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.
This makes quite a big braided chunk which can be made into delicious french toast.
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 youtubetutorials. 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
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.
Been wanting to redo the beetroot bread I did ages ago unfortunetaly I missed the season and so no beetroots until July here in the UK. Until then maybe I could try hibiscus sourdough bread at some point to get my red bread fix.
Anyways today instead I decided to experiment as well as celebrate the end of the dire courgette shortage we’ve been having with courgette sourdough bread. I more or less use the same recipes as the beetroot bread, but because courgette is much more watery, I added some wholemeal flour.
I slightly miss the bright red dough from when I make beetroot bread; the courgette bread dough is looking much more civilised, lot less murdery.
There isn’t a taste of courgette per se, but it has this really nice freshness and it super soft and moist.
As you can sort of see the texture and crumbs of it was really lovely, it is just light and airy.
It pairs especially well with savoury food. I had it with some gorgonzola which really brought out the flavours.I then proceeded to eat the entire humongous piece gorgonzola and half of the loaf which was not the greatest decision but super delicious nonetheless. And when life gives you a bad but delicious option, you take that option my fellow epicurean.
so all in all actually really happy with this bread even though it does not have a fantastic lurid hue of the beetroot bread.
550g white bread flour
100g wholemeal flour
1 medium courgette
In a small cup add 10g of hot water and dissolve the salt. Leave to cool.
With a grater finely shred the courgette and set aside for the moment.
In a large bowl add water + the starter and mix to dissolve.
+ add all the flour + courgette + the now tepid 10g salt water
Mix until combined
Cover with a plastic freezer bag and leave in the fridge for 20 hours.
Scoop out your dough on a clean floured surface and shape your dough. Withe the seams bottom down, push and rotate your shaped dough to really close the seams.
And leave the dough at room temperature for another 2 hours. Preheat the oven at 260C˚with the Dutch Oven inside. Leave the dutch oven for a least 30 min at 260C˚.
Slash the top and Bake at 260C˚ for about 30mins with the lid on. Take off the lid and lower the temperature to 230C˚ for another 15min.
The kneading of the sourdough at 20 min interval for so many time is alway the most time-consuming and annoying part (I get flour and dough everywhere in the kitchen). I had heard about no knead technique, but I had a slight suspicion that it was mostly to make pun-ny book titles like “kneadlessly simple” and the title to this post. It is also the least used methods in sourdough recipes that I have seen. Although it’s a great for people who dont have a proofing basket as you don’t need one for this no knead recipe as the dough rises in a mixing bowl.
The biggest contention with no knead is the flavour. Many argue that it doesn’t taste as good, as the flavour has less depth. I slightly agree with that the no knead method did not taste bad but it was different, a bit more like normal white bread…. Here is a post that argues why kneaded bread is better not only because of the taste but other points I hadn’t thought about. I think though it is mostly comes down to personal preference. I am definitely going to try some more no knead breads.
But it actually works! You don’t need to knead! I used the New York Times recipe and to see if it made any difference as a comparison I also made my workhorse loaf recipe which is very similar. I made two different loaves with my workhorse recipe and kneaded them to different degrees. I kneaded one loaf with 20 min 4 times and another 8 times. The best result was kneading it 4 times at 20 min intervals (which is what the standard practice seems to be in most recipes). Kneading it 8 times did not make any difference to the loaf compared to kneading it 4 times.
Here are the loaves just out of the oven
The left is 4 times, the bottom middle is no knead and the right is 8 times
here is an intersection of all three of the loaves. Can you tell which is which?
A couple thing I have discovered and have started to do is: one dissolve the salt in 15grams of water from the recipe and dissolving the starter in the water before adding it to the flour which makes everything easier to mix. I also have started using plastic bags to cover the dough while its rising which is really good to prevent the bread from drying out. After shaping I have also started to twist the bread on itself on to close the seems on the bottom.
300 grams white bread flour
125 grams wholemeal bread flour
300 grams water
180 grams starter
6 grams salt
feed your starter 8 hours before.
In a cup with 10 grams of hot water add the salt and mix to dissolve.
With the rest of the water at luke warm temparature add the starter and mix.
add the flour and the cup of salty water to water/starter mixture and mix until combined.
Wrap the bowl using a plastic freezer bag or cling film.
let it rise for 24 hours in the fridge
On a well floured surface scoop out the dough and fold and shape into a loaf.
Leave the dough for 2 hours for its final rise.
Heat the oven to 260Cº and place your dutch oven inside for 30 in.
Put your loaf in the dutch oven seams up.
Bake for 30 min at 260Cº and take the top of and cook at 245Cº for another 10 min.
take the bread out and leave to cool for 45 min at least