Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Braided Challah

As many of you know, I am in love with Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. It's been a slow process but eventually I would love to bake everything out of this book. This has been the easiest way to make bread out of many different recipes I've tried, including cutting down on time and clean up.
I had not made Challah as of yet because I was afraid it seemed too sweet a bread, but one day while flipping through my favorite bread book, the braided loaf was irresistible. I had to see if I could braid bread with the loaf holding its form and not losing its intended qualities once baked. Like all the other recipes in this book, it was an easy dough to put together, and easy to handle once chilled out of the fridge. I added 1/2 cup of Wheat Germ to the all white flour mixture, just to add a bit of texture and protein. Of course you can just stick with their original recipe and measure it out using only All Purpose flour.

The loaf turned out beautifully, and the taste wasn't too sweet. Besides from snacking on it all day, I ended up using it for sandwich bread too, which was delicious. Next time I may add some orange zest, just because I feel like it would add some brightness.

Braided Challah with Wheat Germ
Prep Time: 30 minutes Total Time: 1 hr (+ inactive rising and chilling time)
Yield: 3 loafs/uses
Adapted from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day

1 3/4 cups lukewarm water
1 1/2 tbsp granulated yeast
1 1/2 tbsp Kosher salt
4 large eggs, beaten
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
6 1/2 cups All-Purpose flour
1/2 cup Wheat Germ
Egg wash (One egg beaten with a little water)

How To:
1) Mix water, yeast, salt, eggs, honey, and melted butter in a large bowl or large plastic container. Add flour one scoop at a time, leveling off cup each scoop without compacting.

2) Mix well with spoon, cover bowl with plastic wrap and with a towel to create more warmth. Set aside to rise for about 2 hours, then place in fridge covered as-is. You may chill dough for up to  4 or 5 days.

Baking Day:
1) Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper. With floured hands, remove about 1 1/2 pounds of chilled dough. Handling lightly, form into a uniform oval (using flour as needed) and section off three individual balls for the section of the braid.

2) Roll all three sections into long, thin ropes, and rest on the prepared baking sheet all next to each other. Starting at the middle braid from the middle to the end, and on the other side, braid from the middle to the end. Do not braid one end to the other. Tuck the ends under or around, whichever looks appropriate to your loaf. Let it rise for 1 hour, lightly covering it with a clean towel.

3) Preheat oven to 350ºF, and bring 2 cups water to a boil for use in steaming bread.

4) Brush egg wash over braided Challah loaf and place baking sheet in the oven. Pour the two cups boiling water into another oven proof dish, and place the dish carefully into the oven next to the baking sheet. This will create a more moist result from your bread. Close oven door, and bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown.

5) Cool for at least 10 minutes before slicing or eating, so that the residual heat can continue to cook your loaf once out of the oven.

More Ideas for Extra Dough:
1) Use it to make caramel sticky rolls, yum.

2) Use it to make in ordinary shaped loaf, better for sandwiches!

3) What do you think would be good??


  1. Oh wow- I've never baked my own bread but this recipe is enticing. Perhaps I'll give it a whirl next week. I'll let you know how it goes! :)

  2. Yeah, that would be great! Let me know :)


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