Monday, March 19, 2012

Honey Wheat Challah Revisited (1/2 batch version)

I've never been happy with my wheat challah.  I keep trying to create something successful, and I never reach that success.  It's always tough and dry.  I've read a few suggestions around LeInterwebs... beating the eggs to soft peaks, adding milk, and adding extra egg yolks.  So, this time I figured I'd try the last option.  Extra eggs.  Here's what you'll need...

3/4 c water
2 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
1 tbsp honey
3 egg yolks plus 1 egg for wash (you can actually save the whites for a day in the fridge)
1/4 c canola oil
1 1/2 c white flour
1 1/2 c white whole wheat flour
1 tsp salt

Proceed as normal, as you would with my traditional 1/2 batch.
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For this challah, I decided--more out of practicality than design--to give a second rise.  So, after the dough has doubled in bulk (about 1 1/2 hours), punch down and allow to rise again.
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When I took this dough out of the bowl, I had high aspirations.  That it would be light and fluffy like my white flour challah.  It. Was. Not.  It was just as stiff and heavy as all my other wheat challot.  When I poked my finger in it, the hole would stay there.
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Not to be completely dissuaded, I attempted to braid this challah, said a quick prayer and baked at 350 for 25 minutes (click here to read about how I really start at 375 and then turn the oven down...)
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You can see hear how the strands even when rolling wanted to break apart. Didn't seem very elastic.
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Success! Well, they looked pretty.
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However, in the interest of journalistic integrity, one of the strands managed to completely escape from beneath the challah.  Thus, my challah had a bit of an extra arm.
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But, here's the truth: This IS the best whole wheat challah I've ever made.  I know it's not completely whole wheat.  But, as I write this post 24 hours after baking, the bread is still chewy, flavorful, and actually surprisingly light and fluffy.  I think {science people, feel free to jump in} it has something to do with the fats in the egg yolks {you know, the really tasty, really unhealthy part} and how they interact with the whole wheat.
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I'm getting closer to the perfect wheat challah, haverim.  Closer.  Closer.  Have YOU had success with whole wheat flour?  I'd love to hear your thoughts!

4 comments:

  1. I've had great experience with whole wheat--- no matter which recipe, I always let it rise overnight in the fridge and it works wonders for the whole wheat. Love your blog!

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  2. Thanks for the tip. I will definitely try a fridge rise! Whatever I can do to get it right!!!

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  3. I think with whole wheat bread in general, more rising is good. In addition to the fridge rise, have you considered doing a sponge with the whole wheat part of the flour?

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  4. add about 1 TBS (you can do even a bit less, for my bread, for 5 cups flour I add 4 TBS) vital wheat gluten for each cup of whole wheat flour. I do that with my regular 100% whole wheat bread and with my 50% whole wheat challah and both come out amazing. my kids won't eat any other bread.

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