Challah is one of the bread I had wanted to bake for a long time. It is special braided bread eaten during Jewish festivals. I know it is bread rich with lot of eggs and sugar, both of which are considered as enemies in my kitchen. This month’s daring baker’s challenge by Ruth was to make challah. So I decide to make one this time.
After studying several recipes that I found on the internet, I adapted one recipe I found in All recipes.com and made this recipe. I didn’t want to use honey, so I used maple syrup. I haven’t seen any recipe with maple syrup, but found that maple syrup is at times used as a substitute for egg wash.
I tried my recipe twice; at first I didn’t realize that making a six stranded braid is very hard, and not my cup of tea. When I did bread earlier, even after reading lots of instructions and watching lots of You Tube videos, I ended up with a braid which is unique to me. So this time when I thought of making the 6 strand braid, I kept open a You-Tube video while braiding the bread. During the process, my princess would pull out dough from the strands that I was weaving and chew on it, and the baby is crying for attention. I was twisting and turning the braid so hard that, bread looked like a badly manhandled brick. End up with ugly looking bread after baking. It came out dry because of my major efforts to form the six strands, and found a place in the garbage bin.
Two days later, my challah hangover was not gone. But I was afraid to try again and wasting whole wheat, rye flour and maple syrup. But my hubby told me not to worry about the losses and try again. At this time I came across a braiding technique from this blog. At first I made a bigger 3 braid, followed by a smaller 3 braid. Finally the smaller one is stuck on the top of bigger one. It turned out be beautiful. Even though it is not quite six stranded braided bread, I am happy with the outcome. So I am going to stick with this technique. I used Maple syrup, vegetable oil, white whole wheat flour, vital gluten and rye flour. One thing you should remember while making this bread is never ever tempted to add any flour while making the dough. Used only 2 eggs in the bread and one egg for egg wash, and for proper sticking of sesame seeds and poppy seeds in the top of bread, I found this You-Tube video, first you have to egg wash the bread, then dip the fingers in egg wash and stick the poppy seeds or sesame seeds then fingers with seeds should stuck it in the bread.
This bread was really moist, and not dried out like my earlier effort. It remained soft and moist for 3 days at room temperature. If you want a healthy challah on your table, try this recipe and it won’t disappoint you. Here goes the recipe.
Two Year ago: Vendakka Thoran/ Okra Stir Fry
Print Recipe from here
King Arthur White whole wheat flour: 2 ½ cup+ 1 tablespoon/532g
Rye flour: ½ cup/ 74g
Maple syrup:1/3 cup/92g
Large Eggs: 2no
Canola oil: ½ cp/98g
Instant yeast: 2 1/4 teaspoon/7g
Warm Water: 1cup/240ml
Salt: 1 teaspoon/5g
Vital gluten: 2 tablespoon/21g
For egg wash
Water: 1 tablespoon
White sesame seeds: 2 tablespoon
Poppy Seeds: 1 tablespoon
How I made
In the bowl of kitchen aid stand mixer with paddle attachment add white whole wheat flour, rye flour, salt, vital gluten and instant yeast and mix everything well and set aside.
In a small bowl mix, egg, oil, water and maple syrup, add this to dry ingredients and mix everything to so that it come very sticky dough.
Change to dough hook and knead the dough for about 8 minutes or until it becomes smooth and leaves the sides of bowl.
Transfer the dough to well greased bowl cover with plastic wrap and set aside for first rise at 77 degree F for 2 hours. After the first hour of rising, punch down and fold the dough and again set aside for another rise.
After 2 hours weigh the dough it comes about 1168g and divide into 4 equal pieces of 292 g each and set aside.
Among the 4 pieces take the 3 pieces of dough and roll out into each portion of dough into ropes about 18 inches long, tapered at the ends. By rolling strand in the kitchen table with one hand or in between two hands. If the dough is sticky sprinkle some flour in the kitchen table so that they won’t stick together.
Braid the three strands attaching the tips with water and tuck inside. So that it won’t tear. Transfer the braided dough into a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Cover and kitchen towel and set aside while you working on the rest of the dough.
Take the remaining piece of dough and divide into 3 pieces of 97g and roll out each portion of dough again into ropes of 18 inches, tapered at the ends. Braid the three strands attaching tips with water and tuck inside and set side.
Make a indention on the center of bigger braid and place smaller braid in the center attaching the both ends tightly with water and set aside for about 45 minutes for the braids to double in size.
In a small bowl whisk one egg with water and keep aside.
Using a brush gently and generously brush the egg wash on the doubled braided bread. Brush again so that gets a double egg wash. With one clean hand dipped in egg solution gently press sesame seeds and poppy seeds into each section of the braided bread.
Bake them in a preheated 350°F oven for 35 minutes, or until they’re well browned or registered an internal temperature of 200 to 210°F on an instant-read thermometer.(I used meat reading thermometer). Remove them from the oven, and allow them to cool completely before serving.
Enjoy with butter, it becomes a healthy toast.
Preparation time: 3 hours
Yield: 1 braid