Ah, Challah!

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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!

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Dry Ingriedients : King Arthur Bread Flour, Yeast, Sugar & Salt

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Wet ingriedients: Farm Fresh Eggs, Oil, & Water. Added to dry ingriedients.

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Mixed together and voila, dough!

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Look at Marta go! Dough is perfectly kneaded!

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Oiled up & ready to rise!

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All puffed up and proud. challah5_wm

Divided & formed into 6 perfect little boules (again fancy schmancy for balls).

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Rolled out & braided oh so sweetly & ready to rise…

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Risen!  Given an oh so light egg wash & sprinkled with pretty poppy seeds!

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Sneak peek: Next week’s challenge Ciabatta! Evviva (hooray)! I’m sure that will be my new favorite, of course, it’s Italian!

If you liked this post, I’d appreciate a stumble! *wink wink* ;)

33 Comments

  1. 1

    I’ve never had any, but I’m definitely curious to try some.
    And I definitely like to learn about history of particular dishes, it gives a different point of view to the things you eat.

    • 1.1

      Ciao Dajana! This was my first time having Challah bread & it was so fabulous! I can’t wait to make it again!

  2. 2

    The crust came out lovely. Awesome!

    • 2.1

      Thanks so much Jenn! It had a beautiful crust & crumb! It melted in your mouth straight out of the oven!

  3. 3

    Your challah looks beautiful!!!! Just try a slice as french toast, you’ll never go back!

    • 3.1

      Thanks Mara! We did :) Hubs made some this morning with the leftover loaf & oh me oh my! I HAVE to make this one again!

  4. 4

    VERY nice! Great photos.
    Great baking along with you,
    Susie

    • 4.1

      Thanks Susie! Great baking along with you as well! I’m having a great time & learning SO much!

  5. 5

    That is some mighty good looking braided challah you got going on here. Your dough ended up a lot, ah, yellower than mine. Must be differences in yolk and maybe flour colour. Or maybe just the lighting. Hmm. Mine is currently on its last rise before baking.

    • 5.1

      Hi Laurie! Thank you so much. I used King Arthur Bread Flour & I try to always use farm fresh eggs. I hope you loved yours as much we loved ours!

  6. 6

    Looks so delicious!

    • 6.1

      Thanks Mathilde! I really enjoyed this one. It is by far my favorite bread I’ve made thus far!

  7. 7

    oh how i love challah too! :) and the things you can do the original recipe is endless! i made one this week too and the recipe called to make a big braid and then a smaller one to be put on top. when baked, it fuses together and becomes massive. made for great sandwiches. any leftovers would be awesome as french toast.

    • 7.1

      Ciao Lan! I’m sure yours was gorgeous! We had the option of doing a double braid but I decided to take the safe route LOL I’m sure yours was a show stopper. Maybe soon I’ll be brave enough to try the double. & Oh my goodness, we made french toast this morning with the leftover loaf and it divine! Not a crumb left!

  8. 8
    Juliann Mathews /

    Looks scrumptious! It’s right up there with the brioche, as far as flavor goes. Don’t be afraid of the double braid – piece of cake! That’s the one I used to make while trying to woo that “special boy” in middle school. Go for it!

    • 8.1

      Thanks Juliann! Mwah! Okay you’ve convinced me, I’ll give the double braid a go next time around ;) Looking forward to Ciabatta next week (now to decide which version to make – decisions, decisions, decisions LOL)

  9. 9

    Beautiful! I’m a huge fan of challah too ;)

  10. 10

    Another great bread! I must make this one too…………it looks as wonderful as your description of it!

    • 10.1

      Thank you! I don’t think you’ll be disappointed! It was quite tasty & fairly, dare I say, easy to make :)

  11. 11

    Gorgeous! I am really looking forward to baking that this weekend. I am also thinking of making two smaller loaves, but that’s because I couldn’t decide between topping the challah with poppy or sesame seeds. :)

    • 11.1

      Thanks Haley! I think the 2 loaves turned out to be the perfect size loaves! What a great idea to top them with different seeds!

  12. 12

    Loving the bread! I used to make something similar but I wasn’t a proper baker so I would be making a lot of it up as I went along. The photos really help here though to explain it to people :)

  13. 13

    Mmmm…I love challah. I put up a post pretty recently with my sister in law’s challah recipe. Yours look good too!

  14. 14
    Christy Broxton /

    Mara ~ i totally agree! I was at Paula’s this morning for b’fast and we had Challah french toast! Delish!!

    Grazie, Paula!

  15. 15

    Thanks for such kind comments and concern :) FRENCH TOAST with leftovers!!!

  16. 16

    Fantastic! What gorgeous bread.

  17. 17

    Looks gorgeous!

  18. 18

    Ok. What am I missing?! Where is the recipe?!???!

  19. 19
    Rodger Slater /

    As a baker trained in a Jewish Bakery in Denver I made a lot of Challa. Question, other that the braides representing the 12 tribes is there any other history to the braids. The bakery in Denver made all 3 braid, but other shops make 4 braid Challa, 6 braid Challa. Can you help me on this?

  20. 20

    I also made Challah recently for the first time – I used the Artisan Bread in 5 minutes a day recipe (I still have Peter Reinhart’s on my to do list) – it was so good. I keep thinking about making it again and again, but how will I try new bread recipes then? Your Challah looks beautiful! Take a look at mine, if you like: http://cookingrookie.blogspot.com/2010/01/challah-in-5-minutes-day.html

  21. 21
    Christi /

    Hello,

    Am I crazy? Is the recipe hiding? I can’t find it at all. Could you tell me where it is, or email it to me? Yours looks so so lovely.

    Thank you

  22. 22
    Charles /

    And there’s no measurements because…?

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

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