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Homemade Challah Bread

I decided that I needed to up my bread game. I definitely want to get to the point where I am making fresh bread every day. But I’m not even close to that yet! So today I decided to try something new and make a recipe from the one cookbook The Hubby actually reads. He surprised me by asking for it for Christmas last year. If The Hubby wants a cookbook then damn skippy I am getting it for him! Maybe he will actually cook! So I went ahead and ordered the Action Bronson “F*ck That’s Delicious” cookbook. And so the first recipe from the book that has been attempted is the Challah bread…by me, not by him. But here’s hoping!

Challah bread

I armed with my favourite mixing bowl and trusty wooden spoon I set forth into unknown challah bread making territory.

Challah bread

The recipe calls for two 7g packages, and just my luck I had two packages of 8g. So I did what anyone would, I grabbed my digital scale (the one I usually use when I’m making cold processed soap), a little cup and measured out the needed 14g of yeast.

Challah bread

I added the 14g of yeast to the big bowl and then moved on to measuring out the other ingredients. Next on the list was sugar, I used my copper and wood measuring cups that I just adore! I scored them at the Winners down by The Day Job, I even managed to find a set of matching measuring spoons.

Challah bread

Next, I needed to add the salt. I only use Himalayan salt which is in my gorgeous Caribbean blue Le Creuset salt mill. I had the bright idea that I would be able to grind it over the tablespoon and get it all in.

Challah bread

As you can see, obviously my assumption was inherently faulty! But allw as not even close to lost, I scooped it all up and ended up with the right amount in the end. I really do love using Himalayan salt in my baking. It is so pretty with its light link hue and it is very similar to table salt. It contains about 98% sodium chloride and the remaining 2% is made up of trace minerals, such as magnesium, potassium, iron and calcium. I’m not about to say if it is any better than regular salt, but I do like it more.

Challah bread

I love how pretty this looks! Yeast, sugar and pink Himalayan salt, simple but beautiful. A quick mix and now on to add loads and loads of flour! We start with just two cups added to the yeast, sugar and salt mixture.

Challah bread

I have it a quick mix with my soft whisk, if you look closely you can see the little pieces of yeast.

Challah bread

Now we move on to adding in some of the wet ingredients. I started with the oil, I’m not going to lie but 1/2 cup feels like a lot but we are making two loaves so here we go. This is really just another opportunity to take a picture of my beautiful copper measuring cups. I sure do love them very, very much!

Challah bread

After the oil was in the bowl, next was the eggs. I was supposed to whisk the eggs in a small mixing bowl but it was dirty and I was feeling lazy so I used a large mug. Which worked juts fine thank you very much! I can’t wait until the day that I can use my own eggs in my baking! Sigh, but that day is not today.

Challah bread

After the eggs and oil, I added the water and then the whisk was out and my trusty wooden spoon was in! A quick stir to incorporate all the flour and now the hard work starts. This is the part that you can’t rush. Add in 1 cup of flour at a time and fully mix it in before you add the next one. We still ahve 5 cups of flour left so it takes a bit and the dough does get stiff.

Challah bread

When I got to the last cup of flour, the dough had engulfed my poor wooden spoon and I had to abandon it in favour of just using my hands. Once the last of the flour was incorporated into the dough I turned it out onto the floured counter top.

Challah bread

For the next few minutes I kneaded it. Folding it in half onto itself until it became soft, silky and smooth just like the recipe said. It looks pretty respectable for my first attempt!

Challah bread

Then I oiled the inside of my big mixing bowl and turned the dough around in it so that it was covered in oil. I covered it lightly in plastic wrap and left it to double in size.

Challah bread

Let the waiting begin…

There is a LOT of waiting when you are making challah bread. But word on the street is that it is worth every second of it! The first round of waiting for the dough to double in size took about 2.5 hours. The recipe says it can take an hour or several. Honestly, I was probably good at 2 hours but was doubting whether or not it was really double. SO here it is in all its glory. Honestly, looking at both pictures its pretty obvious how much it doubled and now I feel silly!

Challah bread

In any case now that the first round of waiting was done it was time to “punch down” the dough. This is particularly good if you have any pent up anger, lol. So here it is after it met my fists! This challah bread is a lot of work lol! But in reality, any bread made by hand and not in a bread maker is a lot of work. I honestly think it makes it taste that much better when it is done.

Challah bread

And now we are back to waiting…again! This time we have to wait until the dough has risen so that the fist marks can no longer be seen. It was hard (emotionally) to punch it down after it waiting so long for it to rise. This is a necessary step so I did it but it hurt. So back to Netflix I go, I mean it IS Sunday and so it’s a chill day.

Challah bread

Finally, the punch down marks are finally gone! So now it is time to move on to the next step, the final punch down. Once this is complete it is time to dump it out into the flours counter and move on the next step.

Challah bread

Once on the counter, you need to roll it out and form it into an approximation of a rectangle. Then divide it up into six equal pieces. These will be the pieces that you roll out to use for the braiding.

Challah bread

They need to be about 15 inches long in order to make the loaves the correct length.

Challah bread

The best way to braid them is to start in the middle and work out from there. This helps to make sure that the loaves end up the correct size and not too big or too small at either end.

Challah bread

Then we have to wait, yet again, for the loaves to double in size. So….much….waiting. At this point, this better be the best bread I’ve ever had, lol. I feel as if I have been making it all day! At least at this point, it is actually starting to look like challah bread! Looking at the picture I do need to work on my braiding technique. It is hard to start in the middle, but it definietly helps keep the shape of the loaf correct.

Challah bread

So they finally doubled (or close enough), so after quick egg wash with the last remaining egg. I popped them into the oven at 325F for 10 minutes. Then its time to turn up the heat to 350F for the last 20 minutes. I can’t wait to see how these turn out.

Challah bread

So there you have it! Some delicious challah bread, which I am pretty proud of. I didn’t include the exact recipe as it is not my own. If you want to try it out for yourself you can find it on pages 108-111 of the Action Bronson “F*ck That’s Delicious” cookbook. There is also another delicious looking recipe on page 76-81 (Explosive Chicken) that The Hubby wants to try as well. So here is hoping that he will give it a go himself!

What is your favourite type of bread?

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