Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Spelt Challah

My first experiment with spelt challah turned out to be quite a successful one. I was inspired to experiment with it by my good friend A who recently decided to remove wheat from her diet. I like to think that it's possible to make adjustments to your diet but not to the standards of eating that one is accustomed to. After eating by her for lunch, I decided I would take the bag of 70% whole spelt flour sitting at home in the fridge and try to coax it into light textured, fluffy challot. And so, after reading and researching the nature of spelt a good bit, I took the opportunity this Friday to test out the recipe on the back of the flour bag (because after all, who knows better?!) that sat in the refrigerator. I put together the dough the exact same way I usually do. I noticed that the dough did feel slightly different than its white wheat counterpart but so far so good. I gave it its usual long rest before proceeding to knead and after a few minutes of gentle kneading, I had a perfectly smooth, round ball of dough. I set it aside in a greased bowl to rise and do its thing. Fingers crossed, I checked on the dough periodically to see it rising just as it should. (I don't know why a different grain would effect yeast activity but I was nervous!) Rolling out and braiding the challot were quite interesting steps. The dough behaved totally differently than with white flour. Rolling was not frustrating at all! The strands rolled and stretched beautifully, no springing back whatsoever. I let them to rise again and baked them. The final product surprised me a bit as well. The coloring of the bread was a creamy beige, notably different than whole wheat. What's more, the braids didn't split open and spread at all. The way they went in was the way they came out, save for the rise. Definitely something I wasn't expecting but aesthetically pleasing, nonetheless. These challot were really fantastic. Texturally, they were spot on, light and fluffy. The flavor was lightly sweet from the honey and almost whole wheat like. While it was apparent that this was something other than wheat, it most certainly didn't feel like health food, of the brick variety or any other. It was wonderful with all of the traditional Israeli salatim. Put on the hot plate before dinner toasted the bottoms into perfection. A home run all around.

Spelt Challah
from the back of the Etz HaSadeh bag

2 cups warm water
3 tbsp dry yeast
3 eggs
1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup honey
2 tbsp salt
1 kilo spelt flour

Assemble your dough as you normally would, remembering to give it adequate time to rest before kneading. Be gentle and don't over knead. 

1 comment:

Eric said...

Hi! I'm making this challah as we speak but the dough is so so sticky! I'd added more and more flour as I'm kneading, but I don't want it to get too dry! Any suggestions?