Cha- cha cha lla llallah ūüé∂

This is a bit of a through back to last year when I did challah. it was interesting…. the shape had¬†not kept. It was a tasty blob. Dare I say I think my bread skills has been improving since I started this blog.

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Challah has such a deep history that I absolutely love and there is so much variation to the recipe. Safron and other spices can be found in some parts of the world. Not being part of that faith of tradition I still love it. This recipe is quirky as it uses coconut oil, whereas vegetable or olive oil would be more the traditional oils you would find. I love coconut oil vs other types of oil in the kitchen. It has a great advantage over other oils like a high smoke point. For example again super not tradition but for Yorkshire it is amazing. In my Christmas dinner taste test it won against olive and vegetable oil.

Another slightly atypical ingredient is sugar. I think it is more traditional to just use honey. The only reason I have used sugar is that I now have loads of citrus sugar from doing candied sugar. It is really lovely as small little pieces of candied citrus chunks that sometimes pops up in the challah.

I like having challah for breakfast which again ignores its history totally of being a Jewish holiday bread which absolutely intricate to the ceremony of it which really amazing. I love the dictum set to how to cook and company and you can find loads of article on that. It is very much the simpler less gourmandise version of brioche. I love brioche but it can somewhat rich if you are having for breakfast, a bit too much a sugary treat to start your day.

This makes quite a big braided chunk which can be made into delicious french toast.IMG_7874

I pretty much got my recipe from Bk17 Bakery’s challah recipe. The recipe also gives you the option of adding a tahini¬†filling which looks amazing. There is also challah chocolate¬†tahini recipe from 600 acres, which again looks amazing. Traditional middle east spices like cardamon and saffron can also be added. Sourdough home also has an excellent recipe post on sourdough challah with a bit of way traditional challah can’t use milk and a bit more what is kosher which is really interesting. For the ever important braiding, there are loads of youtube tutorials. There is even one with colour coded strands. IMG_7824IMG_7826

Troubleshooting tip- hydration matters. Don’t use flour on your surface when you are braiding as this will dry out the dough too much. If your dough is too dry the braids will crack. If it is too wet it won’t keep it shapes.

Quick note – your starter should have been feed around 4-6 hour prior and should be really active and bubbly.

Ingredients:

  • 280 g sourdough starter, really bubbly and active
  • 175 g water
  • 35g sugar
  • 20 g honey
  • 40 g ¬†coconut oil
  • 2 large eggs + 3 yolks
  • 15 g sea salt
  • 375 g all-purpose flour
  • 375 g white bread flour

EGG WASH:

  • 1 egg yolk
  • Dash of water
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • sesame,¬†poppy, or nigella seeds and/or coarse sugar like palm sugar (optional)

Recipe

  1. In a large bowl mix well starter + water + honey + sugar +oil +eggs + salt.
  2. slowly + flour until a sticky wet ball of dough is formed.
  3. knead in the bowl for about 5 min, it should be a smoother ball of dough.
  4. Lightly oil the ball of dough in the bowl.
  5. Proof until the dough doubles in sizes, about 6 hours.
  6. Now the tricky, choose how many strands you want. I like having 6 braid challah. So separate your dough into 6 equal parts. Form a strand by rolling with your hand. The thinner it is the longer your challah will be and make sure that they are all uniform. Once you have 6 strands braid them.
  7. Place the uncooked challah on a cooking tray for the final proof, about 1 hour.
  8. Preheat your oven to 195C¬ļ
  9. prepare your egg wash by combining +yolk+water+honey.
  10. and gently brush the egg wash on.
  11. Sprinkle your topping of sesame, nigella, palm sugar or whatever you want
  12. Cook for 35-40min until the top of the challah is a deep brown.

Challa – hazaaaa!

Going down the rabbit whole and decided to try some challah. Challah is the in some way the jewish version of brioche. The main difference is that it is kosher, to be more specific, it is not made with diary.  So no butter or milk, which make it less faffy.  Again I looked to the fresh loaf inspiration for challah sourdough. I also found another wordpress blog that illustrates it very well is here. For a full little your tube tutorial there are these videos here for 3-9 strands and for simple 4 strand here. I have to say my artistry clearly failed me yet again especially compared to theirs.

Overall this well slightly less of a faff than the brioche, although it was not as soft as the brioche it did make amazingly soft french toast. I used the same french toast recipe as for the brioche which can be found here.

Ingredients:

  • 60 grams warm water
  • 3 large eggs, plus 1 for glazing
  • 8 grams table salt
  • 55 grams vegetable oil
  • 65 grams mild honey or 60 grams granulated sugar
  • 400 grams bread flour
  • 200 gram of starter, feed the day before
  • optional
    • 1tsp¬†of rose water
    • 6 crushed star¬†of anise
    • 6 crushed clove
    • zest of half an orange
    • sesame and nigella seeds to sprinkle on the top

Recipe:

  1. In a bowl beat well water+eggs+salt+oil+honey/sugar +rose water+ anise star+cloves
  2. Add bread flour and mix.
  3. Add starter and knead for less than 10 minutes.
  4. Let it rest in a bowl for 2hours – should not rise too much or at all
  5. On a baking trays oil some baking parchment.
  6. Divide the dough into how many challah you want to make, 1 big loaf ,2 medium loaves, 3 rolls. Braid your challah (see the youtube tutorials) and placed them the oiled parchment and baking tray. As you can see mine looks sad and terrible, and has been beaten with a fugly stick. Stay in art class kids! 4.png
  7. Cover with plastic wrap and leave to proof for 5 hours or until tripled in size (depending how warm your kitchen is). When you press the dough with your finger is should stay indented.
  8. Heat your oven to 180¬ļC and glaze your challah with a simple glaze wash. Sprinkle¬†the¬†sesame and nigella seeds on the top of the challah.
    • Side note of more information you could ever want on glaze wash: you can use beaten egg or you can also add a little bit¬†of milk or water. Depending on what egg wash you use, it will affect the exterior colour of the challah. I added milk which gives it a¬†darker deeper brown than just a beaten egg. The rabbit hole of egg wash can be found here.
  9. Bake the rolls for 15-20min, the 2 loaves for 25-35 min and 1 loaf 35-45min or really until brown. If it is browning to quickly you can cover the challah with foil.
  10. Take out of the oven and let cool on a wire rack.

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I have to say I am way more happy making challah than brioches. It was a bit of hit with everyone and it was slightly addictive. Really lovely texture and crust. Just need to work on keeping the shape and getting to look less like a lump. It also makes really lovely french toast. It is even more amazing with marmalade in bed.

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