Saturday, July 24, 2010

Heavenly...'til the last crumb!

So, yesterday I posted this photo (here and on facebook) and asked you all what it was...the majority of the guesses were right on as this was bread dough rising. But I do have to give Jayne @ an eye for threads a creative pat on the back - "peanut butter waiting for the rest of the cookie batter...something teadyed....or that old kitchen sponge in bleach." The comment definitely got me rofl-ing :)

What kind of bread dough you might ask...Honey Challah (or egg bread).

So, first a little story about Challah...when I was a little girl eating a braided loaf of Challah on Friday nights was a tradition: but so was having it on special holidays. Growing up there were several occasions when my father tried his hand at making homemade Challah, using the recipe that his Bubbie (yiddish for grandmother) used. The recipe called for the basics of flour, oil, yeast, water and 6 eggs. I would say most often than not, the dough wouldn't rise and we would be eating the sweetest tasting "brick-like" bread. However, when I was in high school, my mother got a new cook book (Cooking for Show on the go) which contained many Jewish/Eastern European recipes that could be made easily (it was kind of like your Jewish potluck recipe book written by the temple sisterhood). So, after my first couple attempts at Challah, I was pretty much awarded with the responsiblity of baking the bread during high school. When I went away to college and had my own apartment, making challah bread was a stress reliever...and when the aroma of fresh bread hit the room...well, it was comforting. So, I did become known in my family for making the challah and there were times that I would make it and FedEx it to family members (it never tasted like it did when it first came out of the oven, but at least they had some sweet homemade bread to enjoy). After awhile, it became such a routine to make the bread that my patience to make it started to wane, and the yeast stopped doing its job...and my bread started to resemble the sweet bricks that I had when I grew up. So, it has been awhile since I made Honey Challah...and I was started to desire to cook and feel the dough in my fingers and crave the taste of the sweet bread.

Here are a few more snaps to share with you, which will show what happened when the rising dough was let out of the rising container...
1. Out of the rising container and knead
2. Divide dough into 3 (to make 3 loafs)
3. Knead each ball again and divide up into 3 again - to make long snakes to braid together
4. Put braided loaf on greased pan to rise again

After the second rise, I brush on some egg whites to give it a shine...if you like you can sprinkly poppy seed or sesame seeds on to it (I chose not to just incase the boys wanted to try it - they are not a fan of the seeds). Put the loaf in a 350 degrees oven for about 30-60 minutes and here is what you might find:

If you are interested in the recipe, here it is...

Honey Challah
1/4 cup of honey
2 pkg of yeast
1-3/4 cup of warm water
2 cups of flour
1/4 Tbs salt
1 cup of oil
3 eggs
6 to 6-1/2 cups of flour
Secret-additional ingredient...a handful of white sugar :)

Mix honey, yeast and warm water together in a mixing bowl and let it sit for at least 5 minutes. Add 2 cups of flour and the salt and mix until well incorporated. Add the oil and the eggs one at a time mixing well in between. Add the remaining amount of flour (tip: I typically use my big mixing machine for making bread, putting all the ingreadients in the bowl and mixing as per the instructions, and then after I add the last part of the 6 cups of flour in, I change the mixing tool to the kneading tool and knead the dough that way for a while until it feels "ready" to dump it out and knead it by hand). And then...for my secret ingredient...and handful of white sugar to give it that added "goodness" :)

Knead by hand until the dough is smooth and put in an airtight container to rise until it doubles in size (about 3-6 hours...I sometimes let mine go overnight). After the first rise...knead again and then form into shapes...let rise for another 1-2 hours and then bake in a 350 degrees oven for about 30-60 minutes depending on the size of the loaf.

Well, because I made the dough on Thursday evening, I was able to knead it and bake it in time for breakfast on Friday bedtime all that was left of the 3 loaves was the nice one pictured above (which is about a foot long) and this:
This is a photo of the last slice to a loaf that was over 2 feet long...the third loaf (another foot-long) was consumed right out of the oven for breakfast. Let's just say DH and I definitely consumed our carb quota for the next week or so :)
Well, "kiss that slice good bye"...DH just walked in the room carrying that last slice and was finishing it off, as I was writing about it....
Well, thank you for visiting and thank you for your comments on my Eat, Sleep, Stitch finish...I certainally have been following those guidelines this weekend already :) Take care and remember...

Live, Love, Laugh and Stitch often!


jayne@~an eye for threads~ said...

Wow, Bread! Who knew?? I guess now everyone knows I don't do KITCHEN. Now if it had of been a torn hem or pulled out zipper I would have been on it like your husband on Honey Challah or flies on paper, which ever is quicker. lol Glad you got a chuckle, my day is complete.
Be always in stitches.

Stephanie (Joie de Bayou) said...

I love to bake bread and have been wanting to try challah (my DS loves it when I pick some up from Whole Foods).

Thanks for the recipe and the pics, I even have a similar square container for the rise.

Is the kneading tool the same as a dough hook?

Tina said...

My grandmother made bunny shapes out of that dough for us when I was a kid...hmmm so yummy

Blu said...

That looks absolutely delicious!

Kielrain said...

I hardly have a thing to say other than... yum. I just may try this when it is cooler. Yeah.