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.
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.
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.
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.
- 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
- 1 egg yolk
- Dash of water
- 1 teaspoon honey
- sesame, poppy, or nigella seeds and/or coarse sugar like palm sugar (optional)
- In a large bowl mix well starter + water + honey + sugar +oil +eggs + salt.
- slowly + flour until a sticky wet ball of dough is formed.
- knead in the bowl for about 5 min, it should be a smoother ball of dough.
- Lightly oil the ball of dough in the bowl.
- Proof until the dough doubles in sizes, about 6 hours.
- 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.
- Place the uncooked challah on a cooking tray for the final proof, about 1 hour.
- Preheat your oven to 195Cº
- prepare your egg wash by combining +yolk+water+honey.
- and gently brush the egg wash on.
- Sprinkle your topping of sesame, nigella, palm sugar or whatever you want
- Cook for 35-40min until the top of the challah is a deep brown.