Friday, September 26, 2014

Breadhead Friday: Holla for Challah!

Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year, started the evening of Wednesday, September 24.  Jewish holidays always begin the evening before, because Judaism goes by the lunar calendar. The next day begins when the sun sets. According to the Jewish calendar, this is the year 5775.

The holiday is traditionally celebrated with challah, apples, and honey to guarantee a sweet new year.  Challah is a braided egg bread, rich and a little bit sweet.  Some people put in raisins, others scatter poppy seeds and/or sesame seeds on the surface before baking.  Me, I just like it plain.  No raisins, dried fruit, or seeds.

The dough, freshly made

The dough after two days in the fridge. Note the bubbles

I've made challah before with some success, so for this new year's celebration I decided to make it again.  Overall, I'm pretty pleased with the results, though my next batch of dough won't be quite so wet.  I get so wrapped up in the artisan bread requirement of less flour=more holes that this dough ended up a little slack and difficult to work with.

Three-braid loaf after two hours of rising and egg wash

For ease of shaping, I went for a three-braid loaf.  You can do all kinds of braids, including round 7-braid loaves, but I'm working like heck to finish this YA Halloween novel and didn't want to make too much work for myself.

Fresh out of the oven

So, Happy New Year!  Even if you're not Jewish, challah's a very tasty, flaky bread that's great for sandwiches and French toast.

The crumb shot

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