Monday, October 29, 2012

Challah Baking sans Mixer

I don't have a mixer, so I make my challah by hand.  All that kneading is manual.

The last time, or times, I've made challah there had been criticism about the texture.  Taste was fine, but you can't slice the leftovers to make sandwiches.  They crumble, so I'm always trying to tweak the recipe. 

I write it as I make it/add ingredients.  Here's the last one.  The only thing I left off was the pinch of salt, coarse aka koshering salt:
1 c sugar (dark brown)
2 T dehydrated yeast
3 c warm water
1 c oil
4 eggs (medium or smallish by American standards)
and 2 kilo or so of wholewheat flour

As I worked I added more yeast, because mine isn't all that fresh.  The yeast, sugar, water, some of the flour mixture didn't bubble much.  It barely simmered.  The dough didn't rise much either.  I took advice I had read on the internet and started with the yeast, sugar, water, some of the flour and left it covered to ferment. 

I was on the computer while preparing it and a facebook friend suggested covering with plastic rather than my old towels.

After the mush showed some life I added the rest of the liquids, eggs and oil and then started adding the rest of the flour plus the pinch of salt.  And I kneaded and kneaded.  Then I left it covered (try plastic) to rise.  Eventually it grew, sort of like a kid with an endocrine disorder.

Then I "punched it down," then "took challah" and because it was pretty late already I decided to make the shapes and paint them with raw egg.

Then, again I let them rise, which they actually did a bit.  And then, because of the weak yeast, I baked them at a lower heat than usual.

I was amazed that they ended up looking fine. Tasting great was never in doubt.

 It isn't all that hard to make challah, even if you have neither a mixer nor a breadmaker machine.


Pesky Settler said...

I only make Challah by hand. And you might want to put yeast on your shopping list.

Batya said...

Pesky, if I find myself doing more, you're right. There isn't all that much remaining.