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Thursday, May 7, 2009

Challah Back!

Have you ever seen that awesome t-shirt that says "Challah Back?" It's the coolest thing, and I want one so bad, but all the shirts I can find online look super cheesy. And most have a picture of challah looking like either a turd or sometimes even a chunk of an illegal herb we won't discuss here... If anyone ever finds a cute "Challah Back" shirt, let me know!

Anyway! When I made those Margarita Cupcakes for Cinco de Mayo, they left me with 8 egg yolks in the fridge. I'm not a big fan of waste, so I googled "8 egg yolks" and started searching for a recipe. After seeing WAY too many recipes for creme brulee, custard this, custard that, I was SO happy when I found a bread recipe! I found the recipe on Brown Eyed Baker (super cute blog, go check it out). It originally comes from Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook. I have that book, so I was super excited to make this recipe! AND it's the first thing I get to check off on my 100 list!

I was slightly hesitant about baking this version of Challah, only because all the other Challah I've seen was a nice golden brown. This particular recipe makes a VERY dark loaf because of all the egg yolks in the recipe. I'm not a fan of "dark" baking, but I really wasn't in the mood to make custard, so what else was I gonna do with those egg yolks?? I'm glad I made the bread! It was actually very easy to make, even the braiding was quite simple. It didn't smell so nice in the oven. It smelled pretty much like burning egg yolks. But once it cooled and I sliced into it... Oh boy! It tastes wonderful. I don't like the crust at all. But this bread makes a terrific peanut butter and jelly sammich with the crusts cut off! :D Oh, did I mention that this Challah is MAMMOTH! It's literally about as long as my arm! I have a feeling I'll be making The Pioneer Woman's bread pudding soon! ;D
Getting ready...Nice, round dough ball before the first rise...
Notice the scale... scales are your friend!!!
Is it just me or do these ropes look like the graboids from the movie Tremors??
Before the second rise...
After second rise...
HELLOOOO GIANT CHALLAH!!
Mmmm... doesn't it look yummy?
Challah (from Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook)
Makes one 18-inch loaf

1 1/2 pounds bread flour (about 4 1/2 cups), plus more for dusting
3/4 ounce fresh yeast (I used 1 envelope rapid-rise yeast)
1/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon coarse salt
1/4 cup vegetable oil, plus more for bowl, plastic wrap, and baking sheet
1 cup water
8 large egg yolks, plus 1 large whole egg

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine the flour, yeast, sugar, honey, salt, vegetable oil, egg yolks, and 1 cup water. Mix on low speed until the dough is smooth and stiff with a slight sheen, 8 to 10 minutes.

Turn the dough onto a lightly floured work surface, and knead to make sure any loose bits are incorporated. Fold in the following manner: Fold the bottom third of the dough up, the top third down, and the right and left sides over, tapping the dough and flip it over, seam side down. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with oiled plastic wrap, and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour. Brush an unrimmed baking sheet with vegetable oil or line with parchment paper. Set aside.

Return the dough to a lightly floured work surface, and divide into three equal pieces. Roll each piece into an 18-inch log, and place the logs parallel to one another; pinch the ends together at the top. Weave the three strands into a tight braid, tugging gently as you go. Press the ends together to seal. Place loaf on the prepared sheet. Loosely cover with oiled plastic wrap, and let rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly beat the remaining whole egg and brush gently but thoroughly over loaf, making sure to cover any seams and crevices. Bake until the crust is dark brown, 50 to 60 minutes (Mine was 197°F after only 30 minutes! Watch the bread closely!). The bread should reach an internal temperature of 190°F on an instant-read thermometer, and should have a hollow sound when tapped on the bottom. Transfer the bread to a wire rack to cool completely before slicing. Bread can be wrapped in plastic and kept at room temperature for up to 3 days.

37 comments:

icook said...

Challah makes the BEST french toast EVER. Seriously!! I worked at a Jewish Day School for 3 years, and miss eating this bread every Friday!

Cera said...

It looks amazing! I'll have to try it sometime!

veggievixen said...

i looooove making challah! i found a fantastic vegan recipe online and make it all the time!

manicdote said...

GORGEOUS!

Eliana said...

I love using challah for bread pudding and french toast. But I'm so scared of making my own bread.

Sara said...

Your challah looks perfect! I've had my eye on this recipe for a while, glad it came out well for you.

Erin said...

What a beautiful braid! I love challah bread.

Amanda said...

Several things:

You will not be disappointed by the Pioneer Woman's bread pudding. It is amazing.

I have never heard this "challah back" thing, but I'm totally working it into my daily vocab.

Finally, huge blog high-five for referencing Tremors in a post about challah!

Courtney said...

Challah makes the BEST french toast ;)

Snooky doodle said...

oh this challah . surely looks so good :) No wasting here for sure

A Slice of Concentrated Love said...

Good job. Very good braid. Looks very good. But my baking instructor said bread only needs to reach 180 internal temp. Hmmmm....

A Slice of Concentrated Love said...

P.S. If you find a good "Challah Back" tee I want one too!

Dajana said...

I would probably make a mountain of cookies, with those yolks - and then I'd trade them for this bread. Looks really great.

Anonymous said...

It's beautiful. You make it look so easy.

Mermaid Sweets said...

Dang CASSIE that looks soooo good.

Paris Pastry said...

Looks wonderful! I love your book holder! I sooo need that :)

Avanika [YumsiliciousBakes] said...

I've never made challah before, but that looks great. Congratulations on beginning to work through your list.
Oh and I love your book stand. I wish I had one of those :(

thereddeer said...

mmm looks great!! I have always been a little bit afraid of baking bread - I might have to try it out one day. Maybe once I get my new oven :P

Happy cook said...

Wow challah looks beautiful, may i have few slices.

Treehouse Chef said...

This bread looks so gorgeous in your photos!! I am so impressed with the braiding. It is perfect!!! Thanks for sharing. I love this type of bread smothered in butter!

MJ said...

oo this looks so good! I will DEF have to make this sometime!

Heather said...

i love how yours looks exaclty like the one in the book.

MarcieF said...

This looks exactly like the challah I grew up eating. I can't wait to try the recipe for myself.

Also, as I'm sure you know, challah makes the best french toast!

Ash said...

I have the baking handbook!!! I think I've tried maybe a dozen so far out of it! Such a good book and you're bread turned out fab!!

dlb said...

This looks great. I can't believe how pretty it turned out! Yum!

Stef said...

Challah is my weakness! I have a big loaf of it now in our kitchen. I haven't made it in years though. Yours looks great!

StefanieB said...

Looks amazing. You should try making french toast out of some.

I'm pretty sure I would not step outside my house or onto a floor that connected directly to the ground for two days after watching Tremors...

YSLGuy said...

There is nothing better than a good challah bread and yours looks amazing!!!

Jude said...

So evenly braided and browned. Can't help but think of Gwen Stefani while reading your blog post.

Natalie... said...

Mmmm wow this looks so so good!

Jodi said...

I love this bread! :D

Stacey said...

Wow that turned out so beautiful! I bet it was delicious!

jodye said...

I second the french toast comment - I used to make challah french toast all the time. Your loaf looks perfect!

dessertobsessed said...

oooh i love challah! especially smothered in nutella; yum! they make good bread for fluffernutter sandwiches too!

♥Rosie♥ said...

Challah looks beautiful - mmmm would love a slice to toast.....

Michelle said...

Your loaf is just gorgeous! Nice, tight braid. I too thought it was a tad too dark, but the bread was fabulous. It makes a great french toast too! :)

Ingrid said...

You're amazing! I love your no fear, jump right in baking attitude!

Your challah looks terrific!
~ingrid