May’s Daring Bakers’ Challenge was pretty twisted – Ruth from The Crafts of Mommyhood challenged us to make challah! Using recipes from all over, and tips from “A Taste of Challah,” by Tamar Ansh, she encouraged us to bake beautifully braided breads.
From the original instructions, Ruth gave us the option of 3 recipes. I chose "Ruth's Go-To Whole Wheat Challah", which included the hearty and wholesome ingredients of wheat flour and oats.
Challah requires braiding of the dough. Ruth generously provided us with plenty of video tutorials on how to achieve a perfectly weaved dough.
For me, the braiding looked like it would be the most difficult part of the challenge. Of the several braid options, I chose the 4 strand braid. Fortunately, with the aid of the visuals, in conjunction with repeated practice on my daughter, A's hair, I was able to be conquer the task of the twist.
The dough was supple and elastic, yet robust and resilient. At one point, "A" was holding the base of my very sturdy electric mixer once the dough spiralled into a ball, and, she, along with my heavy duty machine jounced away in my kitchen- bread making and merrymaking all in one.
A good 15 minutes after settling the loaves into the heated oven, your home will be seized with the delightful scent of a fine bakery, a most invitingly bready embrace.
All in all, it was a very satisfying experience, bringing with it a sense of accomplishment for even the most bread challenged among us.
I enjoyed making challah and most probably will be trying my hand at sourdough.
Thank you Ruth for this wonderful challenge. The recipes along with her precise tutelage helped in bringing about a blissful bread making adventure .
Whole Wheat Challah
(source: The Daring Bakers' Challah challenge /Ruth's Go-To Whole Wheat Recipe)
- 2 packages (4½ teaspoons) dry yeast
- 1 cup warm water (100°F)
- 3 large eggs
- ½ cup brown sugar, firmly packed
- ½ cup (one stick) unsalted butter, softened
- 2 tsp salt
- 2 cups whole wheat flour
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- ½ cup rolled oats (old fashioned work just fine)
- 1/2 to 1 cup flour for kneading
- 1 egg beaten plus 1 tsp water to glaze loaves
- In the bowl of your stand mixer, dissolve yeast in warm water. Allow to stand about 5 minutes until creamy/foamy.
- With paddle attachment beat eggs, sugar, butter, salt, whole wheat flour, all purpose flour and oats into the yeast mixture. If by hand, combine eggs and butter with yeast mixture until well mixed. Add flours, salt and oats and mix until it becomes difficult to mix.
- Once combined, switch to the dough hook and knead for 5 to 10 minutes until smooth and elastic, adding flour (for kneading) as/if needed. Alternately, if kneading by hand, this should take about 10-12 minutes.
- Form dough into a round, compact ball. Place in oiled bowl, cover with a kitchen towel. Let rise in warm area (maybe in the oven with the light on) until doubled, about 2 hours.
- Once dough has doubled, punch down and knead for an two minutes. Cover again with towel, allow to rise again for a minimum of 30 minutes up to an hour.
- Punch the dough down again. Divide dough in two.
- Divide each into 4 equal pieces. Shape each piece into 4 long strands (likewise 3 and 6 if you are doing the 3 strand, 6 strand).
- Weave the strands into a braided loaf.
- Repeat for the other half.
- Place shaped loaves onto parchment covered baking trays. Cover with the towel and allow to rise another hour.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Combine the one egg and water to glaze loaf.
- Brush loaves with this egg wash.
- Bake 30 to 40 min. until the loaf sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom.
- Transfer loaves to a wire rack to cool before serving.
|4 strands for the 4 strand braid|
|Fasten the long dough threads and begin from the top|
|Starting from the right: over, under, over|
|Press together and tuck both ends underneath.|
Beautiful loaf with gorgeous sheen. One of the best loaves of bread I've ever made without using a bread maker.
The texture was excellent, specks of the wheat grains and oats showing through
Not intentional that this came alongside my doughnuts post. The two yeast recipes, coupled together, should have you experienced in the joys and trials of rising and proofing.
*Update* I will also be submitting this post to YeastSpotting, an online showcase of goodies made from yeast.
“You are the light of the world - like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden." Matthew 5:13-16