August 27, 2007

Challah Bread

Someone asked for the recipes of all the food I'm making for our Biblical Feast Sept. 14. Well, I don't really have any recipes except for the bread and dessert, and I'm still playing around with the dessert. I just wing it and know what tastes good on the other foods. I wanted to post pictures of my bread that I made last week. It's a six strand braid and really neat looking. Since it is so traditional, I really wanted to make this way of braiding work. I found directions for it here.

This is the first loaf- it braided just right, but still not the 'football' shape I wanted. It's all in how you taper the ends of each piece of dough. I forgot to take a picture of the second one that did turn our like it was supposed to before it was baked.

Here's the same loaf after it's baked. I brushed it with egg and sprinkled it with poppy seeds.

And here is the one that did what I wanted- tapered at the ends and fatter in the middle. I want it to look just right because it will be the centerpiece of each table. Now I only have to make about 6 more!!!

This is the recipe I used for these two loaves. I found it at
2 1/2 cups warm water (110
degrees F/45 degrees C)
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1/2 cup honey
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 eggs
1 tablespoon salt
8 cups unbleached all-purpose
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
1. In a large bowl, sprinkle yeast over barely warm water. Beat in honey, oil, 2 eggs, and salt. Add the flour one cup at a time, beating after each addition, graduating to kneading with hands as dough thickens. Knead until smooth and elastic and no longer sticky, adding flour as needed. Cover with a damp clean cloth and let rise for 1 1/2 hours or until dough has doubled in bulk.
2. Punch down the risen dough and turn out onto floured board. Divide in half and knead each half for five minutes or so, adding flour as needed to keep from getting sticky. Divide each half into thirds and roll into long snake about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Pinch the ends of the three snakes together firmly and braid from middle. Either leave as braid or form into a round braided loaf by bringing ends together, curving braid into a circle, pinch ends together. Grease two baking trays and place finished braid or round on each. Cover with towel and let rise about one hour.
3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
4. Beat the remaining egg and brush a generous amount over each braid. Sprinkle with poppy seeds if desired.
5. Bake at 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) for about 40 minutes. Bread should have a nice hollow sound when thumped on the bottom. Cool on a rack for at least one hour before slicing.


Molly said...

If you want it to be prefectly football shaped, don't braid from one end to the other. Start the braid in the middle and braid to one end, then turn the pan around and braid from the middle to the other end.

Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Your bread looks beautiful! The Biblical Feast is going to be a huge hit!

Thanks for posting the recipe. Any others you can post would be so appreciated - especially the Lentil Soup and Lamb!

Take care

sarah said...

I tried your recipe, but didn't do the braiding. My two (large) loafs turned out beautiful! The best looking (and tasting) bread I've ever made! Yum! Thanks for the recipe! :)

Anneatheart said...

Molly- I have braided bread dough that way before, but not with 6 strands. That sounds kind of hard!

Sarah- yes the bread gets HUGE! Glad the recipe worked well for you- I hate sticky dough but I guess it's worth it in the end.

I plan to take pictures of the preparations and the actual feast and put them up. There sure is a lot going on so I don't know for sure. I still have two weeks!