Thursday, June 25, 2009

BBA Challenge #6 Challah

Note to self: do NOT get distracted in the middle of braiding loaves! Hence the funny looking skinny spot in the middle of the 6-strand braid.  My bad.  I was juggling the Casatiello, Challah, and the Ciabattas at the same time and got lost in a blizzard of dough. That's how I'm justifying it.

I couldn't decide if I liked this one or not.  I gifted the 3-strand braid to a friend at the local dive shop, and she said she and her husband ate half of the loaf in one sitting! Everyone at the shop was shocked (and you have to wonder why!) that I made the loaf.  The dough did colour very nicely in the oven, with just the egg white wash.  I cheated and brushed the loaves with milk straight out of the oven to try to soften the crust.

It wasn't as light as my regular challah recipe, but it did have less oil in it.  What bothered me the most was the eggs.  If you know me, you know I hate wasting ingredients.  Recipes that call for adding just one yolk, and discarding the white, or using a cup of poolish and chucking the rest, it irritates me.  I invariably wind up saving whatever the thing is and trying to figure out a way to use it.  I hate waste.  So having to add 2 egg yolks, and knowing that 2 egg whites was going to be way too much for glazing, was irritating. (There's still a white floating around in the fridge)

Whenever I make braided loaves, I usually do at least one that is a 6-strand braid.  But I do this so infrequently that I always forget what the order of braiding is.  Strands are numbered 1-6 from Right to Left.  Pinch all the tops together, with #6 on the bottom, and tuck them underneath the bundle by folding under and pushing them up (let gravity help you here) so that they stretch up and pretending like you're trying to poke them through (but don't really).

The pattern is pretty easy: Cross #6 over #1 (so that it becomes #1).  **Cross #2 over #6 (so it becomes #6).  #1 over #3, then #5 over #1, then #6 over #4** Repeat everything between the ** until you run out of dough, and pinch the ends together and tuck underneath again, pushing them up into the braid to secure them.
6 - 1
2 - 6
1 - 3
5 - 1
6 - 4

Challah does make fabulous french toast, bread pudding, and is a nice all-around bread.  I do have to give this recipe points for browning up beautifully in the oven.  The loaves also had huge spring!


  1. Nice! The color of your braids are awesome. The same of the one is great. :)
    I found the challah I did not so tasty.
    Great baking along with you,

  2. Very funny! Juggling 3 doughs at once? You are very talented! Beautiful job on the challah!

  3. Mmm bread pudding. Why didn't I think of that?!?!

  4. Lovely...I agree-three doughs at once is very ambitious! Hope the other two breads turned out just as well. Cheers...