Friday, September 11, 2009

The “I Give Up on Sourdough” Hybrid Sourdough Challah

doughs 2009-09-11 005 Yup!  I have officially given up on trying to produce a delicious sourdough challah.  All attempts so far have either been completely leaden and barely-risen or just plain WEIRD (the “sweet-and-sourdough” challah I made with honey; it was really WAY too tangy, and the sweetness just put it over the top).

So this week I’m making a “hybrid.”  Yup, it’s not just for cars anymore… this hybrid challah will hopefully offer the best of the sourdough and commercial-yeast worlds.

First, I made a sponge, from this recipe, and left it overnight.  It easily tripled or quadrupled its size (see above).

Then, I took about four cups of flour and mixed my regular challah things in:  salt, sugar.  I used less sugar than usual – I don’t want a repeat of the sweet-and-sour effect.  And 1 tbsp of Fleishman’s Instant Yeast.  Gasp. 

But I have just NOT gotten the leavening power yet out of wild yeast that would make me comfortable serving the breads to my family as a Shabbos treat.  If it’s too dense, it thuds on the challah board in a most unappealing way.

doughs 2009-09-11 006Here’s the finished dough after kneading.  I did add a bit of water, between 1/2 and 3/4 cup?  Just enough to make it kneadable; there wasn’t enough sponge to moisten this much flour.

 

So… here’s the dough, resting in a bag.  Shameful commercial yeast at its side.

  doughs 2009-09-11 007 

It rose beautifully to almost fill the bag!  Forgot to take a picture.

Shaped into loaves:

doughs 2009-09-11 024

They also rose beautifully – NICE, for a change!  And here they are, fully baked:

Friday challah 2009-09-11 001

I didn’t brush the tops or sprinkle them with anything or spray them with water – just baked them as-is.  That’s because taste is the most important thing.  There’s no point fancying them up if they’re going to taste awful.

These two came out of the oven SO light and delicious-smelling.  Well, I have a terrible cold, so I can’t really smell anything, but they look like they smell delicious, and I can kind of catch a whiff through my plugged-up nose.

As with all Shabbos challah, there’s an element of suspense:  I have to wait until after sunset to taste it, and until tomorrow night to report back on whether or not it was actually as yummy as it looked!

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