May 22, 2020

Braided Challah


I don't have much experience braiding bread dough but when I see beautiful loaves twisted in such interesting ways I'm determined to give it a go.  My colleague Inna makes challah every Friday for the sabbath and recently she made a mini loaf so I could try.  Her bread had the deepest, mahogany crust and such a beautiful braid.  As soon as I got home I cut a few slices and enjoyed them toasted with butter.  Delicious!  


Straightaway I asked Inna for the recipe she used and she referred me to this one from Chen Shukron.  The original post is in Hebrew but one click on Google and you can easily get the English translation.  To shape the bread she referred me to this Instagram post, but to be honest it seriously intimidated me!   I needed to start with something more for the beginner.

A few years ago I attempted a challah, but the braiding technique was a "cheat" version because you stacked a simple plait one on top of another.  What I wanted was to make the intricate, multi-strand braids that you see in bakeries, but for a novice.


I remembered seeing a Braided Round Challah from an issue of Cook's Illustrated that looked so appealing because it used the tangzhong technique, or cooked flour paste, and was shaped so beautifully.   In the end, I decided to make Inna's recipe and the Cook's Illustrated version using the braided round technique because two challah are always better than one! 


The aroma of homemade bread permeated throughout my kitchen and it was heavenly!  Both loaves baked up gorgeously, if I do say so myself.  I should definitely practice my braiding more because now it's not as daunting as it used to be.

Shabbat Shalom y'all!  

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