July 24, 2010

Challah Bread

Challah Bread!!

Not only is it fun to eat, its fun to say. "Challah!" You really can't type it with out exclamation points, nor can you say it with out the back of your throat... well... wiggling. Try it! Say "challah!" No, no, not guttural enough. Do it again, this time there should be more spit at the front of your mouth when you're done. (no, seriously). I'll wait... I'm on vacation, plenty of boredom on this end people. So now don't you feel more... Jewish? I certainly do.

ANYWAY... I'm not doing well with this boredom thing. No grad school work, I don't have spawn, already planned all my lessons for HCHS, it's been raining too much recently to go to the pool, so I'm lazily sitting at home everyday either running, watching Kathy Lee and Hoda (yikes!) or napping. Life is good.... but boring. So what do the bored do when the soap operas come on? Bake, of course!!

I used to make Challah bread when I was in middle school, so it seemed like a good afternoon activity that, after making it, I could guilelessly eat an entire loaf (having burned the calories off making it....duh).

If you've never made yeast bread, the reward is so so so worth it! Heck, the aroma of fresh bread in your house is worth it. Side note- why isn't there a 'fresh baked bread scent' from Yankee Candles yet??

The process is simple, I promise! If you want to attempt a first try with yeast bread, this is the bread to begin with.

This is what the Challah Bread is 'supposed' to look like,
but we're not all Martha, are we?

This is one of the BEST baking cookbooks out there, if you buy it, you too could be a Martha, minus the whole prison episode.

Combine the following ingredients with your fancy-shmancy dough hook (that's the attachment to your Kitchen Aid that is probably gathering a fair bit of dust)

1 1/2 lb. bread flour (4 1/2 c.)
3/4 oz. fresh yeast
1/4 c. sugar
3 T. honey
1 T. coarse salt
1/4 c. vegtable oil
8 egg yolks
1 cup water
1 whole egg (for later)

Your dough should be smooth, stiff with a slight sheen (8-10 minutes does the job).
You then kneed the dough, adding a little four as needed. Then place the dough in an oiled bowl and let it rise to double its size for an hour.

See, that wasn't hard!

Then you divide the dough into 3 sections, and braid it. Yes, braid it. No fancy french braids here though, this is a basic bread braid (try saying that 5 times).

I'd like to thank the Klutz Braid Book for this proud braid 'moment'.
This was my book when I was in elementary school.
And the braid... isn't it beautiful!?

After braiding, you let your braid rest and rise for another hour, then bake at 375 for around 50 minutes.

2 of my favorite tools to use when baking are picture below, the pie mat (the blue thing), which allows you to work with dough so that it doen'st make a mess on your counters. And my baking stone, which gives a really nice hollow sounding crust to a loaf of bread.

And here she is! To get a color like that on the crust,
you give the braid an egg wash before baking it. Goldeny-goodness.

Close up shot,
I think one of my blogger friends calls this food porn. : )

We had a few slices left over, and decided to have challah french toast for breakfast this morning. Ina Garten (see previous post), has a delicious recipe for this using quite a hefty bit of orange zest and half & half.

Soak the bread in lots and lots of fat, eggs and sugar.
Prep the pan with butter. Nope, the spray stuff won't do this time.

Sizzle the french toast in butter.

Eat with more unhealthiness.
Suggestions you ask?
How about more butter, syrup, and powdered sugar?

I feel like this would be a good point to say that I am planning my biggest run tomorrow morning, 6 miles!!! (yikes!). If I die, at least I went out with a hearty amount of braided-happiness, right? : )


  1. WOW!!!! Love it!!! Your pics are as beautiful as the bread too!!! And the Ina French Toast recipe for leftovers?? Nice :) I may have to try this since carbs are one of the few things I can eat post surgery these days :) Maybe we make a loaf at Thanksgiving!! --Adrienne

  2. Yum! Saw this and thought of you