Saturday, July 15, 2006

A Trip to Pie Country

Beloved readers and friends,

Just a note to let you know that I'm taking a small blogging hiatus to head Southward for a friend's wedding. All kinds of culinary delights will occur in the interrim, and I promise to report them upon my return (the 25th). In the meantime, I beg your pardon for my absence with this, my first attempt at challah. I didn't let it rise long enough (which is why it looks a little stretched out in the picture), but it was delicious. A mixer fitted with a bread hook is descibed in the directions, but I did all the mixing by hand, and the consistency turned out fine. Next time I'll try using fresh yeast instead of dry. Good luck, and I'll see you after the 25th - with a lot of catching up to do!

Much love,
Kate

Challah Bread

INGREDIENTS

1/2 cup plus 2/3 cup warm water
2 tablespoons dry yeast (I don't know the conversion of dry yeast to fresh yeast...anybody?)
1 tablespoons plus 3/4 cup sugar

5 large eggs
3/4 cup vegetable oil
(1/4 cup honey - my addition)
1 teaspoon salt
7 1/2 cups (about) all-purpose flour

1 large egg yolk
1 tablespoon water

DIRECTIONS

Combine 1/2 cup warm water, yeast and 1 tablespoon sugar in large glass measuring cup and stir until yeast dissolves. Let yeast mixture stand at room temperature until foamy, about 10 minutes.

In large bowl of heavy-duty mixer fitted with whisk attachment, beat 5 eggs until blended. Add oil, salt and 3/4 cup sugar and beat until pale yellow and slightly thickened, about 4 minutes. Beat in 2/3 cup warm water (and honey). Add yeast mixture and beat until blended. Remove whisk and fit mixer with dough hook. Add enough flour 1 cup at a time to form smooth dough, beating well after each addition. Beat on medium speed until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes, adding flour by tablespoonfuls if sticky. Turn out onto floured surface and knead 2 minutes.

Lightly oil large bowl. Add dough, turning to coat with oil. Cover with plastic wrap, then with clean kitchen towel. Let dough rise in warm draft-free area until doubled in volume, about 1 hour.

Punch down dough. Cover with plastic and clean kitchen towel and let rise 30 minutes.

Grease 2 large baking sheets. Turn out dough onto lightly floured surface. Divide dough into 2 equal portions. Divide each portion into 3 equal pieces. Roll each piece into 9-inch-long rope. Braid 3 ropes together; pinch ends together to seal. Repeat with remaining dough pieces, forming 2 braids. Place each braid on baking sheet. Cover with towel . Let rise in warm area until almost doubled, about 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400°F. Whisk yolk with 1 tablespoon water to blend. Brush dough with egg mixture. Bake 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350°F. Bake until bread is golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped on bottom, about 35 minutes. Transfer loaves to rack and cool.

Makes 2 loaves.

This recipe comes straight to you from Bon App├ętit, courtesy of Epicurious.com.

7 comments:

Tanna said...

Have a great trip Kate. The bread looks fantastic!

ThursdayNext said...

Enjoy Kate! I will miss you!

Oooo. I love french toast made with challah.

Nicky said...

When baking with yeast I usually substitute fresh yeast for dry yeast, because the dough becomes fluffier - at least that's what I experienced. Here in Germany both types of yeast have details printed on their packaging, which tell you how much yeast should be used for which amount (weight) of flour. Maybe yours have these instructions, too.

Angela said...

This looks great! I'll have to give it a try - I haven't made challah in forever.

michelle said...

Have a wonderful time! I still think your challah looks beautiful! (I wish I was good at making bread!)

Barbara (Biscuit Girl) said...

Your first attempt? It's beautiful!

Jamie said...

Beautiful challah, Kate!

I suck. Suck suck suck. Y'know why? Because I keep meaning to talk more with you about getting together while you are in the South. And now you have just been in the South, and I hadn't said word one to you before you left. Well, next time, maybe. I'm sorry about that!