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.

Friday, October 28, 2011

View of Shabbat - Rosh Hodesh Heshvan 5772


Shabbat starts earlier now! And soon it will be even earlier after Daylight Savings. That means most of my recipes will now be coming Saturday evening or Sundays. But here's a teaser. It's EGGsellent.

Shabbat Shalom v'Hodesh Tov from our bayit to yours!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Caramel Chocolate Challah

My dear readers and bakers, I owe you like 18 posts. Can I just say how I'm slightly relieved that these two-day-yom-tovim-followed-by-Shabbat are over. No holidays until Thanksgiving (I'm not sure I even know how to prepare a meal where I can turn my oven on and off during the entire meal). I'm not sure what the fall is going to bring, but I'm excited for more savory baking, experimenting with more interesting flours, and finding new challah challenges.

This past Shabbat, which followed Shemini Atzeret and Simchat Torah, was a quiet one for The Hazz and The Mrs. We had invitations and shul dinners during the yom tovim, so I planned us a Shabbat at home with baked mac n'cheese with broccoli, vegetable soup, and sweet, sweet, sweet challah (don't you just love the occasional dairy Shabbat?). Our challah was inspired by Milky Ways, but I'm afraid the copyright police are going to jump on me if I actually call it that, so I'll call it Caramel Chocolate Challah.
Sweet Dough: Back in September, I made a big order from King Arthur Flour that included a Buttery Sweet Dough Enhancer, about which KAF says:
There's a particular flavor to the Danish, sweet rolls and coffeecakes you get at the store. Is it a hint of vanilla, or butter, or...? Add a few drops of this flavoring to your favorite sweet bread recipe, and your family and friends will be clamoring for the name of the bakery you visited.
I added just a teaspoon to my Small Batch. The result was really mild, but an ever so slightly sweeter dough that I think many sweet challah lovers would really like. A community Rabbi just asked me how we could make the basic dough a bit sweeter and I don't have a real answer yet. Adding honey messes with the chemical proportions and changes the texture. Adding this dough enhancer didn't change the challah texture at all, which I liked. Plus it's pareve!  I might try adding more next time.

The Mix-Ins: Again, KAF came to my rescue with Caramel Bits, so pretty amazing chunks of deliciousness.  Save yourself the heartache and don't look at the ingredient list if your like The Hazz and I and are trying to rid your lives of corn syrup.  But, they're still worth it.  And by worth it, I mean AMAZING.  I mixed together the caramel bits (just a little handful) with Trader Joe's chocolate chips which are so far superior to any other chocolate chip on the market.  They're AWESOME (and they're also pareve... although the caramel isn't).

The result, gooey, glistening, challah goodness.  Sweetness of a new year?  Check.  Sweetness of Torah?  Check.

Here's to a 5772 full of more sweetness :)
Please Note: I was not paid anything and did not receive anything for writing this post. KAF doesn't even know I'm writing it.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Quick Update

We're so close to having schedule without holidays ever few days. So close. Then it's time for more steady updating! I wish you all a meaningful Shemini Atzeret and a joyous Simchat Torah!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Sukkot 5772: Kamut Challah

I'm having so much fun with my King Arthur Flours, and for Sukkot, I tried making Kamut Flour Challah. King Arthur Flour's website says:
Discover the goodness of ancient grains. This Egyptian relative of wheat, now cultivated in North America, adds fiber, protein, and a slightly sweet taste to all your baking.
I'm not actually 100% sure I can even use Kamut Flour as challah, so please feel free to weigh in.  My research leads me to believe that is a wheat.  The exact origin of Khorasan What/Kamut is not known, but I read a few places that think it might be somewhere in the Fertile Crescent, which seems appropriately Biblical.  I did find this amazing hieroglyphic on Kamut, the name which comes from the hieroglyph for wheat.
According to the website (the grain is patented), KAMUT® khorasan wheat shall:
1. Be the ancient khorasan variety of wheat
2. Be grown only as a certified organic grain
3. Have a protein range of 12 – 18%.
4. Be 99% free of contaminating varieties of modern wheat.
5. Be 98% free of all signs of disease.
6. Contain between 400 and 1000 ppb of selenium
7. Not be used in products in which the name is deceptive or misleading as to the content percentage
8. Not be mixed with modern wheat in pasta
So, here's what I did for my Kamut Challah (yield 3 small or 2 medium round loaves)

kumat3/4 c water
2 1/2 tsp active dry yeast (I actually used fresh yeast, but this is the quantity to use)
1 tbsp honey
1 eggs plus 1 more for egg wash
1/4 c vegetable oil
1 1/2 c bread flour
1 1/2 c kamut flour
1 1/4 tsp salt

Proceed as you would with the Basic Challah. The dough reminded me a lot of Spelt Challah. Dense. Beyond belief. Like polenta. But it did rise quite lovely. I wasn't feel adventurous enough to tackle anything more than a coil with this heavy loaf. But I was still pleased, they were really quite lovely :) I snuck a taste with a small role, and I totally prefer this to both Whole Wheat and Spelt Challah!

Hag Sukkot Same'ah from our Bayit Sukkah to yours :)

Sukkot 5772: Herbed Challah

I love my garden, and I'm having a hard time accepting that the season is growing to a close.  My herbs, however, are still going strong.  For Sukkot, I kneaded in some fresh rosemary and oregano (I grow the flat leaf variety) along with some Trader Joe's garlic powder (my garlic powder of choice... it's like salt in our bayit). You can use any dough you like, but I recommend something basic. The possibilities here are endless... other herbs, parmesan, roasted garlic. I knead in after rise, before braiding/coiling, but you could definitely do this pre-rise.  I love going from garden to loaf (with washing, of course!)  Yum!

herb1 herb2



May your Sukkot be delicious!

Sukkot 5772: Pumpkin Challah Revisited

Revising Pumpkin Challah has been a great pleasure.  I've been working (via Facebook) with Leigh Ann, who has made a few suggestions, and I think we've reached a much more successful product.  Here's an updated ingredient list.  The method is the same as the original recipe.  Changes to the original are in red.

3/4 c water
2 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
1 1/2 tbsp honey
1 egg (Leigh Ann used medium, I used large) plus vegetable oil reaching a total of 1/4 c
3/4 c canned pumpkin
3-4 c flour
1 1/4 tsp salt
2-3 tsp pumpkin pie spice (Leigh Ann = 2, I used closer to 3)


Hag Sukkot Same'ah!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Chaverim Challah

Here are two lovely challot shots from friends of mine. The first is from my friend Lea, my Episcopalian twin, who was inspired by all the talk of challah on facebook. Lovely, no?

The second is a pair of Citrus, Honey, Apple, Raisin Challah from my professor, Gillian. She wrote out the recipe on facebook, so I'll share it with you as soon as I have permission.

Did YOU make any special challot for Rosh HaShanah?