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SethG

"Baking With Julia" by Julia Child (2004)

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These great reports are making me want to get started. I may make mine during the week.

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I cheated...I didn't want to make the challah ahead of time, so I made the brioche last weekend instead. Made a whole bunch of loaves, sticky buns, raisin bread. I had the BEST French toast ever the day after.

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Used to work at a small bakery where we made them every Thursday and Friday, all 6 braids, and then worked at a Jewish country club where I could make whatever size and shape I wanted. So I've made New Year's challah, 2 braid, 3 braid, 4 braid, 5 braid, and 6 braid. I have the braiding routines in a little table that to me is a lot easier to follow than some instructions in some books. For instance, a 6 braid is 2 over 6, 1 down the middle, 5 over 1, 6 down the middle. Repeat till done. I'll dig them out if anybody wants them. I find the 2 braid the most confusing. But if you have enough dough to make one of each, they look cool side by side.

Mc D:

Would love to see your table. I usually do a 6-braid but have had more trouble trying to explain it to others.

For "holiday-themed" challahs, I mentioned my menorah challah on another board when I believe we were discussing latkes around Hanukkah. I make some others including a giant hamantashen challah for the upcoming holiday of Purim. It's a lot of fun and many are quite easy. If I can learn how to do it, I'll post pics.

I have a fairly old book called, "The Hallah Book" (make sure you spell it that way) that has some fun ideas for various shapes and braids though some are hard to follow. I started there and developed some of the other ideas myself. They have recipes and other challah info as well though the Baking with Julia one is still my fave.

Jody

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A two braid is rolled into two ropes and then placed in an x on the bench with the piece that runs from 7 o'clock to 2 on top. Then take the ends closest to you and do a right over left, left over right and repeat. Note that you will be braiding the loaf right at your belly and working into the smaller diameter end. This one confuses me the most.

The three braid we all know, I hope.

The four braid is 4 over 2, 1 over 3, 2 over 3. Repeat till done.

The five braid is 1 over 3, 2 over 3, 5 over 2. Repeat till done.

The six braid is 2 over 6, 1 down the middle, 5 over 1, 6 down the middle.

All except the two and three braid start with ropes of equal size and length pinched together at one end with the ends of the ropes facing you. You can start a three in the middle and flip it over to finish, or just go from one end to the other. I rarely ever make a three braid. If you dust the ropes with light rye they won't grow together as they proof and you get nice separation of the ropes in the baked loaf.

Biggest one I ever made was a five pounder for a bat mitzvah. Six braid with a long skinny three braid running over from end to end. I usually use the challah formula from the bakery, which is a three hour sponge loaded with honey, but no milk and only yolks, sugared yolks at that and at 20% by baker's percentages, but I also use Bo Friberg's. I fixed my 20 yr old range today so I'll bake Julia's on Sunday.

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Well, I couldn't wait any longer to try something from Baking With Julia, but I didn't have time for challah, so tonight I made the simplest, quickest recipe in the book: white sandwich bread.

And though I'm nobody's poet, I thought it wasn't half bad.

f9e08bf0.jpg

You'll notice a crease in the top, created I believe when I shaped the dough into a rectangle after the first rise and plopped it in the loaf pan. I think I stretched too hard and broke the outside layer of dough underneath. When I flipped it over to put it in the pan, I saw the tear I'd created, but I decided not to care. It only affected the appearance.

I used half King Arthur all-purpose flour, and half King Arthur bread flour, and it ended up quite hearty. Next time I make the white bread I might use only all-purpose flour-- I think the KA all-purpose may have more protein than a lot of other all-purpose out there. I also used SAF-instant yeast and dispensed with the five minute soak at the beginning.

A question. I started off using my stand mixer (a KitchenAid 5 quart Heavy Duty lifting-bowl model), but switched to hand-kneading when the bread hook almost immediately had to really struggle to move the dough. I thought I smelled an overheating metal/plastic smell, so I turned it off. Is this to be expected? I thought the KitchenAid could handle anything.

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I'm glad you've started this thread, and looking forward to baking the challah (hopefully tomorrow, though that bit about the first rise taking four hours may delay me...)

My question concerns whole milk vs. fat free. I usually have fat-free in the house for cereal; should I go out and get a pint of the whole milk, or is there a substitution or addition I can make? I'm not so concerned about the calories or anything, :raz: just using what I have in the house.

Neil

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Turns out I've been invited for both meals this shabbat. Therefore, I'm putting off the experiment until next week.

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Neil, I never have used whole mile in this recipe. I've only used what I had on hand, which is 1%. My sister has tried skim milk with an egg substitute, and she said it was still great. It wasn't a side by side comparison, but she mentioned that she couldn't tell the difference.

ENOY!

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Neil -- I only have non-fat milk in the house which is what I use. Okay, I usually top off the milk with a dollop of half and half. Basically, use what you've got and see what happens. I think you'll be fine.

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Made my challah this morning and it turned out great, nice dark brown crust with a soft and silky interior. I used KA Bread Flour and 2% milk instead of whole and the kneading was done by my mixer.

I would have posted a picture, but forgot and now half the loaf is gone and the other is in the freezer. :sad: Needless to say it tastes great!

Hope everyone is having fun making theirs.

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I made challah again. This time it didn't take as long and it rose higher. I think the yeast I used the first time was marginal. Also I used 3 large eggs and 1 extra large instead of 4 extra large, and a mix of skim milk and half and half instead of whole milk. The first rise only took 1 1/2 hours instead of 4. It was delicious, and looked great. I paid more attention to the braiding. I froze the second loaf for later this week.

What's the next project?

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I'd love to throw my hat in the ring also! (albeit a little late)

I loaned Baking with Julia from the library and loved it. Recently ordered a copy off Amazon. Very cool idea! I'll be watching this thread with interest. Isn't it funny how once you start baking bread, you get hooked? You start out baking a simple loaf of white bread and before you know it you have three different types of flour in your cupboard, your oven's lined with quarry tiles and you’re shopping for a peel. Gotta love it.

-therese

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I baked the Challah bread today. My first rise was done after only an hour and twenty minutes. I left the sencond rise a little long. I ended up making four small loaves instead of two big ones because I owe a few friends favors. This turned out so well They now owe me! This recipe was much easire than I anticipated. Maybe that's because I used the KA for all kneading.

The bread was really soft with great mouth feel. My son ate half a loaf and told me to save the other half because he will definitely want it.

Maybe after we try both the brioche recipes, can we work on pie crust? I've never been able to get that right...

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Maybe after we try both the brioche recipes, can we work on pie crust? I've never been able to get that right...

I really like the pie crust recipes in The Best Recipe - they use a combination of butter and shortening.

I'd love to try an open-crumb country bread sometime. Everyone I've tried to make is incredibly dense - maybe a different recipe and some other folks' ideas will help.

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Isn't it funny how once you start baking bread, you get hooked?  You start out baking a simple loaf of white bread and before you know it you have three different types of flour in your cupboard, your oven's lined with quarry tiles and you’re shopping for a peel.  Gotta love it.

This describes me exactly!

Anyway, I made challah tonight. Just took it out of the oven, actually. If it tastes as good as it looks, I'll be very happy. Isn't it huge? And there's another in the freezer I now have only to defrost and bake.

f9d5ed81.jpg

I did the kneading by hand, and put some foil over it halfway thru the bake, as I thought it might get too dark. My rise went nice and quick, at the lower ends of the estimates in the book. I used SAF-instant yeast again, and I think I'll keep using it because I have a big box of it and it removes a waiting period from the recipes-- although figuring out what 75% of 1 1/2 tablespoons is (as the book suggests) can be a bit of a drag.

Will anyone else post pictures?

Next project? Let's hear it. I picked challah. We had a request for brioche. Is that too similar to challah? Tell us what you think.

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Brioche is fine for me although I've made it several times before. I do want to try the twice-baked brioche. I'm in the process of making the brioche from Sherry Yard's Secrets of Baking, but it's taking forever to rise. My house is cold, but I put it in the still warm dishwasher and it was still sluggish. Oh well, if it ever rises, at least it should have lots of flavour from that long, slow rise. I bought and used a new bag of SAF instant yeast yesterday, but I'm now wondering how long it's been on the store shelf.

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I looked at the double-baked brioche this morning, and it looks pretty good to me too. I'm not sure that I can get to it this coming weekend, though-- I'm very busy at work this week (I happen to be at work now :angry: ), and it might spill over into the weekend. Then again, I might need enough of a break to make a little relaxing brioche!

When do folks want to make it, if that's what we're making?

By the way, I single-handedly ate about half of my loaf of challah this morning, but I'd give it a B+. I wish I'd eaten it while it was still warm, but to do that I would had to have eaten it at about 3:30 a.m. I think I overcooked it by about 5 minutes. The bottom crust was a little thicker than I would have liked, and the crumb was a touch drier than I think it should have been. Still, it was very good. If I hadn't heard such great things about the recipe here I wouldn't have been at all dissappointed. My expectations were very high. Next time, I'll get it right.

Edit: and I meant to add that pie crust and country bread are good for upcoming projects, too. And let's not forget pastries and cakes! I should mention that I also made sourdough this weekend, and it was a spectacular failure, as I could have predicted when I couldn't find a place to revive Jackal10's starter at the right temperature. It looked sluggish, and probably could have used another whole day with a new feeding, but I was determined to make bread in spite of the warning signs, and so I got what I asked for: a loaf that barely rose, with the density of a brick.


Edited by SethG (log)

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Will anyone else post pictures?

Next project?  Let's hear it.  I picked challah.  We had a request for brioche.  Is that too similar to challah?  Tell us what you think.

It is such a perfect day to bake here, snowing like crazy, I decided to make the challah and a big pot of french onion soup. The bread's about ready to go into the oven, so, if I can figure out how to post a pic ,:raz: I sure will! No problems with it so far. *knocks on wood* I also did all my kneading by hand.

--therese

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I ordered "Baking with Julia" from Amazon over a week ago, but it still hasn't arrived. :angry: I still want to try the challah (I haven't baked bread in years), I'll just be a little late, nothing new. Hopefully by the time the next project is chose, my book will be here. BTW -- I would opt for a bread that is not sweet for the next round. When I get the book and look through it, I'll put in my suggestion. :smile:

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I've been making this recipe for about 3 months now.....ever since I got the book!

I divided the recipe into 3rds, for 2/3 for 2 loaves and the last 1/3 for rolls. 1/3 of the recipe makes 6 rolls (weighed out to ~3oz ea before baking). I experimented with 3 and rolled them in a cinnamon & sugar mix. I was not even prepared for what nirvana I was in store for! :wub:

Here's a picture of one of my loaves and 2 of the 6 rolls.

challah.jpg

I'm up for whatever is next! Should we post these pictures on the Atkin's link? :)

(edited for cheeky comment!)


Edited by ChzHead (log)

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Wow, those pictures look beautiful. My challah will be made on Tuesday - the only free day I have this week.

Baking With Julia is a gorgeous book. Makes me wonder why I've never bought it. There's a gingerbread cake recipe that I'm dying to try.

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Mine loaves just came out of the oven. Can't wait for them to cool, so I can eat it! I've never made challah before. The recipe worked like a charm for me in terms of timing. My braiding was better on the second loaf then the first, but I am overall pleased. Can't wait for our next assignment.

Tried to post pic, but it is not working the way I think it should! :wink:


Edited by brngckn (log)

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brn (may I call you brn?),

How are you trying to post the pic? I haven't used imageGullet, but I understand you need to compress the image before you try to upload it. I just host pics on Imagestation.com, and if you need help with that you should PM me.

ChzHead: lookin' good! Your loaf's much more evenly shaped than mine was.

Edit: and Heather, I find myself taking the book off the shelf all the time just to flip through all the pictures. The book is so nicely produced.


Edited by SethG (log)

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I made it today also. I made one change..used 1/3 cup honey, plus the tablespoon rather than the white sugar. It's chilly in the house so I put the dough in a big bowl with a cover and set that into another bowl full of probably too hot water. Pretty straightforward. Made one 4 braid, one 6 braid and two little teeny 6 braids for the kids. Had me wishing I had a digital camera so I could pose the terriers behind these 4 inch long braids with a caption "No oven bang here. Note giant Westies in background about to pounce on warm bread." The kids actually asked if the stuff was edible because I've been known to leave little knotted rolls on the table at Bertucci's.

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