By: Henry Hunter
A Step-by-Step Guide to Homemade Perfection”
Unraveling the Magic of Challah
In the realm of bread-making, few creations carry as much cultural significance and symbolism as the revered challah. This age-old bread, steeped in tradition and meaning, serves as a symbol of togetherness, unity, and the passage of time. Challah, a staple of Jewish cuisine, stands as a tangible connection to generations past, a representation of community, and a manifestation of the sacred rituals it accompanies. As we embark on the art of crafting this cherished bread, we not only engage in a culinary adventure but also dive into a cultural voyage that transcends time and place. Join me in exploring the history, symbolism, and the joyful traditions woven into every braided strand of this iconic bread.
📝Here’s what you’ll need:**
Flour:** 1 kg (equivalent to about 7 cups or 2.2 lbs for those using other measurements). Remember, weight is way more precise in baking!
Sugar:** 100 g (or about 1/2 cup).
Salt:** 20 g (roughly 1 tablespoon).
Dry yeast:** 14 g, or 2 tablespoons. If you’re using instant yeast, you’ll need less – about 10 g or 1.5 tablespoons.
Oil (Sunflower, Canola, or Olive):** 100 g, which is around 1/2 cup.
Room temperature water:** Between 440-460 g. It’s a smidge less than 2 cups – subtract about 2 tablespoons.
Extras:** 2 egg yolks for a perfect golden wash and some sesame seeds for the classic finish! 🌟
🍽Let’s get baking!**
1️⃣ First, in a good-sized bowl, combine all your dry ingredients: the flour, sugar, salt, and yeast. Mix them together to get everything evenly distributed.
2️⃣ Add the oil into the mix. Now, here comes the important part: the water. Don’t just dump it in. Instead, add a bit, stir with one hand, add a bit more, stir again. This process may be slow, but it’s worth it! Trust me, giving your dough this level of attention will pay off in the end, and you’ll become a dough-whisperer in no time!
3️⃣ After all the water has been added, it’s time to get your hands dirty! Knead the dough in the bowl to get everything mixed together. Once it forms a doughy ball, turn it out onto a clean surface.
4️⃣ This is where the fun part starts – kneading the dough! Use the heel of your hand to push and fold the dough for about 10 minutes. You’re looking for a smooth, elastic dough that bounces back when you give it a poke. If your arms are aching, that’s a good sign – you’re doing it right!
5️⃣ Next, place your well-kneaded dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover it with a clean tea towel and leave it in a warm place. Allow it to rise until it’s doubled in size. This could take anywhere from 1 to 2 hours, so be patient – good things take time!
6️⃣ Once your dough has risen, give it a gentle punch to knock out the air. Then divide it into portions and roll each one into a long rope. Now it’s time to braid your challah! Once braided, place it on a lined baking tray.
7️⃣ Before it goes into the oven, let’s give our challah another rise for about 30 minutes. This will make your bread fluffier. In the meantime, preheat your oven to 180°C (350°F).
8️⃣ After the second rise, brush the loaf with the beaten egg yolks. This gives your challah that shiny, golden crust. Sprinkle the sesame seeds over the top. Now it’s ready to bake! Pop your challah into the preheated oven and bake for about 30-35 minutes. It should be deep golden and sound hollow when you tap the bottom.
There you have it – your homemade, warm, and fragrant challah is ready! Enjoy the fruits of your labor. Remember, baking bread is not just a cooking process, it’s an art. Every loaf you make is an opportunity to express yourself, so embrace the process and have fun!
Stay tuned for more breadventures, folks! Happy Baking! 🥖👩🍳👨🍳
Baking Great Bread at Home.
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