Sunday, October 30, 2011

Eggsellent Challah... or... The Yolk's on You

{Insert further witty egg-related jokes here}
I've been eye-balling Martha Stewart's challah recipe in the Martha Stewart Baking Handbook for months. I looked around online for the recipe for you all, but wasn't able to find it. I'm not going to give you all the proportions but I will tell you why I've been hesitant to make this bad boy... 8-10 egg yolks.

Holy cholesterol, batman!

I've found a few other baking websites that attempt to justify this crazy quantity in Martha's and others' recipes.  "It's 8 yolks in two big loaves" ... "I'm sharing it with my guests" ... "It's just once a week."  Well, for The Hazz and I, we are fully capable of eating a full loaf (or two) when it's just the two of us at the dinner table.  So, I could quite justify it yet.

That said, I made my own proportions up. This recipe will yield two small-ish loaves or 1 medium loaf plus 3-4 small rolls. Here's what I did...

3/4 c water
.6 oz fresh yeast or 2 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
1 1/2 tbsp honey
5 egg yolks
1/4 c canola oil or other neutral oil
3 c flour plus more as needed
1 1/4 tsp salt

eggs1To reach that 5 egg yolk conclusion, I cracked two large eggs (my normal amount for a 3 cup flour batch) into a glass measuring cup. This equalled roughly 1/2 cup of egg yolk plus white. Then I fished those two egg yolks out with my (clean) fingers and dropped them in a half measuring cup. I repeated the process twice more and found I wasn't reaching 1/2 cup even closely, but couldn't bring myself to use like 18,000 egg yolks. So I compromised with five.

Proceed as normal. Had I planned better, I would have used the egg yolks from a batch of egg-white only cupcakes I made earlier this week for The Hazz's birthday. But, egg whites will keep in a tight container in your fridge for a few days. So save 'em, and bake an angelfood cake or have some omelets.

eggs2Ohh, one note. I couldn't quite bring myself to crack another egg for the egg wash, so I just used the egg whites. That in combination with an oven that was originally at 375 for a previous item and turned down to 350 when I put in the challah produced a somewhat crustier and flakier challah. We're not quite sure how, but it was quite delicious!

The dough itself is a lot yellower than my regular dough but it felt roughly the same to braid. In the oven, however, a few of the strands broke apart (I'm not sure how!) and the bread itself wasn't the loveliest I've ever made. In the interest of blogging-integrity, here's the "ugly side" of the challah...
Will I make it again? I don't know. The Hazz said it was awesome, but we felt a little guilty about devouring it as quickly as we did. I'm not sure it was THAT much better than 2 egg challah to be incredibly tempting.
But the calories in this loaf? Omlettin' 'em slide.

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