June 7, 2011

challah (holla!)

Challah bread was a semi-regular of bread station, most commonly made into rolls but sometimes braided into loaves as well.

Challah is another example of enriched dough because it contains egg yolks (fat) and oil (also fat). First, 5 lb 4 oz of bread flour and 1 oz of instant dry yeast are mixed together. Then, separately mixed is 32 oz of water, 1 lb of egg yolks, 8 oz of vegetable oil, 8 oz of sugar, and 1.5 oz of salt. The flour mixture is added to the wet mixture in the mixer, and together it's mixed for 4 minutes on low speed and 4 minutes on medium speed. Then it is fermented for just one hour before it gets portioned.

portioned challah

This batch of challah was portioned for a loaf and two batches of rolls. We did a five-braid loaf, with each braid being 5.5 oz (pre-shaped and shaped much like a baguette would be). The two batches for rolls were 3 lbs each, to be inserted into the roll machine to be shaped into two dozen rolls (four dozen altogether).

braiding challah

Braiding challah was really fun. Basically the five strands are lined up together, pinched at the top, and then the braids were invisibly numbered from 1 to 5, left to right. As the braids switched places they were renumbered 1 to 5, so there was no need to keep track of what number went where. The pattern basically went: 1 over 3, 2 over 3, 5 over 2 (repeat). If a low-number was going over a high-number, it would go to the right of that braid, and if a high-number was going over a low-number, it would go to the left. This continued until the ends of the strands, where all five were pinched together to end.

dough braiding (serious)

Here is everybody braiding, all serious-like.

braided challah

The idea was to make a braid that would come out looking like this.

eggwashing rolls

Before the challah rolls and loaves were baked, they were egg-washed so they would come out with a nice sheen.

challah rolls

Here are the rolls after baking.

challah bread

This was my first loaf, deceptively nice-looking but still raw on the inside because at this point I had not known that you could tell a bread's doneness by checking its temperature. I fretted over the rawness because that day's challah had been by special request of Chef Morse, and I really wanted him to have nice bread (oh well, too bad).

The next time I made challah it turned out really nice, and my housemate Molly made delicious French toast out of it :)

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