Tuesday, May 29, 2012

May 2012 Daring Bakers' Challenge - Challah

Sorry guys, we are experiencing severe problems with out internet. Basically, we want it to work and it doesn't go our way. Not sure why the cows thought the phone line would taste good, but they were convinced and I hope they're bitterly disappointed. Anyway, here is the May challenge. Not as fun or tasty as Nazook, but what could be?

The "deal" with challah is the braid. There is a three strand braid (what I did), a four strand braid, a six strand braid, and a four strand round braid. There might be more. There is religious/ spiritual significance to each type of braid. I'd tell ya about them all, but I won't even pretend to know that much about it.

May’s Daring Bakers’ Challenge was pretty twisted – Ruth from The Crafts of Mommyhood challenged us to make challah! Using recipes from all over, and tips from "A Taste of Challah," by Tamar Ansh, she encouraged us to bake beautifully braided breads.

Here's a recipe you can try:

Easy Challah (from templedavid.org)

4 cups (960 ml) (360 gm/20 oz) all-purpose (plain) flour
1 cup (240 ml) warm water
1 package (2¼ teaspoons) (11¼ ml) (7 gm) (¼ oz) package rapid rise yeast
½ (120 ml) (115 gm/4 oz) cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp. (5 ml) (6 gm) salt
1 egg beaten with 1 tsp. water

Directions: 1. Measure flour, sugar and salt into a large mixing bowl.
2. In a separate bowl (or in the bowl of your stand mixer) combine water and yeast, allow to sit 5 minutes until foamy.
3. Add 1 ½ cups of the flour mixture to the water and yeast mixture, beat until well combined. Cover with a dish towel, let stand 30 min.
4. Add two eggs to the dough, beat again.
5. By hand or with your dough hook knead in the remaining flour mixture. Knead approximately 10 minutes.
6. Transfer to oiled bowl, cover, let rise one hour.
7. Punch down dough, knead approximately 3 minutes.
8. Divide dough in two. Shape each half as desired (3, 4, or 6 strand braid).
9. Place loaves on parchment covered or greased cookie sheets, cover with a towel, allow to rise one hour.
10. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
11. Brush loaves with egg wash.
12. Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees, bake until golden crust forms (about 25-30 minutes).
13. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Here's what mine looked like. My egg wash was on the watery side and someone thought it should be "patted down" (mishap that we won't talk about, well, yeah I will - thanks a lot for your help Jake!), but it still tasted good!

And no, the tomatoes in the background have nothing to do with challah. This was just the tomatoes that had been picked in the garden today and since they are so pretty (and tasty too) I thought they'd be a better background than a bare countertop.

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