Challah Bread

Tell me people, why is bread considered so daunting? Pourquoi? I don’t get it. Something so simple yet people are terrified to try it. What’s the worst that could happen? Maybe it fails and you have to throw it out but what’s that, a few cents wasted on flour? I promise you though, follow the basic bread making principles and nothing bad is going to happen. Step 1 – Scale out the ingredients. Step 2 – Mix it all together and knead to develop gluten. Step 3 – Let it rise until doubled. Step 4 – Portion it out and shape as desired. Step 5 – Let it rise again. Step 6 – Bake. You could include a 7th step, cooling and eating but I figure that’s a given. And don’t give me that “time” excuse either. Bread making is 90% unattended (that’s not a legitimate stat I found somewhere, it’s just from my fancy little brain). Just because it may take up to 2 hours to rise doesn’t mean you should stare at it for 2 hours waiting for it to rise. Sounds obvious, I know. However if it’s so obvious why do people always complain that bread takes too long? Go for a run. Clean your house. Go get some icecream. Watch an episode of “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo” (I strongly suggest that you follow this piece of advice). I dunno, just do something! And then you can finally consume some delicious, warm homemade bread and it will all be worth it.
Challah Bread
Challah bread
– 1 1/2 tbsp. dry active yeast
– 8 cups bread flour
– 6 eggs
– 1/3 cup oil (I used vegetable)
– 1 tbsp. salt
– 1/2 cup white sugar
– warm water, as needed
– poppy seeds, as needed
– milk or egg wash
Activate the yeast in some warm water. About a quarter cup will do it. Combine the eggs and oil and whisk it all together. Once the yeast is nice and foamy, add it in to the rest of the liquids. Then add in your dry ingredients (flour, sugar and salt). Mix and continue to add water until the dough comes together. It should be fairly wet and sticky but not so much that it is impossible to work with. Knead until smooth and elastic (the dough should pass the windowpane test. Place it in an oiled bowl, covered and let it rise until double. Depending on the temperature this could take anywhere between 1-2 hours, even less if you pop it into a 100 degree oven. Once it has doubled in bulk you can portion it out. For the breaded loaf I used 3 200g pieces which I rolled into strands and proceeded to braid, just like hair. For the buns I portioned them at about 70g each. Some I kept round, some I made into knots and other curly-q shapes. Place everything on a parchment lined sheet tray, well spaced and covered. Let rise again until double. Now you can bake. Give everything a quick brush with milk or egg wash, sprinkle with poppyseeds and you are good to go. About 20 minutes at 350 F for the buns, closer to 30 minutes for the loaf. It should be golden brown and hollow when tapped. Cool (for as long as your patience/self control allows) and enjoy!
Challah bread
Challah bread
Challah bread

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