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Challah


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Well, ok. Generally they are round (I prefer no raisins). But I'd still like to be able to make a 6-strand braided challah.

Plus, I doubt I'll get a chance to make some before R.H. (but I'll try!) - I do have them coming in from 2 very good Jewish bakeries though (round, with and without raisins).

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You can find my recipe HERE but it's a big recipe. I'm lucky enough to have a 20 QT Hobart, so I make several to give away to friends and family.... For RH, I always make them round, with either a ladder or a bird on each ;) I'll try to take some pictures to add to the recipe for future use.

Best wishes to everyone for safe, healthy and happy.....

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I love, love, love the challah recipe in the Baking with Julia book. It's my standard recipe and it uses butter as well as honey. If anyone wants to PM me with their e-mail, I'll send you the PDF version of the hand-out I created for the challah class I taught last year at my temple. It's based on this recipe but includes some tips I've learned along the way and step by step instructions with pix for what the dough should look like at various stages and a 6-rope braid, my favorite.

Of course for Rosh Hashanah, I make a round challah -- one with raisins and one without.

Have I ever mentioned my menorah-shaped challah for Hanukkah? The hamantashen-shaped challah for Purim? Or the lulav/etrog challah for Sukkot? I think you can do just about anything except, of course, for Passover.

Edited by JFLinLA (log)
So long and thanks for all the fish.
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I agree that the recipe for challah in Baking with Julia is perfect. It is 100% the best challah recipe I have tried.

2 years ago I did it for a special group on Rosh Hashannah and everyone including the bakers loved it so much it is now in the with the breads that we serve in the restaurant. I seed it with a mix of fennel, anise, poppy, sesame and sea salt. Also we slice it very thin and toast it for the terrine of foie gras. great stuff.

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I made a trial run the other night.

I used 3cups of bread flour, 1tspn fine sea salt, two eggs, and 2tspns instant yeast, a tablespoon of vegetable oil and two tablespoons of honey with 1cup of milk. I did the bulk ferment, and folded the dough a few times. Then I divided the dough into thirds and made them into boules, per instructions in BBA.

I let these rest, then rolled them into cylinders and daughter braided them. Eggwash, then proofing, then another eggwash and sprinkling of sesame seeds and into the oven at 350F to an internal temperature of 190F. (I have noticed that egg breads are very sensitive to over baking -- they get a disagreeable smell.)

The bread came out perfect. Tight but fluffy crumb, perfect dark glossy crust color and shape. Awesome taste.

I asked my tasters if they wanted anything different and my wife said "No no no, just make them exactly the same way. It's perfect."

The color is a pale yellow and not that yellow that food coloring gives to things. I could make it more yellow by adding egg yolks but I don't think I will.

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I always get raves using the "No Knead" Challah recipe from The Spice and Spirit of Kosher Cooking. You simply mix the ingredients, cover, and let rise 2-3 hours. Then shape the challah, brush with egg, let it rise 20-30 minutes, and bake for an hour. It's a very moist, light, and fairly sweet challah.

My mother told me that her Polish grandmother would use extra dough from challah baking to make little rolls filled with onion. You take the extra dough, pat it into a flat circle, wrap it around chopped raw onion to form a ball, and brush with egg. During the baking the chopped onions get so soft it's as if they'd melted!

Editor of Take Control of Thanksgiving Dinner, a Take Control series ebook.

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  • 7 months later...

Don't ask me why, but I've experimented in recent months making challah bread. I just say, my final product has been very tasty. No problem there. One of my baking books demos how to do a 'turban' braid, where you roll the dough into 2 groups of 3 strands each. Then, with various over/under maneuvers, you end up with something very cool looking.

HERE'S MY PROBLEM THAT I NEED HELP WITH.

I egg wash the turban and set it aside to proof. Then, it goes into the oven where, of course, it continues to proof a bit until it reaches that temp where the yeast dies.

When it's done, the turban looks great, except there are parts of the braid that grew or stretched through the ovenproof/baking process and so there are parts of the top that are not as golden as the parts where I egg-washed them.

Expert bakers - please help me out! How could I change my technique to create something visually much better??

Thanks!

-Mark-

---------------------------------------------------------

"If you don't want to use butter, add cream."

Julia Child

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I agree wait until the last second put the egg wash on ...then save your leftover wash and just touch it up if needed at about half way done point ...it makes it perfect if you have put seeds on it just touch up around the seeds and sprinkle a few more on if you want

this makes the loaf look perfect

Edited by hummingbirdkiss (log)
why am I always at the bottom and why is everything so high? 

why must there be so little me and so much sky?

Piglet 

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Like they said, apply egg wash just before putting it in the oven and then again halfway thru baking. The second time focus on the sides of the braids that have poofed up and any other areas that need touching up.

Ilene

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  • 2 years later...

Well, it seems like Jewish holiday season is kicking into full swing: I've made Challah a few times recently, and I'm having a little difficulty with the texture. I fear I may be over-baking it. In Reinhart's book he's got a recipe that has a good flavor (two whole eggs and two yolks, no dairy) and his recipe says that after 40 minutes in the oven it should be at about 190°F: well, despite looking great after 40 minutes, both times I've measured it it's been more like 205°F. How long do you all generally bake your Challah? At what temp?

Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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