December 11, 2012

Challah!

My wonderful boyfriend Joe is jewish and I am very excitable about holidays, so I decided to go all out this September and make a fancy Rosh Hashanah dinner!  I had never made bread before (or anything with yeast) but that is no reason to hold back.

I found this recipe on allrecipes, and followed it for the most part:
http://allrecipes.com/recipe/miriams-not-so-secret-challah/detail.aspx



A word to the wise:  this takes a LONG TIME.  Three hours according to my source, longer for me in practice.  That whole waiting for it to rise part is annoying, and if you get impatient and hungry like me you should start an hour earlier than you think is necessary.




FIRST:  collect your ingredients.  I neglect this step all the time, and then am forced to improvise with strange things.



The recipe calls for heating water and butter.  That sounds gross and online commenters told me to try milk instead.


This just shows you how very silly my amount of counter space is.  Also, you can get started mixing your dry ingredients while this is melting slowly (to avoid boiling).

 All melted!  Mix in half of your flour and all of the sugars, yeast, and salt.

Did you catch that little creeper in the background?


Oy!  I can't help it, he's so freakin' cute.  Even if it's inedible, it's in the kitchen so he'll assume it's food and eligible for begging.



Add butter+milk.  Add four eggs. Add the rest of the flour a half-cup at a time.

Notice that fancy egg beater?  Who needs a mixer when you've got one of these bad boys?!


This is covered in scrumptious honey.  It's not in the recipe, I just divvied up the allotted 1/2 cup total sugars into white, brown and honey.



Once you're all mixed you can throw it down on a floured surface and knead it for a little bit.

 You've got a ball of dough!  Throw it in a lightly oiled bowl and roll it around so it's coated too.  Cover with a damp cloth and set it somewhere warm for about an hour (it should double in size).


Sadly, this means the closet in our little apartment.  It's extremely warm in there- I think the hot water pipes run past it.


Deflate your dough, section it out, and braid it!
You can get real creative here and do 6-strand braids, but I went basic.


Bake at 350 for about 40 minutes.


 Dinner Time!!!
As this was for Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year) I did some internet research and found out that you're supposed to eat apples with honey as a symbol for your prosperous year to come.  So we had a feast of challah, pork chops, latkes, apples, and honey.





Oy got his own little peanut butter treat as well :)


Challah:

2 cups milk

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter

7 cups bread flour (divided)

1/4 cup white sugar

1/4 cup brown sugar

3 packages (0.25 ounce) active dry yeast

1 tablespoon salt

4 eggs

Makes 2 loaves.

1. Put milk and butter in a suace pan and heat until melted and warm, but not boiling.

2.  In a large bowl, mix 3 cups flour, white and brown sugars, yeast, and salt.  Add milk-butter mixture and beat well.  Add 4 eggs, beat with each one added.  Stir in the rest of the flour a 1/2 cup at a time.  When well-mixed knead on a lightly-floured surface until smooth and elastic- about 8 minutes.

3.  Put dough in a lightly oiled bowl and roll ball around until coated.  Cover bowl with damp towel and set somewhere warm for about an hour (until it has doubled in volume). 

4. Deflate the dough, and put on floured surface.  Divide into equal portions, roll into strands, and braid into 2 loaves. Place loaves on lightly greased cookie sheets, cover with damp cloth, and let rise until doubled in size- about 40 minutes.

5.  Bake in oven at 350 for about 45 minutes- until loaf sounds hollow when tapped.

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