October 8, 2009

Challah (Braided Bread)

When this bread was taking the first 2-hour rise, I took Ethan to a nearby park. There I met a little girl, Heather, who was playing around Ethan's swing.

Heather: (pointing at Ethan) He baby!

Me: Yes, his name is Ethan, he's a baby. How old are you?

Heather: Two and a half.

Me: What's your name?

Heather: (biting on a chocolate chip cookie) Heather.

Me: Oh, that's a pretty name, Heather.

Heather: My mom at home......do nothing.

I wanted to burst out laughing, but I instead smiled thinking probably the babysitter took her to the park.

Heather: She make cookies, so I have cookies to eat when I play.

Me: Oh, wow, the cookies must be very delicious.

Heather: (nodding her head) Yes, I love my mommy. And I love my daddy.

That's why you never understand how kids think, but you want to think like they do.

When I looked at this recipe from Patty's blog, I was really freaked out about the lengthy rising time. I was all "Three and a half hours? Are your serious, Patty?" Then, I just gave it a 'wait", and the bread turned out to be the best I've ever made. It's been hanging on my kitchen counter for 3 days now, the inside still stays soft. The wait was totally worth it.

(makes one big loaf)
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 and 1/4 tsp active yeast
1/3 cup sugar
1 1/4 tsp salt
2 large eggs, plus 1 egg separated (reserve the egg white for the egg wash)
4 tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1/2 cup of room temperature water, plus 1 tablespoon (for egg wash)

In the standing mixer, add the 1/2 cup of water and yeast.  Let sit for 10 mins, or until you see foam at the top.

In a medium sized bowl, mix 3 cups of flour, sugar and salt.

Once the foam has settled on top,  add the two eggs, the egg yolk and melted butter.  Using the paddle attachment, mix the liquid ingredients until combined.

Switch to the dough hook.  Turn mixer on to low and slowly add flour until a ball of dough forms.  Mix on low for about 5 mins, adding the remaining 1/4 cup of flour a tablespoon at time to prevent the dough from completely sticking to the sides of the bowl.  The ball of dough should ultimately form itself around the dough hook.

Place the dough in a lightly oiled large bowl.  Cover the bowl with a lightly damped tea towel and let rise in a warm place for 2 hours.

Gently deflate the dough, cover it and let rise again for 1 hour.

Move the dough to a lightly floured surface.  Divide the dough into three long pieces and braid them together to make the traditional looking challah bread.

Let bread sit in a warm, dry place for another 30 mins.

Preheat oven to 375F.  Mix the egg white and the 1 tablespoon of water to create an egg wash.  Lightly brush the egg wash over the challah bread.

Bake for 30 mins on rack in the middle of the oven. Remove from oven once bread is golden brown on top.


MaryMoh said...

Well done for making such a love loaf of bread. Having to wait so long, I can still go shopping....hehe. I love homemade bread. It's superior in flavour & texture. Most important there's no preservatives or additives....just simple ingredients.

Divina Pe said...

That's really cute. And your bread looks fantastic. Sometimes I try to rush things too but it ends up not the way I want it.

TasteHongKong said...

This is a good assignment for tomorrow, Saturday.

Miriam said...

The bread looks stunning and indeed it's more or less a rule-of-thumb: the longer the proofing, the better the quality.

Jessie said...

I would love to make challah bread someday. It does seem like an easy recipe.

I always take my time when making things because if not I end up making a mistake or forgetting to add something to a dish.

Blackswan said...

Love to cook but wish I could bake. Haven't tried baking in years. Looking at this, I hope to get an oven soon :)

Simply Life said...

WOW, this bread looks AMAZING!!!!

Fearless Kitchen said...

That's a really cute story. I haven't gotten around to making challah yet, but I can tell you it makes a great French toast! Your recipe looks great.

Patty said...

Wow! Thanks Lululu for trying the Challah Bread recipe. Your bread looks absolutely gorgeous and delectable! I love it because it is stress free and absolutely delicious. In case your visitors would like to see a few process photos, here is the link! http://www.zomppa.com/2009/09/15/holla-challah-language-of-love/

wasabi prime said...

Beautiful -- so wonderful when it's fresh and even when it starts to get a little stale after a few days, it's the BEST for French Toast or a bread pudding. YUM -- your family is so lucky to have you as the in-house baker!

Josephine said...

The bread looks so BEAUTIFUL! I wish I could live closed to you and ask u all about cooking and bakery.

Fresh Local and Best said...

What a precious conversation! The bread looks BEAUTIFUL!

My Man's Belly said...

I've been in the mood to bake some bread, but like you, I didn't want to wait for the proofing. You've inspired me to just do it.

Anonymous said...

Your challah is gorgeous! Bookmarking the recipe, will be trying it soon!

KennyT said...

FL, I'd like to see how the bread was braided. *^_^*

ncl117 said...

this looks so good. i love making homemade bread - with my breadmaker I haven't bought store bought bread in over 6 months!

Anna said...

I saw your bread in the morning it looks so pretty I spent the whole day thinking about it.... I'm such a sucker for breads.
And it doesn't look difficult to make. I should definitely try this one.

Helene said...

That is a nice braided bread. There is nothing like homemade.

Dhanggit said...

this is perfect for breakfast with home-made jams!!

Susan Harris-Kennedy said...

This bread does make great French Toast, especially with bananas and powder sugar and cinnamon. Your bread makes me want to fix some right now and it is 3:30 in the morning. OK, just a bit of a sleeping disorder I would say!

Family Cuisine Food And Recipe said...

Cutie and yummy ! Thank you for sharing. Cheers !

pierre said...

hello this is pierre from Paris ; we love this kinf ob bread brioche here bravo ! and if you like pistaccios come and see my chef dessert !! Pierre

Miranda said...

Wow. Challah is an amazing bread. This looks so terrific. Great job!!!

Anncoo said...

This looks perfect for breakfast with a cup of nice coffee!

Angie's Recipes said...

Beautiful braided eggy bread.
Angie's Recipes

Liz Marr, MS, RD said...

I love challah. And if there is ever any left the next day (not typical in my house), it makes the best french toast.

Olive said...

love talking to little kids too, they make me smile :)
your bread is wonderful, I've never tried making one myself except for cinnamon rolls, if that counts, but I would really love to try it someday soon..

Looking forward to photos of Ethan's 1st bday!

Katie said...

I made my first Challah recently. I just love this bread!

CheapAppetite said...

hahaha, I love that girl, Heather. She's so genuine. "My mom at home... do nothing" line is golden. Your breaded bread looks really great. Awesome work lululu.

alison said...

i never made challah,it's a little art to make this,and i 'm not capable to do this...it's a wonderful post!

Chow and Chatter said...

oh wow love this oh and would you like the salmon recipe to be featured on a seafood blog I write with a link back to you?

rebeccasubbiah at yahoo dot com