Sunday, September 28, 2008

Russian Challah

It's that time again... This week's Challah recipe is Maggie Glezer's Russian Challah (from A Blessing of Bread!). This dough was a breeze to put together; the dough is soft and easily kneaded. For my convenience, I made a double batch (yielding three nice sized breads) Thursday night, allowed it to rise overnight in the refrigerator and finished it Friday morning. I took the dough out and let it sit to take the chill off for about 15-20 minutes. This dough was so much fun to braid because it rolled out so smoothly, without any issues, and they just turned out perfectly. They also turned out picture perfect after baking- the braids didn't spread! I kept staring at them on the Shabbat table. I should say that this is the last braided loaf until after the holidays as it is customary to make rounded breads for Rosh HaShana and to keep that going through Sukkot. The resulting challah had a nice yellow crumb, chewy texture but was not sweet at all. I know I was warned... but although everyone else enjoyed it, it wasn't my favorite. I think I'm just an all or nothing type of girl- either make it an egg challah and thus sweet, or make it water with no eggs at all! It can't be both. Anyway, I'll probably be featuring a honey challah sometime this week after the holiday, so stay tuned. It'll make up for me not being able to make challah this Thursday- Friday because of surgery. :(

Russian Challah
from Maggie Glezer's A Blessing of Bread

1 1/4 tsp instant yeast
about 3 3/4 cups bread flour
3/4 cup water
2 large eggs, plus 1 for glazing
1 1/2 tsp table salt
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 tbsp granulated sugar

Place all the ingredients in a large bowl,

and whisk until smooth.

Begin adding flour a little at a time,

blending until it forms a batter type consistency,

and adding more until it comes together a bit more. At this point I allow the dough to autolyse for about twenty minutes or so.

Turn the dough out onto a well floured surface.

Knead the dough until it begins to smooth out beneath your hands. It should be easily kneadable and firm.
Shape the dough into a round when the kneading is complete,

and place it in a well oiled bowl, turning to coat. Allow to rise until doubled in bulk, or place in the refrigerator overnight to ferment.
Here's the dough doubled in bulk. Remove from the bowl and shape as desired.

Here's the first bread braided, a six braid.

The three six braids ready to proof.

The braids ready to bake.

Beautifully golden! Don't they look licious?!

No comments: