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Okay, so I went on a bit of a challah making craze. Over the week while I was on vacation I made 3 batches of challah yielding a total of 6 loaves.
You may recall a few weeks ago I made my first challah for our Bread Baking Day roundup. I used Peter Reinhardt’s recipe from Bread Baker’s Apprentice, and at the time I was pretty pleased with the results.
However, I wanted to do some experimenting to deepen the flavor and I also wanted to try some other braiding besides the 3 strand braid.
So I set out again, still using Peter Reinhardt’s recipe, except that I incorporated a preferment so the challah would have the richer flavor that I am used to. I also doubled the salt because my first loaves were a bit on the bland side.
Overall I was very pleased with the outcome. The flavor was absolutely better and richer, and I was able to achieve a deeper golden crust as well by using a whole egg as the egg wash instead of just egg whites as Reinhardt calls for. I was also very happy with the way the 5 braid looked.
recipe adapted from The Bread Baker’s Apprentice: Mastering the Art of Extraordinary Bread by Peter Reinhart
Makes 1 large loaf
For the preferment:
For the loaf:
To make a 5 braid challah - divide the dough into 5 equal balls. Shape into boules and let rest for 10 minutes covered. Then roll the balls into long strands to a reasonable length. Now you are ready to braid. Follow the instructions for braiding in the video below. I am not even going to attempt to talk this one out for you.
Here is my preferment, bubbling away. I love the smell of fermenting yeast in the morning.
And my loaves all braided and ready to go. I doubled this recipe to make 2 large loaves.
So my braiding technique could use some practice, but it really wasn’t hard to do. The loaf in the front is not very uniform. It gets a little too short and stubby at the bottom. That is the piece I cut off for tasting. I need to work on getting the top and bottom uniformly tight.
This one was more uniform but it was very curvy, almost like an S. I think actually this is the one that my mom braided. Let’s just call these rustic challah, shall we?
I think we both did a good job for our first time doing a more complicated braid.
As you can tell, this was much improved from the first challah below:
This post is being submitted to this weeks Yeastspotting on Wildyeastblog