May’s Daring Bakers’ Challenge was pretty twisted – Ruth from The Crafts of Mommyhood challenged us to make challah! Using recipes from all over, and tips from “A Taste of Challah,” by Tamar Ansh, she encouraged us to bake beautifully braided breads.
Yet again, the Daring Kitchen forces me to cross another item off of my list! Making challah was on there because braiding dough seemed like it would be somewhat tricky, but this was totally not the case. Way easier than French-braiding your own hair, that’s for sure.
Ruth provided a few recipes with the challenge, and I went with the first which was for a wheat challah. The dough seemed strange: it was almost cookie dough-like and kept sticking to everything! Since I had never made challah, I didn’t know if this was normal or if it was an issue with the yeast or measurements (used my scale), but persisted. I ended up adding what seemed to be quite a lot of flour, but maybe it wasn’t more than 1 cup. For the first rise, I put the bowl of dough on the front porch in hopes that the almost 90F heat would encourage it to rise. It did!
Shaping was of course the most fun part of making challah. As a lady of 30 years, I can do three strand braids in my sleep, so I wanted to give four and six strand braids a go. These were super easy to accomplish after watching Ruth’s video tutorials! They both came out pretty, but I love the look of the four strand loaf.
My oven seems to run hot, so I checked the loaves at 20 minutes even though the recipe said 30-40. They looked done! I always wonder about how one is to tap the bottoms of loaves without burning their knuckles off. Cutting into them once cool, they were definitely done and so soft! The flavor was both lightly wheat-y and sweet. I think I’ve found my new favorite bread to bake.
I made a savory leek and mushroom bread pudding with some of the leftover challah the other day using this recipe. It was pretty good, but I wish I had used a stronger/sharper cheese maybe instead of or addition to the swiss and parmesan. It was my first time making bread pudding and my first time having a savory version.
Thanks for such a fun challenge along with the braiding videos, Ruth! You can find the recipes in her write-up.
Now, if I were to send a note with some challah, could it be called a challahgram?