Braided loaves intimidate me. Even more intimidating is this double-decker challah recipe from Sara, but it turns out to be a pleasure to work with. It’s an excellent introduction to an essential decorative bread shaping technique shared across many cultures.
I guess it’s time to revisit all of the recipes for braided breads that I overlooked — a 100% whole grain version for challah comes to mind.
Bread Baking Buddies: Challah
hosted by Sara of I Like to Cook
recipe adapted from Sara of I Like to Cook
Challah Recipe from The New York Times
makes 2 loaves
Blue poppy seeds
Final Dough Formula:
Ingredients Volume Ounces Grams all-purpose flour 6.5 cups 29.25 829 granulated sugar 3 tbsp 1.6 45 kosher salt 1 tbsp .35 10 instant yeast 2 tsp butter, at room temperature 1/2 cup 4 113 powdered saffron pinch water, lukewarm 1 cup 8 227 large eggs, room temperature 3 egg white from 1 egg (reserve the yolk for the egg wash) Egg wash: 1 teaspoon cold water plus 1 egg yolk
Final Dough Instructions:
Mix Mix all of the final dough ingredients until evenly incorporated. Knead 10 to 12 minutes (the dough will be firm) Bulk Ferment 1 hour at room temperature Divide 2 equal pieces. Divide each piece into 2 smaller pieces, such that the weight of 1 smaller piece is twice the weight of the other. Finally, divide each smaller piece into 3 equal portions. Rest 15 minutes Preshape Shape each piece into strands of equal length, about 10 inches long.
Shape Four sets of 3-strand braids. Place each smaller braid on top of the larger braid.
I’m pretty pleased with myself at this point.
Preheat Oven 400ºF / 205ºC Final Proof 60 minutes at room temperature, or until almost doubled in size Glaze Glaze the proofed challah dough with the egg wash. Sprinkle the poppy seeds on top.
Bake Bake for 20 to 25 minutes at 400ºF/205ºC, rotating the loaves halfway through baking if necessary. Cool At least 1 hour