Happy Jewish New Year!
One of the staples of the holiday is round challah, a rich egg bread in a round shape. Yesterday I experimented with creating a recipe for it on my own.
Well, not entirely all on my own. I had a ration to work with: 5:3. Five parts flour (by weight) to three parts liquid. That, plus the fact that I already know how to make bread (i.e. techniques for mixing ingredients, kneading, etc.) and away I went.
I also took pictures:
First I measured out 40 oz of flour:
That meant I needed 24 oz of liquids. I had 5 eggs left in the box, so I took one of them, separated it, and saved the white to brush over the loaves before baking. Then I threw the rest in. That added up to about 8 oz. Next I added 4 oz of honey, and 4 oz of shortening. Just for the hell of it, this time I decided to try coconut oil. I usually use butter, but this way the bread would be pareve; neither meat nor dairy, if anyone who cared about keeping kosher happened to eat some.
That left 8 of my 24 oz, so I used a cup of water which I heated in the microwave, and then dissolved the yeast in it. I mixed the wet ingredients up really well with a fork, then threw about a teaspoon or two of salt. Then I started stirring in the flour:
See that plastic yellow thing the size of a miniature painter’s pallette? That’s my secret weapon that I use to mix in the last third of the flour; it’s really more like kneading than mixing, and it works great. As it turned out, I didn’t actually use all the flour I’d measured out, because I didn’t need to. That’s where the experience came in, knowing when the texture was just right.
First rising was about an hour until doubled in bulk. Then I punched it down, and finally I shaped it into a cool round braid:
let it rise again, then brushed with the reserved egg white, baked at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes. And voila:
The end result: it smelled heavenly while baking. The crumb (texture) was perfect. I thought the taste was set enough to, but just the slightest bit bland, likely because of the coconut oil. Next time around I may use peanut oil, unless I know butter will be okay.
Happy New Year.