Thursday, September 29, 2016

Amazing Challot, A Tip and Recipe

I always feel pretty pathetic having to look up my own recipe on this blog before baking challah. Yes, I have to go into the den and turn on the computer and do a search of the blog until I find what I think may be the best version of my challah recipes. It shows not only how infrequently I've been baking them of late, but how quickly even the written copy seems to disappear.

And another problem is that the dehydrated yeast I bake with lasts forever. I can't remember the last time I actually finished one of those 500 gram packages. I've always heard that its potency lasts forever, too, but when my last attempt, before last night that is, turned a hard low-rising dud, I threw what was left out. That meant that I could no longer just spontaneously bake challah, even if I had enough flour in the house.

So yesterday, after spending the afternoon in Ofra with some of the grandkids, I popped into the local grocery store, just for some milk, and low and behold I was seduced by the shiny packages of dehydrated yeast. This time, I got a small package, just 125 grams. And then I bought some whole wheat flour the very fine 70% type from the freezer section, so it doesn't need sifting. And since my dark brown sugar was in the freezer, I bought more of that, too. Yep, I was ready to rock 'n roll! And also all hepped up to knead the dough... I don't have an electric mixer, bread machine or any help...

The new package of yeast did the trick, and while the dough was rising, I even walked around the neighborhood. The new yeast seems to have helped. Look at the photos.

The hardest part was making room in the freezer!

And here's the recipe:

This is an approximation of the challah recipe:
1 c sugar (dark brown)
2 T dehydrated yeast
a pinch of coarse salt
3 1/2c warm water
1 c oil
2 eggs for dough (medium or smallish by American standards),
an additional egg to coat the challot before baking
2 kilo of flour, which could be any combination of white and wholewheat
It's hard to know the exact quantity of flour.

mix sugar, yeast, water, oil a cup of flour
cover with plastic and let sit until bubbly and rising
add the eggs and more flour plus the pinch of coarse salt, mixing as you go, then knead until it doesn't stick to your hands coat with oil, cover with plastic and wait until it's at least doubled
"punch it down"
then "take challah," (click for instructions)
optional let it rise again
shape the challah
brush with raw egg, or spread with your fingers
let it rise
bake, start in an oven hotter than for a cake and then lower the heat until cooler than a cake after the outside begins to get a light brown
It's ready when the bottom is hard and there's a hollow sound when you tap it.


Anonymous said...

I had the same experience recently with a package of yeast that became less and less effective the longer I had it. What a difference replacing the old yeast with a new package made in the challah dough!

Batya said...

So, I'm not alone. And did you buy a smaller package this time?