Sorry for the long delay in posts...I just took my first preliminary field exam in my PhD program and I've been studying for what seems like ages. I don't know what to do with myself now that it's over! (Hmm, well, studying for the rest of my classes would likely be a good idea...) Anyway, here's catching up on some old photos:
After my success with Julia Child's French Bread, I decided to try my hand at Challah. I was looking for something buttery and delicious, but perhaps not so buttery as the brioche my mom and I made over Christmas. This recipe from Mollie Katzen fit the bill perfectly. It has hardly any butter or eggs, but still manages to taste tender and eggy and buttery without being too rich. How does she do it? I guess it is magic.
The best part of this bread: it does not take 7 hours to make! The second best part is that it makes a huge amount of bread...at first we thought it would be waaaaay too much, but somehow we managed to eat both enormous loaves in about two days. Yum!
Challah (from Mollie Katzen's The New Enchanted Broccoli Forest)
2 1/2 c wrist temperature water
1 package active dry yeast
1/2 c sugar or honey
4 T melted butter
3 eggs (1 for crust)
1 T salt
1/2 c raisins (optional)
8-9 c unbleached white flour
a little oil for the trays
poppy or sesame seeds (optional)
1. Place water in a large bowl. Sprinkle in the yeast. Beat in the sugar or honey, butter, 2 eggs, and salt with a wire whisk.
2. If using, stir in raisins. Then add flour 1 cup at a time, whisking after each addition. (Start using a wooden spoon as needed.) Knead the dough until smooth, elastic, and no longer sticky. (The recipe says you can do this in the bowl, but I found it much easier on a lightly floured surface.) Cover dough with a clean cloth and set in a warm place for 1 1/2 hours or until doubled in bulk
3. Punch down the dough and turn out onto a floured surface. Divide in half, and knead each half for about 5 minutes, adding flour if it gets a little sticky. Divide each half in thirds, roll into snakes, and bread.
4. Lightly oil two baking trays and place a finished braid on each. Cover with a towel and let rise another hour, until doubled in bulk. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375 degrees.
5. Bean the remaining egg in a small bowl. Brush a generous amount over each braid and sprinkle with seeds, if using. Bake 40 minutes or until the braids give off a hollow sound when thumped on the bottom. Cool on a rack 30 minutes before eating.
We liked the bread plain, with jam and butter, and as french toast. It was also amazing as the outside of a grilled cheese sandwich: