Week 6 of the The Bread Baker’s Apprentice was CHALLAH! To give you a little background, Challah is the braided Sabbath bread of Judaism. According to Peter Reinhart, Challah “is a European celebratory loaf symbolic of God’s goodness and bounty. The braids traditionally separate the loaf into twelve distinct sections representing the twelve tribes of Israel.” It’s always fascinating to me to know the history behind something. Makes it more meaningful, doesn’t it?
I’ll save you the suspense because I just can’t stand it and just tell you that I LOVED THIS BREAD! It is by far my favorite thus far. I know I practically say that every week but this bread was dee-lish! It was not only beautiful to look at but incredibly beautiful to eat. It was glowing golden brown on the outside & It was light and airy inside and practically floated down your throat. Definitely a centerpiece bread.
Did I mention that it was made in 1 day? Marta actually did more work than I did. Big thank you to Marta! The dough was soft & pliable not at all sticky & all those years of braiding Miss Priss’ hair came in handy with this braided loaf. There are several different versions: a single braid, double braid, or curled into a round loaf. I chose the safe route & went with the single braid. Perhaps in challenges to come I’ll spread my wings & tackle a double braid.
I actually might, dare I say, be getting used to this baking stuff. My boule’s (fancy schmancy talk for a ball) are starting to look more like, well, balls and I’m getting more accustomed to weighing, checking temperatures and yes, waiting. Might I be going over to the baking side? Fear not my cooking friends, I am just learning the baking ropes.
From my experience with Artos — remember that GIANT loaf of deliciousness? I decided to wise up this time around and go with two smaller loaves – which were not small at all. They were the perfect size. I had originally planned on sharing these with the neighbors but it was eaten much too quickly (sorry girls). Luckily this was a fairly easy bread to make (perfect for a novice like me) so I’ll definitely be conquering it again & hopefully this time it will make it around the cul-de-sac!
Dry Ingriedients : King Arthur Bread Flour, Yeast, Sugar & Salt
Wet ingriedients: Farm Fresh Eggs, Oil, & Water. Added to dry ingriedients.
Mixed together and voila, dough!
Look at Marta go! Dough is perfectly kneaded!
Oiled up & ready to rise!
All puffed up and proud.
Divided & formed into 6 perfect little boules (again fancy schmancy for balls).
Rolled out & braided oh so sweetly & ready to rise…
Risen! Given an oh so light egg wash & sprinkled with pretty poppy seeds!
Sneak peek: Next week’s challenge Ciabatta! Evviva (hooray)! I’m sure that will be my new favorite, of course, it’s Italian!
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