Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Challah Bread - a picture tutorial

You can find the recipe here.  The only "difficult" part of of making challah bread is the braiding.  If you've ever braided rugs, hair or anything else you'll find making challah bread easy!

Follow the recipe and get all of your ingredients into your mixer.  Allow your mixer to knead your bread dough.

I love my DLX because it kneads like human hands!  When knead time is over, place your dough in a lightly greased bowl and give it a turn.  I use olive oil.

Just a hint when it comes to greasing pans...don't use those "bakers sprays".  Have you read the list of ingredients on those?  Sounds like a chemical cocktail!  I use a pump spray filled with Olive Oil.

I give the dough a turn in the bowl and lightly mist the top with olive oil.  Let rise till double.  Then punch down and turn out onto a floured board.

This is your dough for TWO loaves of bread...so...divide your dough as evenly as possible and set one portion aside.

Take the portion of dough you will be working with and divide it into three equal sections.  I do this by feel - once you've done this a lot, you'll get the hang of it!

Roll each section into a rope - remember playdough days?  Just take a quick trip back in years...or call your kids if you need help.  Each rope should be about 15 inches long.

You are going to prepare to braid these ropes.  I lay them out at angles with the ends on top of each other.

If you have small helping hands at home, ask a little one to put some pressure on one end while you braid.  If you don't, just place something heavy there - I have often used a jar of honey or the edge of a canister. Now braid just as you would braid anything else.

Try not to pull as you braid because as your dough rises it will split in the thin spots. This part is really very easy. When you have braided the entire loaf tuck both ends of the braid under and give it a squeeze to hold it in place.

You can place it on a greased baking sheet or use parchment paper as I have here. Allow the dough to rise again until doubled...about an hour. While this loaf is rising, prepare and braid the other loaf. When your first loaf has risen again, it is time to brush it with an egg that has been beaten with a bit of water per the recipe.

I use a small bristle brush and just "paint" the bread.  This is another job that little hands love to help with! You can sprinkle poppy seeds or sesame seeds on top of your loaf after you have "painted" it if you like.

Then pop your loaf into the oven and bake per the instructions.  Your loaves will turn a beautiful golden brown!

This is a delicious bread that is wonderful even if you don't celebrate Shabbat! Serve it with dinner or breakfast.  Slice it and turn it into french toast - it is amazing!  My boys often ask for it in the middle of the week for french toast - I  now make more at a time and freeze it - it freezes well if wrapped up securely!

There is much symbolism in the challah loaf for Jews and Christians alike.  I think you would find it an interesting study.  It all points back to our loving Father, Jehovah Jireh, and His provision for his children.


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