you would hair. Lightly brush with olive oil or egg wash (or grease it up with your hands, if you're low rent like me).
Cover with a damp tea towel/cloth napkin and let rise another hour or until 1.5 times larger. Before that's all over, preheat the oven to 350.
post rising

Bake for 20 minutes and then rotate the pan in the oven and let bake another 20 minutes.
after 20 minutes (and rotating)

done baking

I can't believe it's a real bread knife!

This tasted great with just plain butter. We ate it with split pea soup, made in the new pressure cooker (thanks to my coworkers), and some fancy cheese (the cheese was not necessary).

Crumb shot

I hear that challah makes great French toast. We'll find out tomorrow.

1 comment:

Jessica said...

this looks amazing. I may snag your recipe and try it out!