Try to make this delicious and beautiful Heart shaped Sourdough Challah made with stiff starter, olive oil, honey and bread flour. Decorations are similar to Ukraine wedding bread or Korovai.
This is month of heart aka love, yes, the month of Valentine. If you want to treat your love then try this Heart shaped Sourdough Challah, simple as well as fun recipe. This Sourdough challah is made with stiff starter. This is a straightforward bread, once you made the dough, put the decorations if you want and bake it. This bread is also good to make French toast, sandwiches, and croutons.
Challah also belongs to enriched bread however it lacks milk and butter. But it has olive oil, yeast. Israeli challah contains eggs or olive oil in the dough as well as water, sugar, yeast, salt, honey, and raisins. It is topped with sesame.
I have tried earlier challah with rye. This time decide to use my sourdough starter.
How to make this Heart shaped Sourdough Challah?
You need only a few ingredients to make this recipe.
Stiff sourdough starter: you can create a stiff starter from your 100 % hydration starter. By just feeding double the amount of flour to starter. Refresh it few times and then give a sugar wash and finally make the dough and you can either put it in water or keep it in room temperature.
Flour: You can use all-purpose flour to make challah, however bread flour gives the challah a nice chew without making it tough, helps the braided loaf maintain its shape after baking.
Olive Oil: It gives a rich, earthy flavor to the loaf, without making too much eggy as well as subtle sweetness that makes challah so delectable. Using olive oil also makes challah particularly appropriate for Hanukkah, which celebrates an oleaginous miracle.
Eggs: are the only rich ingredients in this sourdough challah recipe.
Honey: adds sweetness to the loaf, however this is not overall sweet bread.
Salt: Brings out flavor to bread loaf.
I used all-purpose flour, corn starch, powdered sugar and vegetable shortening. You can use cake flour instead of all purpose and corn starch as it comes with it.
Things you need to remember while making this Heart shaped sourdough challah.
You need an active starter in hand. You can make one check here to make one. If you are in hurry to make this bread use 2 ¼ teaspoon or 7g of instant yeast.
First day you need to refresh the starter and make dough and give bulk around 4-5 hours and then refrigerate for proof overnight.
Next morning shape and set aside for rise for about 5 hours or until it looks fluffy and when you touch the dough it should bounce back.
Apply egg white to make the decorations stick. You can skip this step if you are not using the decorations. You can just simply do an egg wash before baking them. Sprinkle sesame seeds.
You can make regular braided sourdough challah with recipe too. The decorations on the bread are inspired from Ukraine wedding bread or Korovai. You can skip it if you are not into it. If you have little helper in your house include them in making this delicious bread, they will have fun.
If you try this recipe, please tag me @nidhinikhil in Instagram and @zestysouthindiankitchen in facebook.
Heart Shaped Sourdough Challah
- 3 ½ cups 450g bread flour
- 200 g stiff starter
- ¼ cup 62 grams warm water
- 3 large eggs 149g, plus 1 for glazing
- 1 ½ teaspoon 8 grams salt
- ¼ cup 57 grams olive oil
- 3 tablespoon 67 grams honey OR ⅓ cup (60 grams) sugar
For the decorations
- ½ cup 65g all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon corn starch
- 1 teaspoon powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon shortening Crisco
- 3 tablespoon water or more to form a dough
Make stiff starter
- In a bowl add 30g (100%) starter, 30g water and 60g bread flour and mix until combined. This is a stiff starter, so it will take some work to get all the flour mixed in. Do not add extra water. You might need to do a little kneading to get it to all mix in. Set aside for 4-5 hours or until it doubles, continue to feed 2-3 times.
- After 3 rd. refreshing, mix in 50g stiff starter + 50 g water and 100g flour and cover the bowl with a lid or plastic wrap and allow to sit on again 4-5 hours or until it doubles. You can leave it overnight in the counter if you want.
Mix the dough
- In the morning in a kitchen aid mixing bowl add stiff starter and water and with paddle attachment try to mix in very well.
- To this add, eggs, salt, olive oil and honey. Whisk until everything is combined.
- Then add bread flour and with dough attachment mix the bread flour in all at once.
- When the mixture is a shaggy ball, scrape it out onto your work surface.
- The dough will be firm and should be easy to work with even if a little bit sticky. If the dough is too firm to knead easily, add a tablespoon or two of water to it. If the dough is too wet, add a tablespoon or two of flour.
- Place the dough in a clean oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap.
- Allow the dough to ferment at room temperature for 3 hours. It will probably not rise much, if at all.
- During which you can keep it refrigerator for overnight if you want. Otherwise continue the following
Shaping and Braiding Challah
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Divide the dough into 6 equal pieces. You need three pieces for each braid.
- Roll each ball into a long thin strip the same length as your baking sheet, working from the middle, out. If the dough is too elastic and keeps shrinking on you, cover the strips with a cloth and walk away for 10 minutes while the dough rests.
- Place the strips on the baking sheet and bring the top points together. Pinch the three strands together.
- Starting with the strand on the right, pass it over the next strand, under the third strand, on the left.
- Repeat with the strand that is now on the right, passing it over, under, and over the other strands.
- Continue braiding until you reach the end the strips.
- Place it in the prepared baking sheet with parchment paper with two end joining other braids giving them the shape of heart. Set aside for proofing.
- While the sourdough challah dough is proofing make the decorations.
- In a medium bowl, place the flour, corn starch, powdered sugar and shortening.
- Gradually add the water.
- Knead the dough for about 5 minutes, to make it nice and pliable.
- Place the dough in a plastic bag, to keep it from drying out.
- Divide the dough into thin circles and cut out various designs using cookie cutters. Check the video for how to make designs,
- Place it in a lightly greased plate so that it will not dry out.
- Cover the baking sheet with plastic wrap and allow the loaf to proof until tripled in size, about 5 hours. Depending upon the humidity of your house, it is cooler it can take longer, and if it is warmer it could take less time. So, check the dough when it fully proofed if you make dent gently with your knuckle and the dough springs back.
- Brush them with egg white and arrange the decorations depending upon your choice.
Baking the Challah
- Preheat your oven to 350 F for at least 15-20 minutes before baking.
- Brush the egg glaze over the loaf.
- Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until well browned. After the first 20 minutes of baking, rotate the baking sheet in the oven to promote even browning. If the bread is browning too fast, tent it with foil.
- Remove the bread from the baking sheet and cool completely on a wire rack. You can slice the bread only after complete cooling.
This is Swathi ( Dr. Ambujom Saraswathy Ph.D) from Zesty South Indian Kitchen who loves to explore cuisines from all over the world. Whenever possible I try to to give an Indian touch to several of the world cuisine, and has weakness for freshly baked bread. All the recipes you see here are created by me and approved after taste-test by my family.