I am sooo excited about tonight's challah!
This recipe was inspired by a recipe I found here. Since the linked recipe has milk, and I wanted a pareve version that I could serve with tonight's kebabs and couscous (sooo excited for meat!), I improved and made my own recipe. It's quite a lovely thing! The aroma is amazing. I'm a bit disappointed in how it looks, however. It sort of deflated in the oven. I had a hard time telling if it was done for whatever reason, so my loaf has a whole bunch of poke holes. But it was a first try, so I'm pretty please. Here's what I did...
3/4 c very warm (but not hot) water
2 tsp active dry yeast
1/4 c sugar
1/2 tsp saffron
2 eggs plus 1 more for egg wash
4 tbsp olive oil plus vegetable oil to to the top 1/4 c
1 tbsp lemon juice plus 1 tsp lemon juice (about 1 lemon)
3 c flour (I used 2 c all purpose and 1 c "Better for Bread" flour)
1 1/4 tsp salt
Mix water together with yeast, 2 tbsp sugar, and saffron. Allow to rest for around 10 minutes or until yeast creates little eruptions.
Add eggs and oils and mix lightly. Add lemon juice. Mix in rest of sugar, salt, and flour. I ultimately needed to add more flour, about a 1/2 c. Knead by hand or with a stand mixer and proceed as your normally would. I let my dough rise for about three hours until it had doubled in bulk.
Braid and egg wash. Sprinkle with poppyseeds and drizzle with about 1 tsp lemon juice. Allow to rest another 30 minutes. Bake at 350 for around 30 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 180-200 degrees. I always cover my challot with aluminum foil at about 25 minutes if the top begins to get too brown.
(Post Eating Update: Shavua Tov everyone! So this challah is really delicious and moist even on Saturday morning. However, it's not very lemony AT ALL. So, I'm recommending a few ideas until I get a finalized version... more lemon juice, the zest of the lemon -- either on top or in the bread itself -- and perhaps a little less saffron. Maybe more like just a healthy pinch. I might mortar and pestle it next time too.)
Shabbat Shalom for The Hazz and The Mrs. to you!
(You can see all my thermometer stab wounds here, but also the lovely yellow color.)