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Challah At Your Girl

January 13, 2010

My friends on Twitter know that I’ve been talking about baking challah nonstop.  I can’t help it.  I’ve struggled so much with yeast breads, and this one hasn’t failed me yet.  This recipe is from Cooking Light, but it’s not missing any flavor.  I made it for four different Christmas-type events and at each one, it was gobbled up. I’ve been making it to eat at home at least once a week. This photo is of a single batch I made, split into two loaves.

The ingredients are fairly straightforward, although it calls for bread flour, which I had to buy specifically for this. In addition to the bread flour, you’ll need yeast, water, salt, butter, two eggs, and honey. The recipe also calls for saffron (for color) and poppy seeds, which, eh, use ’em if you got ’em, but I didn’t make a special trip to get them.  Plus, I use gorgeous free-range eggs from Prairie Grass Farms that have such rich, dark, orange yolks, that the bread still gets a nice yellow color even without the saffron. Sidenote: if you can get eggs from a local farmer, do so.  Honestly, you can see and, more importantly, taste the difference. I get mine from Prairie Grass at Local Harvest Grocery or a farmer’s market in season.

Don’t get me wrong, this is time consuming–easy, but time consuming.  The dough has to rest or rise five times.  Yes, FIVE MUHFUCKING TIMES. If you think you’re going to whip this up for dinner, you are probably wrong unless you like to eat at 11 PM. So, this might be a weekend project if you don’t work from home in your sweatpants.  But trust me, it’s worth it. There is also a part where you need to knead the dough for eight minutes, but I just used my ancient mixer with dough hooks with no noticeable problems.

Inside the light brown egg-washed crust is a yeasty, chewy crumb that is perfect warmed with a little butter or jam. You will not regret making it. My only advice would be to be patient with the rising; while it’s time-consuming, it’s worth it. It just might be your new favorite bread.

One Comment leave one →
  1. christine permalink
    January 13, 2010 9:26 am

    The loaf you gave me was excellent…The small part I wrestled away from Joe’s clutches, at least!

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