Monday, June 8, 2009

100% Whole Wheat Challah

For the latest installation of the Challah Chronicles, I decided to make a whole wheat Challah. I know, this doesnt jive with everyone's perception of Challah. It's supposed to be sweet, eggy, everything this Challah isn't. In fact, the truth is that this is a whole wheat bread masquerading as Challah. Why on earth would I do such a thing, you ask? It's the dreaded four letter word-- that's right... Diet. It's time to get in shape and to eat right. That means that I've been off carbs-- don't ask me where the will power comes from- for about a week. The only exception is Shabbat where washing on bread is required at the meals. Well, I wasnt going to pass that up! But I decided that if I were going to eat bread, it would be the healthiest kind. And you know what? It was actually good! I used only whole wheat flour, instant yeast, salt, oil and water. One could add an egg for better texture but it's not wholly necessary. The dough kneaded and rose beautifully. It also braided easily- especially when cold, and kept its shape nicely. This dough made really attractive braids. The only thing Id warn you about is that due to the color of the flour, the lack of sugar and egg in the dough, it's hard to tell when the breads are done. They won't caramelize and develop a more golden crust like other breads. Overbaking will result in dry breads-- I did that to one of my trays and could definitely tell the difference. These challot are excellent with hummus or any other dip that may grace your table. Check out this weeks Yeastspotting!

Whole Wheat Challot
7 cups whole wheat flour, or more as needed
3 1/2 cups water
1 tbsp salt
1 tbsp instant yeast
1/2 cup oil

In a large bowl, place the dry ingredients.Add the oil,and water,and mix by hand or with a wooden spoon until a shaggy dough is formed. Walk away and allow the dough to rest for 20 minutes.Turn the dough out onto a well floured surface and begin kneading.Since I made a double batch, separating the dough into two portions to make it easier. Knead until the dough smooths out and is barely sticky anymore. Timing depends on how fast and efficiently you knead. Place in a greased bowl to rise and grease the top. At this point, I always refrigerate my dough overnight. This ensures extra flavor and fits into my schedule much better.This is how it looked the next morning. Well actually, it's folded over because it overran the bowl. Dont worry, I had covered it with a greased plastic shopping bag so all was contained.
Portion the dough and braid or shape as desired.
I got six loaves out of the double batch but the yield depends entirely on how you shape. Allow to proof until doubled. In my deathly hot kitchen, this took no time at all.
Brush with beaten egg and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven until you feel theyre done. Sorry-- I dont time anything! But dont overbake!

They turned out really lovely!


Susan said...

Yes, they did turn out lovely. And don't worry, whole grain bread is healthy!

MC said...

Wow! Congratulations on the braiding. I have a passion for whole wheat, so I'm sure I'd love these challahs, probably much better than the regular ones.

Esther said...

they look beautiful! (esther)

Gayle said...

Is there no sweetener in this recipe at all? How is it possible for yeast to cause rising without any sweetener?

Chavi said...

That's right, there isnt! But dont worry, it works!